CHECK OUT! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

7 October, 2021

CTC - Corporate Travel Community brings you a round up of some of the latest accommodation and hospitality news from across the globe. Here's our offering for this week.

  • Accor and Ennismore close on joint venture for new lifestyle entity
  • IHG's vibrant Holiday Inn brand readies to call West Perth home
  • Japan's Henn na Hotel Group opens its first international outpost in New York City
  • Wanda Hotels opening in Istanbul marks brand's first internationally managed hotel
  • Thompson Buckhead aims to bring a contemporary lifestyle experience to Atlanta market
  • Hyatt Centric brand debuts in UK with Cambridge opening
  • The hotel industry is 'facing a cold, hard truth': attaining same level of pre-pandemic operational performance 'will not be measured in days, but months, even years'
  • Melbourne Orlando International Airport breaks ground on Hyatt Place hotel
  • Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs - bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

Accor and Ennismore close on joint venture for new lifestyle entity

Hospitality groups Accor and Ennismore have completed a joint venture deal that will see the two companies merge and form a new lifestyle entity, confirming a proposed agreement first made public back in Nov-2020. This joint venture brings together the Ennismore know-how in building brands with purpose through creative storytelling, design and authentic experiences with Accor's wealth of knowledge in delivering scale, network growth and distribution. Under terms of an all-share merger, Accor becomes the majority owner of the new entity with 66.67% of the shareholding and Sharan Pasricha will control the remaining 33.33% holding. Mr Pasricha, Ennismore's founder & co-CEO and Gaurav Bhushan, fellow co-CEO, will lead the asset light entity which will run autonomously, comprising 14 hotel & co-working brands and a collection of over 150 culturally relevant and diverse restaurants and nightlife destinations. The portfolio today includes 87 properties globally, with an additional 141 hotels in committed pipeline across different regions, operating under brands including 21c Museum Hotels, 25hours, Delano, Gleneagles, Hyde, JO&JOE, Mama Shelter, Mondrian, Morgans Originals, SLS, SO/, The Hoxton, TRIBE and Working From_.

IHG's vibrant Holiday Inn brand readies to call West Perth home

West Perth's trendy Hay Street will soon be home to one of IHG Hotels & resorts' fastest growing hotel brands as the Sage Hotel West Perth rebadges to become the Holiday Inn West Perth with effect from 01-Nov-2021. With West Perth fast becoming a vibrant, bustling hub, just out of Perth's CBD, the hotel promises to take advantage of its locale to complement the brand's existing Perth properties. Located within walking distance to Kings Park and the Botanical Gardens, the hotel will be IHG's first property outside of Perth's city centre, which include the InterContinental Perth City Centre, Crowne Plaza Perth and Holiday Inn Perth City Centre. Part of the hotel's charm is the former 1902 Walsh Family residence which sits at the front of the property and a destination restaurant is slated to be a hallmark of Holiday Inn West Perth, as will the two character-filled boardrooms that currently occupy the space. When the hotel opens under the Holiday Inn banner in November, all its 101 guestrooms will receive a soft refurbishment to bring it in line with Holiday Inn's standard and the lobby will also be transformed.

Japan's Henn na Hotel Group opens its first international outpost in New York City

Japan's renowned Henn na Hotel Group has opened its first international property in New York City. The Henn na New York opened on 01-Oct-2021 at 235 West 35th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues) and joins the brand's 20 existing properties in offering stylish, tech-forward accommodations and playful hospitality experiences in urban destinations. The New York City outpost includes 92 rooms, a Gosuke restaurant, and an animatronic T-Rex in its lobby to welcome guests, a signature feature of the brand. Ideal for business and leisure travellers alike, the property offers a streamlined and sophisticated accommodation offering with its executive rooms and suites featuring LG Styler Closets - a convenience that steams and refreshes clothing. Suites also include deep-soaking tubs and a private balcony.

Wanda Hotels opening in Istanbul marks brand's first internationally managed hotel

Wanda Hotels & Resorts has opened its first internationally managed hotel marking an important milestone of group's offshore management. The Wanda Vista Istanbul, houses 127 luxury guestrooms and 320 fully-equipped service apartments co-designed by Philippe Starck and Wanda Hotel Design Institute. An urban resort in the emerging business district of Bagcilar, the property sits in the transportation hub close to the airport highway. The hotel, officially signed in 2017, was jointly developed with Mar Yapi Turizm, a leading real estate developer from Turkey. It features a triangular column tower structure that maximises daylight and combines the traditional Chinese philosophies of 'following the rules of nature'.

Thompson Buckhead aims to bring a contemporary lifestyle experience to Atlanta market

Thompson Buckhead, a new lifestyle hotel owned by Regent Partners and The Loudermilk Companies, is on track to open early this winter in the US city of Atlanta. The 10-storey hotel, designed by the architects of Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, built under general contractors Brasfield and Gorrie, and brought to life by design firm Studio 11, will "exude classic Southern charm" and a design that "melds romanticism with mid-century minimalism". Located in the centre of the Buckhead Village District, it will feature 201 guestrooms and suites which feature chevron-patterned wood floors, area rugs, and marble mosaics. Impressive floor to ceiling windows in every room will offer sweeping skyline views with Junior Suites, King Suites and Parlor Suites ranging from 417 to 620-square feet and the signature Thompson Suite, an impressive 1,048-square-foot retreat.

Hyatt Centric brand debuts in UK with Cambridge opening

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has confirmed the opening of Hyatt Centric Cambridge, a milestone opening that marks the debut of the Hyatt Centric brand in the country and the 10th Hyatt hotel in the UK. Situated just outside the center of the famous university city of Cambridge, renowned for its leafy parks, magnificent architecture, picturesque River Cam and stunning historic centre, the property features 150 guestrooms. It is located within the new sustainable neighbourhood of Eddington developed by the University of Cambridge, two miles northwest from the city's historic heart and is set around a central courtyard with a modern design and interiors developed by dRMM and design studio AvroKO. The social lobby features floor-to-ceiling windows flooding the space with bright, natural light, and modern furnishings with natural, wood finishes. A carefully curated selection of artworks nod to the scientific history of Cambridge, adding vibrant flashes of colour to the communal spaces.

The hotel industry is 'facing a cold, hard truth': attaining same level of pre-pandemic operational performance 'will not be measured in days, but months, even years'

The collective hotel industry is facing a "cold, hard truth" in that attaining the same level of pre-pandemic operational performance "will not be measured in days, but months, even years". That's what Aug-2021 data from HotStats portends and "at a crossroads," it says, as summer gives way to autumn and a host of new variables come into play that could "derail the modest success the past several months have demonstrated". In the US, the Aug-2021 data shows profit continues to lag its 2019 form, with GOPPAR recorded at USD52.27, 31% lower than it was in Aug-2019. In Europe, data suggests similar trends to the US, with most key performance indicators down in Aug-2021 versus the same month in 2019 by around 30%. Many of the gateway markets are down more, according to the HotStats data: London GOPPAR in Aug-2021 was only 30% of what it was in Aug-2019, while, in Paris, GOPPAR was a bit better off at 61% of the Aug-2019 level. Both the Middle East and Asia-Pacific saw significant year-over-year decreases in profit, the latter suffering from reimposed lockdowns in China due to the Delta variant. GOPPAR in Asia-Pacific was recorded at just USD8.77 in Aug-2021, an 84% negative difference.

Melbourne Orlando International Airport breaks ground on Hyatt Place hotel

Melbourne Orlando International Airport held a groundbreaking ceremony on 05-Oct-2021 for a 143-room Hyatt Place hotel, scheduled to open in 2022. The facility is being developed by ADËLON Capital and constructed by Certified General Contractors, with AD1 Management to operate and manage the new hotel upon completion. The facility is strategically positioned to eventually add a covered walkway link to the airport's terminal; as well as eventually offer customers an opportunity to park their general aviation or corporate aircraft near the hotel and enter directly via the lobby. The facility is expected to create over 100 jobs during construction and more than 20 operational jobs once opened.

Data metrics - latest performance insights from STR

  • The US Virgin Islands was the only Caribbean market to achieve an August year-to-date occupancy level higher than its 2019 comparable, an occupancy of 73.4%, which was +8.4% higher than the same period in 2019. Puerto Rico reported a 64.9% occupancy level, which came in relatively close to the 2019 comparable (68.1%). Prior to Aug-2021, the market had seen eight consecutive months of occupancy improvement, with Jul-2021 occupancy even surpassing the same month in 2020, 2019 and 2018. Another market that performed close to its 2019 comparable was Turks and Caicos, where Aug-2021 occupancy came in at 59.7%, which was -12.7% below the 2019 comparable (68.4%).
  • Destinations across the state of Queensland, Australia have seen lower hotel performance amid border closures and the underlying travel uncertainty for key source markets like Sydney, Melbourne, and even international markets like New Zealand and China. The impact of restrictions is also now extending to September/October school holidays and while some accommodation properties are seeing quite strong demand during this period, many properties are struggling because of a lack of guests from their usual feeder markets. Beyond "feeling pessimistic" around levels of future bookings, STR says hoteliers are also feeling concern as to what level of bookings will materialise into actual business, which is dependent on border opening timelines.
  • The hotel sector across South America reached occupancy levels in Aug-2021 that were 72.3% of the 2019 comparable, which was the region's highest level since Feb-2020, as corporate cities continue to suffer from border closures and restrictions as well as lack of a MICE segment or international demand. However, most markets reached more than 50% of 2019 levels, led by Santiago (66.2%) and Quito (66.0%). On the other side of the performance spectrum, Buenos Aires' hotels continued to struggle to generate momentum at just 27.6% of 2019 levels.
  • Most regions of the world are slowly trending to pre-pandemic levels, according to Aug-2021 data from STR. During the month, the US and Middle East reached hotel occupancy levels that were 88.7% of their 2019 comparable level, while Europe (79.1%), Northern Africa (78.3%) and Central America (76.5%) and South America (72.3%) also showed upward movement in the index to 2019. Australia and Oceania was at just 43.7% of the 2019 level because of increased COVID-19 cases and lockdowns across the region.

News briefs - bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

  • Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG) has assumed management of the 344-room Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center. Located in the northern Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, the hotel recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation to upgrade the hotel's exterior, 18,000 square feet of meeting space and guestrooms. Located next to the Dunwoody MARTA station, the property is surrounded by several major corporate headquarters and is just a short drive from the Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
  • HotelHub, a hotel technology solution provider for TMCs and their corporate customers, has launched an AI-powered rate optimiser tool to drive hotel booking efficiencies for TMCs and corporates. Using advanced machine learning Rate Optimiser monitors current bookings in line with the corporate's preferences and automatically re-shops for better hotel rates by scanning through multiple supplier content. In addition it also allows the TMC or corporate to set search parameters based on better hotel amenities, room type, downgrade savings, upgrades for traveller comfort, preferred supplier objectives, and commission optimisation.
  • In Residence by Pieter Brundyn has expanded its boutique villa offering into Mexico with the addition of some of the most exclusive properties in the country located in Careyes, Los Cabos, Merida, Playa del Carmen, Punta Mita, Riviera Maya, Sian Ka'an, Tulum, and Xpu-Ha. Mexico becomes the third international destination for the growing premium lifestyle management company, which already offers a portfolio of luxury villas supported by premier in-house concierge services in South Africa and Greece.
  • Margaritaville, the global lifestyle brand, has turned to Hapi to consolidate customer data and set up a suite of Salesforce tools, including Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics Cloud, and Interaction Studio. Hapi Connect will deliver PMS data across Margaritaville's 25-property portfolio into Salesforce Cloud environments in real time. The company will also look to integrate customer data across other business verticals - including retail, restaurant, homes and more - to better understand customer preferences and enable their system to offer personalized experiences to guests.
  • Nuvola, a hotel service optimisation and guest engagement software, has launched a new 5.0 platform designed to further enhance the guest experience, ease daily task management for staff, and speak to the current needs of the hospitality industry. The complete system-wide upgrade includes new user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) to increase practicality and intuitive functionality. Shortcuts and advanced search filters are now available to create more direct access to information through minimised clicks. A new insights module, an AI-backed product, provides users with real-time metrics related to guest preferences, asset management, and staff performance history as they are completing an activity.
  • Aparthotel operator Staycity is to open three new UK properties under its design-led Wilde brand: two in London and another in Manchester. Wilde Aparthotels, London Aldgate Tower Bridge, opens this month with 156-studio and one-bed apartments, Wilde Aparthotels, London Paddington with 249 studios, one-bed and two-bed apartments and Wilde Aparthotels, Manchester St Peter's Square with 256-rooms will follow in early 2022.
  • Story Hospitality is planning to implement a strategy that is built on the protection of the environment and has signed a partnership with Green Key which supports all hotels under its portfolio with tools and resources for sustainability certification. All the hotels under the brand will embrace an eco-project based on five inter-connected pillars - reduce, reuse and recycle; protect wildlife; reduce water consumption; energy conservation; and local care and fair trade.
  • The Shay, a Destination by Hyatt hotel and the brand's first urban hotel in Southern California, will open in the vibrant Culver City district of Los Angeles this October. The property features 148 rooms and suites and is primed to become a central hub for creative camaraderie. Features include loft-like accommodations with luxurious amenities, married with a sprawling campus with inspiring indoor-outdoor spaces to connect and collaborate during meetings, weddings and events.
  • Virgin Hotels is collaborating with Virdee to implement a virtual reception solution and ensure a superior digital check-in experience for all hotel guests. Virdee kiosks are currently piloting at Virgin Hotels in Chicago and Dallas, with the Nashville location in deployment, and Virdee will grow with the hotel's portfolio as the brand opens new hotels. The kiosks bring a seamless experience to the guest, providing a digital option for quick and efficient check-in and works side-by-side with Virgin Hotels' mobile application "Lucy" so guests can choose where to check in, mobile or kiosk.
  • The iconic Waldorf Astoria New York has launched Waldorf Stories, a brand-new website that will honour, document, and preserve the oral history of the world's most famous hotel through stories told by the people that lived them - the guests, visitors, and staff who have experienced special moments at the legendary building on Park Avenue. Waldorf Stories is an open call to the public to submit their personal memories as the property reaches its 90 theanniversary of its 1931 opening, then the largest and tallest hotel in the world. The property is currently in the midst of an unprecedented restoration and due to reopen in 2023.
  • Located on the ramparts of the UNESCO-protected 'Silent City', the former Maltese capital of Mdina, the Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux, a former 17th-century palace surrounded by stunning baroque architecture, has concluded a two-year refurbishment. The project has transformed the property into a luxury boutique hotel with 17 rooms and suites, including a new Presidential Suite.