CHECK OUT! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

22 May, 2020

The Blue Swan Daily brings you the second of this week’s round up of some of the latest accommodation news from across the globe.

  • China hotel openings hit an all-time low in 1Q2020 which means its construction pipeline is now at an all-time high
  • STR and Tourism Economics further downgrade US hotel forecast for 2020 and 2021
  • Dan Hotels starts to open the doors across its collection as it reveals new app to allow guests to enjoy their stays without making physical contact with staff
  • Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

China hotel openings hit an all-time low in 1Q2020 which means its construction pipeline is now at an all-time high

Latest data from Lodging Econometrics (LE) shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has skewed the country’s hotel construction to the right. In 1Q2020 hotel openings hit a new low of just 84 new hotels with 13,283 rooms with many projects delayed two to four months. This has meant China's total construction pipeline continues to expand and is now at a new all-time high of 3,533 projects with 645,764 rooms, up +24% by projects and +9% by rooms year-over-year (YOY). China has 2,330 projects offering 412,142 rooms presently under construction. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months experienced an enormous year-on-year increase of +92% by projects and +45% by rooms, to stand at a record-high 744 projects and 120,458 rooms. While the record count can be attributed mainly to the delay and pushback of new construction starts, but it is also due to the large number of new midscale projects that have been announced into the pipeline. Guangzhou leads China's pipeline with 131 projects (26,412 rooms) followed by Chengdu (129 projects and 26,904 rooms), Shanghai (119 projects and 22,660 rooms), Wuhan (109 projects and 14,877 rooms) and Xi'an (91 projects and 16,180 rooms). Research by LE's market intelligence team shows that 90% of the hotels in China reopened at the end of Apr-2020, with hotel occupancy bouncing back. Additionally, at least 40% of hotel construction projects in major cities have resumed, with most projects estimating a delay of only two to four months.

STR and Tourism Economics further downgrades US hotel forecasts for 2020 and 2021

The latest US hotel forecast from STR and Tourism Economics projects a -57.5% decline in RevPAR in 2020, then a +48.0% increase in the metric in 2021. Each percentage change has been downgraded from a late-March forecast revision, which called for a 2020 RevPAR decrease of -50.6% followed by a 2021 increase of +63.1%. “Performance levels are dismal from every angle,” says Amanda Hite, STR president, but at the very least, latest weekly data into May-2020 indicates that the industry has already hit bottom and begun a steady ascent. But many expect it to be a long path to recovery. Adam Sacks, Tourism Economics’ president anticipates it “may take until 2023 to recover to 2019 peak demand levels”. Using economic methodology, which assumes no temporary hotel closures, the forecast says the luxury segment is projected for the lowest 2020 occupancy at 25.0%. Economy properties are forecast for the highest occupancy level of 45.2%. In aggregate, the Top 25 Markets are projected to perform worse than the rest of the country. New Orleans (+28.0%) and San Diego (+41.1%) are expected to show the lowest and highest occupancy levels, respectively.

Dan Hotels starts to open the doors across its collection as it reveals new app to allow guests to enjoy their stays without making physical contact with staff

The recent worldwide crisis inevitably caused Israeli tourism to come to a halt, but now the Dan Hotels collection is reopening properties. To support its return in this new climate it has developed an innovative, new app (available at some properties) named "App to Dan," which will allow guests to perform various actions during their stay without making physical contact with hotel staff. "We have been working hard during this period to ensure our guests return to the highest level of safety and comfort," explains Ronen Nissenbaum, CEO of Dan Hotels. The company’s premier property in Tel Aviv, the Dan Tel Aviv, has remained open throughout the pandemic, but as of next week, Dan Caesarea and Dan Eilat will also begin welcoming guests. Other hotels in the collection will resume operations within the coming months after undergoing thorough disinfection and cleaning, with additional emphasis on areas where there is frequent contact. The Dan Accadia in Herzliya, the Ruth Safed and the Neptune Eilat are expected to reopen in mid-June. The iconic King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the Dan Carmel in Haifa and the Dan Panorama Eilat have a target opening date of early July, with the remainder of the group's properties opening by mid-August.

Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR

  • Due to expanded restrictions around the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States of America (USA) hotel industry reported unprecedented lows during Apr-2020. In comparison with Apr-2019, occupancy was down -63.9% to 24.5%, ADR fell -44.4% to USD73.23 and RevPAR declined -79.9% to USD17.93. The absolute occupancy and RevPAR levels were the lowest for any month on record in the US, while the ADR value was the lowest since Dec-1997.

News briefs

  • Accor Group says that while operations are “still challenging” it sees “initial signs of business improvement”. New more favourable government strategies has seen the number of the group’s opened hotels across the world increase every day, in Asia and in Europe, notably in Germany. Accor says it has re-opened 250 hotels since end-April with 42% of its network now operating.
  • Avani Hotels & Resorts is the latest hotelier to announce details of new health and safety measures across its portfolio to restore confidence in concerned travellers due to the coronavirus crisis. Dubbed “Avanishield”, the company says the programme will see all of its 32 properties in 18 countries gradually adopt a range of “heightened” hygiene and sanitising standards to “ensure the health and safety of guests and team members”, including enhanced sanitising procedures and physical distancing in public areas.
  • The iconic Hotel Valley Ho in Old Town Scottsdale and the newest luxury golf resort in Paradise Valley, Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale, have transitioned from Westroc Hotels & Resorts to the larger hospitality management company, Benchmark. The company already operates 80 independent hotels, luxury resorts and conference centres throughout North America, the Caribbean and Japan.
  • Canary Technologies has launched Contactless Check-In, a solution that hoteliers can implement immediately to welcome guests while adhering to social-distancing guidelines. The platform, managed by a mobile link rather than an app, allows hotels to check guests in with no physical or material contact between the guest and the front-desk agent.
  • The 12-room luxury boutique Efendi Hotel will officially reopen to domestic guests on 22-May-2020 following changes to the official guidelines issued by the Israel Ministry of Health. Nestled in the picturesque narrow lanes of Acre, the property overlooks the historic city walls and the Mediterranean Sea beyond. It combines two ancient houses that were meticulously reconstructed and merged into one building before being converted into a boutique hotel.
  • Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG) has been selected to manage the 506-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton Nashville Downtown Convention Center. Scheduled to open during the fourth quarter of 2021, the Embassy Suites is part of a two-tower development project on 1.3 acres of land. Focal points include a rooftop pool, event area, bar and dedicated indoor and outdoor wellness areas.
  • The boutique Mercure Albury property in the major New South Wales city has enhanced its in-room entertainment offering with the deployment of the BeyondTV entertainment solution. The platform also further ensures that each guest remains up-to-date on the latest hotel offerings and can maintain a priority on guest safety using the solution's contactless service features.
  • The fashionable 41-room Orania.Berlin property will reopen on 25-May-2020 after its weeks-long closure due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The hotel, in the city's hip Kreuzberg neighborhood, has become a local icon with its sense of eccentric-chic style, cultural activities and eclectic cuisine. The property opening follows the successful relaunch of its Orania.Restaurant this past week.
  • The team behind VRScheduler, a software platform for managing staff scheduling and operational task management for the vacation rental industry has launched a series of online cleaning certification courses designed to support the education and wellbeing of housekeepers and maintenance departments of vacation rentals, condos and boutique hotels. The courses are currently available in English and Spanish.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has expanded its "count on us" initiative across Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa (EMEA), outlining new long-term efforts to build confidence among guests and to support its partners as they prepare to welcome back travellers in the wake of Covid-19. Rolling out to hotels in the coming weeks, the initiative's immediate focus is to further enhance a broad range of health and safety protocols across properties in the region.