US investors refinance Danieli: U.S. investment fund King Street Capital Management L.P., with the participation of Starwood Capital Group, have refinanced Venice’s famed Danieli hotel for owner Statuto Group. The €330 million (US$374.4 million) package was implemented through the issuance of certain non-convertible bonds listed on the ‘Third Market’ of the Vienna Stock Exchange. Global law firm White & Case advised on the deal. A portion of the funding, about €30 million (US$34 million), will be used to renovate the property and the owners have now downplayed reports that management of the property will shift to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The hotel is currently a member of Marriott International’s Luxury Collection.
Driftwood executes big finance package: Driftwood Capital has closed a US$138.7 million financing package for two resort hotels located in Estes Park, Colorado, on behalf of the sponsor Grand Heritage Hotel Group. The proceeds cover the refinancing of the Stanley Campus, which has four lodging options comprising 192 guestrooms and 31 condo units, along with the acquisition of the nearby Fall River Village Resort, an 89-key upscale lodge. Driftwood contributed a US$24.3 million mezzanine loan through its lending fund, Driftwood Lending Partners, LP, behind a US$114.4 million senior financing package originated by a major life insurance company. The sponsor will use a portion of the proceeds, US$6.9 million, toward renovations of the Stanley Hotel in early 2022, including conversion of the ballroom to a restaurant.
The Guild Victory Park – Katy Trail, Dallas (The Guild)
The Guild acquires CREA Management: The Guild, the Austin, Texas-based tech-enabled, flexible living and short-term rental player, announced the acquisition of CREA Management, the property division of Cypress Real Estate Advisors. The acquisition adds more than 5,000 units to The Guild’s portfolio and pipeline. Burrows Consulting Group was the advisor to The Guild in the transaction. The Guild will take on full property management operations and merge it with its own model. The acquisition will help The Guild add more senior talent to its team, including Katya Wilson (who will serve as president of multifamily operations), while Managing Director of CREA John Burnham will sit on the board of directors for The Guild. The Guild plans to expand into 10,000 units in the top 25 markets over the next 18 months. It currently manages more than 2,000 units in 12 communities and seven markets.
Tryp by Wyndham for Corfu: Palli S.A., Corfu, will convert the Corfu Palma Boutique hotel to a Tryp by Wyndham property by April 2022. Located 12 km northeast of Corfu and the international airport, the hotel will feature 48 rooms, even an olive tree from the 14th century and combine elements of Greece’s traditional and historical architecture with modern interiors and facilities.
Maui boutique sells: The Makai Sunset Inn, a 20-room oceanfront boutique hotel located in Lahaina, Maui, was sold by a local resident for US$7.8 million to Continental Assets Management, owners of two other hotels in Hawaii and developer of the AC Hotel by Marriott in downtown Honolulu. Working in partnership with Maui-based real estate broker G. Warren Freeland, Powell & Aucello served as exclusive advisors in this transaction.
2022 travel trend report: The pandemic still looms large when planning trips and travelers find it difficult to stay in a hotel which doesn’t have cleanliness policies that match up to their expectations, as per a new travel trends research paper by Tripadvisor in partnership with Ipsos MORI. However, sentiment data revealed that travelers are planning to travel to both domestic and international destinations, with 89% respondents in Singapore saying they are most likely to travel in 2022. In the U.S., leisure travel intent rose eight percentage points compared to 2019, with 71% saying they were likely to travel for leisure in 2022. Average spend per trip in 2022 is beyond that if 2019, with American travelers likely to spend 29% more on their average trip in 2022 than they did on 2019. As travelers seek new travel experiences this year, 75% of American respondents said it’s important to “see new places.”
Hilton’s first Motto in NYC: Hilton has opened the 374-key Motto by Hilton New York City Chelsea, the brand’s first new-build hotel in the portfolio. The 42-story hotel is designed by architecture and interior design firm Stonehill Taylor. The hotel includes 19 sets of connecting rooms, offering guests the ability to book up to three connecting rooms at the same time. The hotel is the third Motto by Hilton to open, after the opening of Motto Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square and Motto Washington DC City Center since the launch of the brand in 2018. Mottos are under development in Rotterdam Blaak, Tulum and Times Square.
Marriott travel insurance on its booking platforms: Marriott International announced that guests residing in the U.S. can insure their domestic and international travels with Allianz Partners when booking their stay on Marriott.com and the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app on the iOS platform. Allianz Global Assistance plans specially created for Marriott will cover all guests staying in the room(s), including friends or family, and might provide reimbursement for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses like airfare, medical emergencies, expenses incurred during travel delays, etc. Depending on the plan purchased, costs for covered emergency medical assistance and delayed or lost baggage might also be covered. The plans can cover other pre-paid, non-refundable trip expenses such as tours, activities and entertainment and sports tickets. Once a guest purchases travel insurance, the cost will be added to the total cost of their stay and will be charged in a single transaction.
Whitbread to raise prices to offset inflation: Whitbread, the Houghton Regis, England-based owner of the Premier Inn brand, predicts cost inflation for the hospitality sector to reach 7% to 8% and hit £1.4 billion (US$1.9 billion) of its cost base this financial year. Increased labor, energy and construction costs for its new hotels are putting pressure on the company, which it plans to offset by increasing room rates across its 800 Premier Inns. Whitbread raised employee wages by 5% in October 2021 to retain workers and attract new ones and is likely to increase wages again in spring for staff who are paid hourly rates. It also said hotel sales over the past six weeks were 5.1% higher compared to the same period in 2019.
Capella promotes Cristiano Rinaldi: Capella Hotel Group announced the promotion of Cristiano Rinaldi as the president of the group. Previously the chief operating officer of the luxury hospitality management company, Rinaldi will be succeeding Nicholas Clayton. Before joining Capella Hotel Group, Rinaldi spent the last four years as the general manager leading the pre-opening activities for the Bangkok Edition and most recently the Tokyo Edition Ginza and The Tokyo Toranomon. He also served as vice president, operations for One&Only Resorts.
YHS returns as virtual event: The Young Hoteliers Summit (YHS), the student-run global hospitality summit, will return for an online edition of the event from March 7 to 9, 2022. The event aims to tackle the latest trends and issues of the hospitality industry through keynotes and panel discussions with industry experts. This is the third consecutive year of the event to be held virtually. The team managing the event will publish a podcast, titled Your Hospitality Squeeze, which will feature students from the EHL Hospitality Business School in Lausanne sharing their experiences and advice about working in the industry. Four episodes are already available on Spotify, Google, Anchor and Apple. The annual survey by YHS addresses the attempt to bridge the gap between employees and their recruitment. The findings of the survey will be published on the YHS Global website by February-end. Students and recent graduates can compete in the Employee Expectation survey, which makes the participants eligible for a discount on CAHTA certificate and the chance to win prizes.
IHG expands in Bali: IHG Hotels & Resorts and its partner PT Pancaran Kreasi Adiprima have expanded InterContinental Hotels & Resorts to Bali, Indonesia. The 120-key all-suite and villa resort Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali will be relaunched and rebranded as InterContinental Bali Sanur Resort. The beachfront property consists of 26 villas, each with a private pool, along with 94 suites and is located next to Holiday Inn Bali Sanur, which opened in August 2021. IHG currently operates 25 hotels in Indonesia across a range of brands, with 12 hotels currently in the pipeline.
LA ADR to reach second-highest level for Super Bowl weekend: ADR and RevPAR in the Los Angeles market are expected to reach the second-highest levels for any Super Bowl weekend on record, according to STR’s forecasting team. The market is likely to achieve ADR of US$445 and RevPAR of US$396 for February 11 till February 13. The Los Angeles market has been achieving monthly rates near or more than the pre-pandemic levels. While occupancy has been inching closer to the 2019 levels, it hasn’t recovered fully. If NFL switches venues or implements more stringent norms, performance in the Los Angeles market will see ripple effects. The Super Bowl occupancy is projected to outperform Tampa but will be less than what was seen in Miami. During the comparable weekend in 2020 before the pandemic, hotel occupancy in Los Angeles was 87.7%.
The Charleston Place announces transition plan: Beemok Hospitality Group, Charleston, South Carolina, announced that the company’s flagship asset, The Charleston Place, will officially transition from Charleston Place, a Belmond Hotel, to The Charleston Place, a locally owned and managed independent luxury hotel on March 1. Interior design firms Pierre-Yves Rochon, Atlanta-based Cooper Carry, LS3P, and Rees Roberts + Partners are leading the transformation, which will see the entire property being reimagined. The hotel will remain operational during the multi-million-dollar renovation, which will be done in phases and will start in early 2023. In the short-term, the hotel will see several changes and additions, ranging from changed uniforms to reimagined food and beverage offerings. Cortney Bishop Design is revitalizing the hotel’s lobby and other public spaces.
Massive labor shortage in Italy: Italy has been witnessing a massive labor shortage in the country, with around 263,000 tourism-related jobs getting discontinued in the country by the end of 2021. The figures were revealed by World Travel and Tourism Council as part of a research conducted with Oxford Economics between the second half of 2021 and 2022. According to the survey, the Italian Travel and Tourism sector saw 215,000 job losses in 2020, accounting for 12.4% reduction in direct employment. Despite a greater number of travelers in the second half of 2021, labor demand exceeded the supply. Labor demand for the second half of 2021 was 1.7 million while the shortfall was 260,000, meaning one in seven jobs is unfulfilled in Italy’s tourism sector. Travel and tourism contribution to Italy’s GDP in 2019 was €236 billion (US$267.75 billion) or 13.1%, which fell to €116 billion (US$131.6 billion) or 7%, in 2020, due to the pandemic.
Kessler to redevelop Elks Building: The Kessler Collection, Orlando, Florida, announced the acquisition of Elks Building in New Bern, North Carolina, for US$2.25 million. Kessler plans to develop the property into a 50-key boutique hotel. Slated to break ground in early 2023, the hotel will consist of 1,500 square feet of meeting space, a speakeasy on the lower level and a coffee shop and restaurant on the street level. The historic Elks Building is New Bern’s tallest commercial building and has been lying vacant for more than a decade. The construction is expected to last 12 to 14 months with an estimated completion date of mid-2024.
Indian hotel association seeks relief package: The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a special relief package for the tourism and hospitality sector. Stating that the surge of the Omicron variant has resulted in a series of restrictions and closures that have crippled hopes of the sector’s revival, the association said the industry will take at least five years to return to the pre-pandemic levels. Without adequate assistance from the government, the situation is set to become grave with hospitality establishments compelled to shut shop. According to the FHRAI, 30% of hotels and restaurants in the country closed permanently during the first two waves of the pandemic. “The hospitality industry has reported losses of a whopping sum of Rs.1.40 lakh crore (US$18 billion) and around 50 million jobs were lost due to the pandemic.