Briefs: Mint House raises more cash; new Orient Express adds in Venice

Mint House raises more cash: “Residential hospitality” operator Mint House has announced the raise of US$35 million Series B funding. Mohari Hospitality, a global hospitality investment company founded by entrepreneurial investor Mark Scheinberg, led the round, which also includes existing investors Revolution Ventures, Allegion Ventures and Ingleside Investors. In addition to its investment, Mohari Hospitality’s Managing Partner Allen Smith, the former president and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, will join Mint House’s board of directors. The investment comes as Mint House has grown revenue over 200% in 2021 and has tripled its property count over the last two years. To date, Mint House has raised more than $80 million in funding. The brand has just opened in New Orleans and is launching two additional locations in Philadelphia in the next month.

Mint House Miami – Downtown

Orient Express announces second Italy hotel: Orient Express, part of the Accor group, has signed a partnership agreement with Rome-based Arsenale S.p.A. to open the second Orient Express hotel in Italy at the Palazzo Donà Giovannelli in Venice. The companies have appointed architect and interior designer Aline Asmar d’Amman and her studio Culture in Architecture to decorate and design the property. The Orient Express Venice Hotel will consist of 45 rooms and suites overlooking the city’s canals and gardens and a restaurant serving Italian gastronomy. The bar will be located at the former piano nobile ballroom on the building’s main floor. Once the hotel opens, passengers on the Orient Express La Dolce Vita train will be able to get down directly at the Venice Santa Lucia Station and reach the hotel by boat or foot. Located next to the Cannaregio shopping district, the Palazzo Donà Giovannelli is a palace which was built in 1400 by architect Filippo Calendario. The palace was the former home of the Duke of Urbino, a patron of the arts, and has been renovated twice, most notably in 1800 by architect Gian Battista Meduna. The property was successively owned by the Donà and Giovannelli families.

“Biki” Oberoi resigns as EIH Associated chairman: EIH Associated Hotels Ltd., the Chennai, India-based flagship company of The Oberoi Group, announced that its long-serving Chairman and Director Prithviraj Singh “Biki” Oberoi has resigned effective from May 2 due to his deteriorating health condition. Following a board of directors meeting on Monday, the company’s Vice Chairman Shib Sanker Mukherji has been appointed as the new chairman. Son of the late founder of the Oberoi Group Rai Bahadur M.S. Oberoi, Oberoi  has been the chairman since 1988. Under his leadership, the company grew from its first hotel, The Trident Chennai in Southern India, to become one of India’s major hotel groups. Oberoi also helped develop the Trident chain of hotels and establish the Oberoi Hotels and Resorts brand.

Accor’s All-Inclusive Collection goes global: Accor announced the global launch of its multi-branded All-Inclusive Collection, which will help the company double its success in the segment along with the Rixos brand. In 2016, Accor entered into a joint venture with Rixos Hotels founder Fettah Tamince to develop the All-Inclusive segment. The partnership has helped triple Rixos’ network over the last five years. Building on Rixos’ over 20 years of experience in the luxury all-inclusive sector, the new collection will focus on experiences through high-quality entertainment and a wellness program. Accor is including its luxury and premium brands with Fairmont, Pullman, Sofitel, Swissotel and Movenpick in the Collection. Curated entertainment programs will build on Rixos’ expertise in children’s clubs, water sports, fitness and programs for outdoor activities and MICE. The Collection’s programs will be led by Carte Blanched, Ennismore’s food and beverage concept lab, with each location offering diverse and culturally relevant cuisines. The global expansion of the Collection will be focused mostly on Europe, EMEA, Turkey, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. There are plans to initially expand Rixos’ presence of 50 properties to 100 all-inclusive resorts in the next five years. Upcoming openings include Rixos Gulf Hotel Doha, Rixos Qetifan Doha (both of which will open in time for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar) and the Swissotel Sharm el Sheikh, the first non-Rixos branded property in the Collection with 1,350 rooms, a water park, several dining venues, beach club and entertainment amenities.

International visitor spend in US jumps 90%: International visitors spend jumped 90% to US$10.1 billion in March on travel to and tourism-related activities within the U.S., showed recently-released data by the National Travel and Tourism Office. Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the U.S. was US$5 billion in March, compared to US$1.4 billion in March 2021, an increase of 251% when compared to the previous year. Americans spent US$9.2 billion on traveling abroad, yielding a balance of trade surplus of US$894 million in March, the fifth consecutive month during which the country saw a balance of trade surplus for travel and tourism. The rise in travel spending represented the majority (75%) of the YOY increase in U.S. travel exports in March, followed by passenger fare receipts (21%) and medical/education/short-term and seasonal workers spending (4%). Fares received by U.S. carriers from international visitors was around US$1.7 billion in March (compared to US$662 million in March 2021), an increase of 153% compared to the previous year. Expenditures for educational and health-related tourism and all expenditures by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers totaled US$3.4 billion in March (compared to $3.2 billion in March 2021), a 6% rise compared to the previous year.

Radisson’s strategic plans for 2022: Outlining its strategic transformation plan for the year at the International Hospitality Investment Forum, Radisson Hotel Group said it plans to open 15,000 rooms and sign 330 hotels in the EMEA and APAC regions along with the planned targets to expand prizeotel, the group’s midscale lifestyle brand. So far in 2022, Radisson as signed and opened more than 50 hotels across its EMEA and APAC portfolios. The group plans to double its number of signings in EMEA with the addition of 45 properties and grow its signings in APAC by adding 285 properties together with its partners. Radisson also plans to grow the prizeotel brand, which offers investors and owners an easy conversion solution, with the expansion of the brand’s portfolio with 45 new signings in some European countries in the next five years and launch the brand in the U.K.

Paris hotels reach 2019 profitability level: Among the significant European hotel markets, Paris was the only one to see gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) reaching 100% of its 2019 comparable, showed STR’s March P&L data. After two consecutive months with negative levels, mostly sue to the impacts of the Omicron variant, Paris registered a March GOPPAR of US$117.26. London also showed considerable month-over-month improvement and posted GOPPAR of US$90.82. The level was 87% of the pre-COVID comparable after the market reached only 38% suing the same comparison in February. Both London and Amsterdam recorded their highest GOPPAR levels since December 2019. In Berlin, although GOPPAR improved, it remained in the negative territory for the third consecutive month. Moscow was the only key European market to post lower profitability compared to the previous month.

YOTEL debuts in Lisbon: YOTEL, London, announced that YOTEL Lisbon WTC will open in Lisbon in 2024. The new hotel will become a part of the Foz Vintage Group’s World Trade Center development, which is slated to be an innovative and disruptive business park. The new 127-key hotel will be the first of the two YOTEL properties that will be a part of the WTC ecosystem, with the second one to be announced later this year. The hotel will include a restaurant, event space and a panoramic rooftop bar for both in-house guests and office workers, a Grab & Go, co-working areas and a fitness center. The WTC campus is spread across 35,000 square meters and will feature office, retail and recreational facilities. This is the second YOTEL in Portugal, following the opening of YOTEL Porto in 2021. YOTEL currently operates 19 properties globally, with 13 more under development.

Cycas secures 3 deals in Europe: Cycas Hospitality, Amsterdam, has secured three management agreements across Denmark, France and the U.K. Denmark has become the seventh country in Cycas’ portfolio, following the signing of the 186-key ibis Styles Copenhagen Ørestad, which is also Accor’s first hotel in Denmark. Part of Cycas’ partnership with Borealis Hotel Group, the new-build hotel is slated to open in December at the mixed-use Nest45 project. Cycas added a new independent property in London, the 55-key The 55 by Le Mirage, which is a converted Grade II-listed building which will open in July. The boutique lifestyle hotel is Le Mirage Property Management’s first property in Europe and the U.K. Cycas also signed its sixth hotel in France and 10th with Marriott International. Along with Marriott, Cycas will be developing the 86-key Moxy Le Havre in Le Havre, France, marking Cycas’ third Moxy. Owned by family-run ETAMINE, the property is scheduled to open in the end of 2024 and will form part of a multi-purpose complex.

Airbnb posts strong Q1: Airbnb Inc., San Francisco, California, posted a strong Q1, boosted by travel recovery and higher bookings. The company’s bookings in the EMEA were mostly unaffected by the regional conflict, while ADRs (+5% YOY) benefitted from price appreciation, helping to increase margins and revenue. The company said its second-quarter revenue will be US$2.03 billion to US$2.13 billion, topping the average analyst’s estimate of US$1.97 billion, according to Bloomberg. Revenue in the year’s first three months were also better than expected, helping reduce the company’s net loss. The company said it was witnessing higher than historical demand for the fourth quarter, indicating that consumer confidence to travel is strong beyond the summer season. Airbnb and its rivals Booking Holdings Inc. and Expedia Group Inc. have said they expect this year’s summer to be one of the best as travelers explore long-distance destinations driven by pent-up demand.

AHLA campaign to reignite travel: The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) relaunched its ‘Hospitality is Working’ campaign to reignite travel across the U.S. The campaign, which will include TV and digital advertising along with AHLA events, will showcase the economic and community advantages hotels provide while highlighting the industry’s commitment to invest in its workforce, providing career opportunities, and protecting employees and guests as more people begin to travel.

Benchmark adds to management portfolio: Benchmark Pyramid announced the addition of the 283-key Legacy Lodge in Lanier Islands, Georgia, to its third-party management portfolio. The resort includes a heated saltwater lounging pool, business center, over 38,000 square feet of flexible event space, a fitness center, a family entertainment center, walking trails and an 18-hole golf course.

Meetings and events rise 323%: Meetings and events for hospitality saw a staggering 323% rise this April compared to April 2021, revealed Knowland’s latest monthly meetings and events data. Despite the usual cooling-off of events during Easter, it increased 3.7% from the previous month. The average attendees per event this April was 118 compared to 63 in April 2021 and 74 in April 2019. The average space used in April was 3,185 square feet, while it was 2,640 square feet and 2,322 square feet in April 2021 and April 2019 respectively. The top five growth markets (compared to March) were Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, Colorado Springs and Kansas City. The corporate sector accounted for 63% of meeting and event business with technology, healthcare and training/education leading as the largest industry groups.

Expedia announces new strategy: Expedia Group, Seattle, Washington, launched a three-tiered strategy at its annual partner event, EXPLORE. The strategy will redefine the company’s position in travel, including a new technology platform, called Expedia Group Open World, a reimagined marketplace that rewards partners for delivering traveler experiences and a focus on developing traveler technology that provides the correct information to increase booking confidence. The Expedia Group Open World will deliver an e-commerce suite with building blocks like payments, conversations, fraud and service to enhance or enter the travel business. The platform plans to evolve into a place where developers, marketers, data scientists and entrepreneurs can develop new ways to enable and encourage travel. Through the reimagined marketplace, hotels will receive a new guest experience score which will directly impact the search and sort factors driving visibility on Expedia’s marketplace algorithm. The score will be visible to travelers soon, with plans to launch this to other lines of business later this year. The company also introduced new features like trip boards and price tracking.