Briefs: TUI’s Russian shareholder resigns; Xenia acquiring W Nashville

TUI’s major Russian shareholder resigns: Alexey Mordashov, a shareholder in German-based tourism company TUI AG for around 15 years and currently a holder of 34% of the company’s share capital, has resigned from the supervisory board after EU sanctions triggered by the war in Ukraine deprived him of access to his shareholding. TUI stated this decision has no impact on the company, its customers or employees. The aim of the EU sanctions is to prevent Mordashov from disposing of his shares and realizing any proceeds or profits from his investment in TUI. The other 66% of the shareholders are private and institutional investors from Germany, the EU, the U.K. and the U.S.

W Nashville

Xenia Hotels acquiring W Nashville: Xenia Hotels & Resorts, Orlando, Florida, has agreed to acquire the 346-room W Nashville for US$328.7 million (US$950,000 per key). The hotel, which opened in October 2021, will mark Xenia’s 14th property acquisition since the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2015. The hotel is also the company’s 14th Marriott-affiliated hotel. Xenia expects the hotel to generate between US$25 million and US$30 million of hotel EBITDA upon stabilization. The transaction is likely to close by the end of Q1 and the company plans to fund the acquisition with available cash. Xenia owns 33 hotels, comprising 9,468 rooms across 13 states.

Charleston Place transitions to independent luxury hotel: The Charleston Place in Charleston, South Carolina, has announced its transition from a Belmond property to a locally owned and managed independent luxury hotel. Charleston-based Beemok Hospitality Group acquired the hotel and will lead a multi-year, US$100 million transformation. Architects and designers Pierre-Yves Rochon, Cooper Carry, LS3P and Rees Roberts + Partners will be overseeing the redesign of the lobby, courtyards, rooms and suites, spa, F&B outlets, meeting spaces and pool. A new logo of the hotel has been designed, in conjunction with local branding agency SDCO Partners. The hotel has partnered with floral design studio SYG Designs to transform the lobby and public spaces. The property will remain open during the renovation, which will be completed in phases and is expected to start from early 2023. 

Lyvinn to manage Blantyre’s acquired hotel in Frankfurt: Blantyre Capital Ltd., London, has agreed to acquire a 164-key hotel in Frankfurt, Germany, which will be rebranded as a Lyvinn property after refurbishments. Founded by Navneet Bali, Lyvinn hybrid hotels have flexible room structures combined with communal spaces like co-working desks and social areas for extended-stay Lyv and short stay Inn guests. Lyvinn plans to convert existing hotels/hostels and repurpose buildings ranging between 3,500 to 12,000 square meter (100 to 350 rooms for existing hotels). Properties will include freehold/long-term ground leases and operating leases.

Expedia stops sales to and from Russia: Expedia Group and its vacation rental unit, Vrbo, has stopped offering travel to and from Russia because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We are saddened by what continues to unfold in Ukraine and will continue to do what we can to support impacted travelers, partners, and our team members with families and friends in the affected areas,” Expedia said in a statement. The group is seemingly the first travel company to take this approach, even as other major online travel companies have not put out a statement regarding their stance. Although the Russia-Ukraine area reportedly does not generate a significant volume of bookings for Expedia, this decision came as a surprise to some of its competitors. Germany-based tour company GetYourGuide has stopped its marketing activities in the Russia, Belarus and Ukraine region. While it hasn’t yet blocked booking facilities for the region, it has been making the process of booking attractions and activities in the area impossible. Flights to and out of Russia can be booked from, while Airbnb is allowing bookings in St. Petersburg. Barring Google Pay, all other services offered by the search giant are available in Russia.

Russian invasion triggers immediate flight cancelations: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in an immediate spike in flight cancelations to and from Russia, revealed latest data from ForwardKeys. On February 25, the day after the invasion, every booking that was made for travel to Russia was outnumbered by six cancelations of pre-existing bookings. With 773% cancelations, Germany led as the source market with the highest cancelation rate in order of volume, followed by France (472%), Italy (152%), the U.K. (254%), India (285%) and Turkey (116%). Russia’s aggressive move against Ukraine also triggered a collapse in the market for Russian outbound travel. Destinations which were the most impacted due to instant cancelation rates during February 24-26 were Cyprus (300%), Egypt (234%), Turkey (153%), the UK (153%), Armenia (200%), and Maldives (165%). Before the outbreak of the war, Russian outbound flight bookings for March, April and May had recovered to 32% of pre-COVID levels. Up to February 23, Russian domestic flight bookings for March, April and May were running 25% ahead of pre-COVID levels. New bookings, however, dropped 77% week-over-week.

Stockdale acquires Los Angeles Athletic Club: Stockdale Capital Partners, Los Angeles, California, has acquired Los Angeles Athletic Club in a deal that closed on February 28. The acquisition also includes the adjacent Olive Park Garage, the right-story structure consisting of 421 parking spaces and 12,000 square feet of retail and office space, and a 114-space surface parking lot to the north. The 12-story, 186,000 square foot club consists of 72 guest rooms, 17,200 square feet of event space, indoor swimming pool, track, racquetball courts, basketball court, handball courts, spa and wellness facilities. The property has seen US$2.93 million in capital investments since 2015.

CorePoint stockholders greenlight acquisition: CorePoint Lodging, Irving, Texas, announced that its stockholders voted to approve the sale of the company to a joint venture between affiliates of Highgate and Cerberus Capital Management. The deal is likely to close on Thursday with Highgate and Cerberus purchasing all outstanding shares of CorePoint common stock in an all-cash transaction. the total merger consideration to be paid will be US$15.99 per share in cash (without interest and subject to applicable withholding taxes). CorePoint’s common stock will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the company will be privately owned.

Kimpton Goodland rebrands: The Kimpton Goodland Goleta in Santa Barbara, California, has been renamed as The Leta. The 158-key hotel was acquired by AWH Partners in January. Spire Hospitality, AWH’s fully-owned hotel management company, is the new management company of the property. The hotel will be renovated to feature high speed WiFi and streaming services, better quality bedding and a refreshed lobby. The hotel’s long-time General Manager Barry Dorsey will continue his role under the new owners.

Remington Hotels debuts in El Paso: Remington Hotels has assumed management of 200-key DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel El Paso Downtown and the 151-room Courtyard El Paso Downtown/Convention Center, marking the company’s first properties in the El Paso area. Currently, Remington manages 86 hotels in 26 states across 17 brands, including 12 independent and boutique properties.

Wyndham begins member month offer: From March 2 to April 3, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ loyalty program will reveal via email, the web, Wyndham’s app and Wyndham’s social media handles surprise offers like hotel discounts, bonus point and more. Purchases will also carry a 40% bonus and consumers who join the rewards program during the promotional period will be eligible for all offers.

DidaTravel to grow direct contracting hotels: DidaTravel, the Shenzhen, China-based global hotel wholesaler, has announced plans to double the number of directly contracted hotels by the year-end, reaching 74,000 properties globally available to its clients, up from 37,000 properties at the end of 2021. The company has a pipeline of over 30 global hotel chains and more than 20,000 major hotels ready to connect this year. The company plans to fulfill targeted growth over the next three years in the U.A.E., the U.K., France, Italy, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Korea. DidaTravel works with more than 23,000 travel buying clients and has a portfolio of more than 37,000 sourced direct hotel contracts and 700,000 hotel products provided by over 600 global suppliers in more than 200 countries and regions. In 2019, the company sold hotel bookings in China and Asia Pacific worth more than US$700 million.