CHECK IN! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

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 first offering of the week.

  • IHG reveals plans for first dual-branded voco and Holiday Inn hotel in downtown Chicago
  • Hilton opens its first branded property in the Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Austin property transformation marks third Atwell Suites project in the US
  • Brown Hotels debuts in Greece with opening of three hotels in Athens
  • US lodging demand to return to pre-pandemic levels by 4Q 2023
  • Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and development

IHG reveals plans for first dual-branded voco and Holiday Inn hotel in downtown Chicago

IHG Hotels & Resorts has outlined for the first dual-branded voco Hotel in the US in downtown Chicago. A Chicago landmark for over four decades, the property has long been recognised as a Holiday Inn, but is currently undergoing a complete renovation that will include transforming a portion of the existing building into a voco Hotel. Voco is a premium brand from IHG that focuses on expressive design and provides hotel owners the ability to retain their property’s individuality. This hotel will offer 521 rooms in this highly visible location in the River North submarket of Chicago, attached to Chicago’s 4-million-square-foot Merchandise Mart. Overlooking Wolf’s Point, the hotel will offer stunning views of the three branches of the Chicago River, adjacent to Chicago’s Riverwalk, luxury apartment towers, and several office developments. The hotel will share the public spaces and be design-led by the voco Hotels brand aesthetic throughout the common areas, including the lobby, the restaurants, and 22,500 square feet of meeting space. The Holiday Inn design aesthetic will be incorporated into the front desk, signage, and designated guest room floors. The guest room floors are configured in a figure-eight design surrounding two interior atriums. Once complete, the hotel will continue to be operated by Hostmark, a Chicago-based hotel management company that has been affiliated with the hotel since it first opened its doors. The new dual-branded property is projected to be unveiled in 2022.


Hilton opens its first branded property in the Kingdom of Bahrain

The new Hilton Garden Inn Bahrain Bay has officially opened its doors to guests in time for the upcoming Eid Al Adha vacation. The property, located in Manama, is the first to open under Hilton’s portfolio of brands in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Nestled in the heart of Bahrain Bay and directly connected to the newest retail and leisure destination in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Avenues Mall, the Hilton Garden Inn also offers convenient access to the Kingdom’s bustling business district and prime shopping areas. The hotel boasts 192 rooms (including 35 suites), all with bay and sea-facing views and complete with the brand’s upscale, affordable accommodation offer for business and leisure guests features curated furnishings designed to “meet the daily lifestyle needs of guests”, including a clutter-free desk, a 55-inch LED screen and complimentary access to Wi-Fi.


Austin property transformation marks third Atwell Suites project in the US

IHG Hotels & Resorts confirmed the further growth of its newest brand – Atwell Suites – with the latest property planned for Austin, Texas. The Atwell Suites Austin Airport is owned and managed by Bob & Son and is the third hotel underway for the brand, joining hotels currently under construction in Miami and Denver. There are currently more than 20 properties in IHG’s US pipeline for this design-led, dynamic, all-suites hotel brand optimised for longer stays of up to six nights. This project marks the transformation of an existing hotel property located near Austin Bergstrom International Airport, the new Oracle headquarters and Tesla Gigafactory facility. It is due to reopen from summer 2022 offering 80-keys and will feature the brand’s signature two-story lobby featuring The Common, the second floor public space that mixes private and shared areas. Other planned hotel amenities include complimentary breakfast, an inviting paid bar with shareable small plates, on-site pool, spa, and free hotel shuttle to and from the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.


Brown Hotels debuts in Greece with opening of three hotels in Athens

Urban hotel collection Brown Hotels has debuted in Greece with the official launch of its first three properties in Athens, marking the third international location for the Tel Aviv-born hotel group. These are the first of seven new properties by Brown Hotels set to open in Greece over the next two years, as the hotel group firmly establishes itself on the Greek market. The largest is the Brown Acropol, a 165 room-and-suite hotel on Athens’ Omonia Square, situated amongst the city’s finest neoclassical buildings, which draws inspiration from the original Brown TLV Urban Hotel and an interior decor reminiscent of the 1960s. It is complemented by the 87-room DAVE Red Athens, Son of a Brown boutique property, the fourth property from Brown Hotels’ affordable urban collection. Situated on the opposite side of Omonia Square, the brand’s distinguishable, punchy decor, with an industrial style interior design and fiery red colour, breathes fresh, young energy into the recently redesigned area, offering fun and budget-friendly accommodation to the modern tourist. The third arrival is Villa Brown Ermou, nestled in the picturesque, Parisian-like Plaka neighbourhood, is an urban retreat right in the heart of the city situated amongst some of the city’s main attractions such as Syntagma Square and the famous Ermou shopping street. The property features 51 rooms and suites. Brown Hotels will add Lighthouse Athens, Brown Spices and Theodore Athens to its Athens portfolio by 2023 and subsequently open properties in Corfu and Thessaloniki.


US lodging demand to return to pre-pandemic levels by 4Q 2023

Based on stronger than expected performance during the first quarter of 2021, plus encouraging economic and vaccination news, CBRE Hotels Research forecasts US lodging demand will return to pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of 2023. The strength in lodging demand will support pricing, but occupancy gains will be somewhat offset by new supply, as fewer development and conversion projects were side-lined than previously forecasted, it says. As a result, the recovery in occupancy will not occur until the fourth quarter of 2025 due to greater supply growth during the 2020 – 2022 period than coming out of prior recessions. The net result is a return of 2019 RevPAR levels in the third quarter of 2024. According to CBRE’s Jun-2021 edition of Hotel Horizons, ADR for U.S. hotels will return to 2019 nominal levels by the first quarter of 2024. That trails the recovery in lodging demand by only one quarter. After suffering a -22.5% ADR decline during 2020, US hoteliers are now seizing the opportunity presented by the bounce back in demand “by maximising room rates as much as possible,” notes the report. CBRE projects a +4.3% increase in ADR for the entirety of 2021, followed by a strong +11.4% rise in 2022. Previous research shows that strong ADR growth helps improve flow-through, supporting a recovery following the -80% decline in gross operating profits suffered last year. A headwind to the strengthening demand, according to CBRE, is a forecast +2.1% lodging supply increase for 2021.


Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR

  • The hotel industry in Canada in Jun-2021 reported its highest monthly performance levels since Sep-2020 2020, albeit even with improvement from previous months, the country’s performance levels remained well below the pre-pandemic comparable of Jun-2019. Occupancy reached 36.5%, down -50.5%, ADR fell -31.2% to CAD125.05 and RevPAR declined -66.0% to CAD45.67 in the year-on-year comparison. STR notes that transient leisure demand will continue to lead recovery through Ju-2021 and Aug-2021 with the US land border reopening in early Aug-2021 propelling occupancy and room rate recovery as fully vaccinated American leisure travellers visit. Among the major markets, Montreal saw the lowest occupancy (27.2%) in Jun-2021, which was a -67.2% decline from 2019, while Vancouver had the highest occupancy (44.8%), a decrease of -50.2% from 2019.
  • The United Kingdom continues to lead Europe in hotel performance recovery, due almost exclusively to domestic demand. Due to reopening, along with an assist from the summer half-term holiday (31 May-4 June), U.K. hotel occupancy came in at 43.1% in May-2021. That was up from May-2020 (23.0%) but substantially below May-2019 (78.9%). ADR was even further behind the pace at GBP67.33, up from GBP58.69 in May-2020 but down from GBP93.65 in May 2019. However, both the occupancy and ADR levels from May-2021 were the highest in the U.K. since Sep-2020. Although occupancy on the books remains low, regional UK is still ahead of London for the coming weeks and months. At the mid-point of the year, regional UK occupancy on the books for the next 90 days was sat as high as 50.9%, although weekday performance trended at between 14%- 35%. At the same time, London remains low because of a lack of its usual demand drivers, such as international travel and corporate demand.

News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and development

  • Acomodeo, a digital provider of serviced apartments, continues to expand its personal services and technology focusing on the evolving requirements of business travellers and their companies with a new partnership with Booking.com. This will combine its existing professional long stay inventory with the variety of short-stay options provided by Booking.com to create an even wider choice of corporate accommodation within the platform.
  • The Jun-2021 edition of  Hotel Horizons from CBRE Hotels Research forecasts that hotels located in San Bernardino, Dayton, Virginia Beach, Jacksonville and St Petersburg will achieve a market average RevPAR of 80% or more of their respective 2019 RevPAR levels. Conversely, recovery for hotels in New York and San Francisco will be extended. Hotels in these markets are projected to achieve RevPAR less than 40% of their 2019 levels in 2021.
  • Dtravel.com, the decentralised platform for the home sharing economy, launched by former executives from Airbnb, Expedia, and other travel technology companies with support from Binance-backed Travala.com, has announced that over 200,000 properties in more than 2,000 cities joined the platform in its first 30 days. The platform is expected to launch property bookings in the next three months, offering hundreds of thousands of vacation rentals powered by its native token (TRVL), which will soon be added to Binance Smart Chain and the Ethereum Network.
  • GuestEQ, the SMS text messaging-based guest and staff communication platform, has updated its interface and functionality to improve ease of use for hotel staff and accelerate implementation. Built by hoteliers for hoteliers, version 2.0 is based on feedback by hotel staff users, and has been designed to look and feel like a social media platform.
  • Driftwood Hospitality has confirmed the rebranding of the former Red Lion Hotel Paper Valley to Hilton Appleton Paper Valley in a partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Located in the heart of downtown Appleton and connected to the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, the 388-room hotel will open its doors under Hilton’s flagship brand in late 2021 after a property refresh covering guestrooms, public areas and its event space.
  • Pebblebrook Hotel Trust today has acquired the Jekyll Island Club resort for USD94.0 million. The resort is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is located in the heart of Jekyll Island, one of the renowned Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia. Pebblebrook has retained Noble House Hotels & Resorts to manage the resort, which features 200 guest rooms.
  • Jurny has partnered with interior design marketplace Fulhaus to bring rentals to market faster as it becomes the go-to solution for resident and property management members to provide high-quality furnishings for all new locations. Montreal-based Fulhaus will work with customers to select a range of personalised turnkey interior design packages for a single home or large multi-unit property, allowing highly-functional short-term rentals to get to the market faster.
  • The Six Senses Shaharut, located in a secluded setting in Israel’s lunar-like Arava Valley in the south of the Negev Desert, will start welcoming guests from 05-Aug-2021. The resort, which features just 60 suites and villas spread across the expansive desert landscape, will offer “traditional desert hospitality and rich Nabataean history delivered with uncompromising eco-conscious care and attention”.
  • The Versante Hotel will debut a boutique hotel experience for visitors to the Canadian city of Richmond when it opens to guests from 29-Jul-2021. The property features 100 guestrooms and suites boasting five bold décor themes, all developed by Vancouver-based CHIL Interior Design. It is situated just 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver close to Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
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