Aimbridge forms operational units; White Lodging adds to Texas –

Aimbridge creates 6 operational divisions: Aimbridge Hospitality, Plano, Texas, has formed six operating units with the goal of adding value to Aimbridge owners by being more nimble and vertically focused. Operating divisions include Full Service (large-scale hotel and resort expertise); Evolution Lifestyle (differentiated by curated experiences); Enhanced Select Service (targeted service for continued success); Select Service (efficiencies to improve results for both extended and short stays) and two geographic units – EMEA (for expansion beyond the UK and Europe) and LatAm (to build a strong base in Mexico) . Each unit will be led by division presidents. The six presidents are Rob Smith, Full Service Division; Will Loughran, Evolution Lifestyle Division; Ben Perelmuter, Enhanced Select Service Division; Simon Mendy, Select Service division; David Anderson, EMEA; and Leandro Castillo, Latin America.

Rendering of the Kimpton Hotel in San Antonio, Texas

Kimpton adds in Texas: White Lodging, Merrillville, Indiana, will develop and manage a Kimpton-branded hotel to open in the central business district of San Antonio, Texas in 2024. HKS Architects and KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group will provide architectural and design services. The hotel will be IHG’s first Kimpton-branded property in White Lodging’s portfolio. The 347-key hotel will be partly new and partly repurposed from an 1850s schoolhouse. Two adjacent buildings will be converted to house an upscale restaurant, lobby bar and hotel suites, with a courtyard connecting the two historic buildings. When it opens, the hotel will be Kimpton’s fourth in Texas.

AG Group adds 5 stars to Rome: AG Group, Rome, Italy, will develop a luxury hotel in Rome. A historic building, owned by Finanziaria Tosinvest of the Angelucci group, will be transformed into a 70-room hotel with restaurant and terrace and will be the AG group’s first 5-star hotel in Rome. The building will be leased as part of a joint venture between AG Group and Gruppo Rossifin. The building last housed the Italian Banking Association and was the former national headquarters of the Italian Communist Party. The renovation will retain the building’s original architecture, including the red brick facade and historic elements, the entrance hall designed by Gio Pomodoro and the bust of Antonio Gramsci set in marble. AG Group has also relaunched AG Hotel Consulting, a unit of the group’s portfolio that offers services and solutions to support private hotels in their growth and development phases. The most recent addition to AG Hotel Consulting’s portfolio includes Hotel Villa Athena and Oasi di Kufra in Agrigento and Sabaudia in Italy, respectively.

Varde’s US$50 million loan to Steve Hermann Hotels: Steve Hermann Hotels, Santa Barbara, Calif., secured US$50 million in debt from Värde Partners, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the acquisition and renovation of the 82-room inn at Rancho Santa Fe in Rancho Santa Fe , California. Värde Partners provided a first mortgage loan to acquire the luxury resort after Hermann purchased it for US$43 million in May from JMI Realty, Austin, Texas. The acquisition closed in June and the deal was one of 16 transactions worth US$747 million of commercial real estate loans that Värde Partners closed in the first half of this year. A portion of the loan proceeds will be used to fund a US$15 million “top-to-bottom” renovation to reposition the resort as an exclusive, premier destination in California. Non-recourse variable rate debt, which provided 85% of total costs, including renovations, was valued in the mid-7% range.

Holiday Inn Express to India: IHG Hotels & Resorts has signed a management agreement with Dahej Hospitality Pvt. Ltd., a subsidiary of the Karmvir Group based in Mumbai, India, for a new hotel in the state of Gujarat. The Holiday Inn Express Dahej Bharuch Road will be a new 120-key hotel located on the main road in Dahej Bharuch, near the port city of Dahej, and will open by the first quarter of 2025. The hotel will drive the growth of IHG in secondary markets. IHG currently has 44 hotels operating under five brands in Southwest Asia and a pipeline of 37 hotels scheduled to open in the next two to three years.

IHG adds Crowne Plaza in Bangladesh: IHG Hotels & Resorts has signed an agreement with Dhaka, Bangladesh-based Doreen Hotels & Resorts to open Crowne Plaza Dhaka Gulshan in Bangladesh by the end of the year. The hotel is spread over two sites, the first is in the 119-key mixed-use tower, while the second tower has 30 suites with self-contained facilities. The hotel will also include an all-day dining restaurant, three specialty restaurants, outdoor pools, lounges, gyms, a banquet hall and two meeting rooms. Crowne Plaza Dhaka Gulshan will be IHG’s third property in Dhaka, along with InterContinental and Holiday Inn hotels in Dhaka’s old business district.

Equinox Hospitality acquires 4 in Texas: Equinox Hospitality has acquired four properties in Texas from Sonesta International Hotels Corp., Newton, Massachusetts. The four properties – Sonesta ES Suites Dallas Richardson, Sonesta Select Dallas Richardson, Sonesta Simply Suites Dallas Richardson and Sonesta Simply Suites Fort Worth Fossil Creek – total 463 keys. The properties are operated by Equinox Hotel Management.

Karisma, Margaritaville New Island Reserve: Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Miami, Florida, and Margaritaville, Orlando, Florida, will open the Island Reserve brand’s third property, Margaritaville Island Reserve Riviera Maya in Mexico in early 2023. The resort will be the brand’s first adults-only hotel . inclusive property featuring 355 suites in 13 categories, nine restaurants, three pools, two pickleball courts, a spa and the first LandShark brewery in Mexico.

Moxy Hotels launches the AR experience: Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels has launched the “Moxy Universe, Play Beyond” augmented reality experience at 12 Moxy Hotels in Asia Pacific. Customers will be able to explore the Moxy universe through their own avatars from July 12 through December 31. Guests can access the universe from their mobile devices to customize their avatars before arriving in person at these hotels. Once registered at Bar Moxy, customers can immediately enter the Moxy universe by scanning a QR code and unlock at least five challenges and win prizes. The avatar will also serve as a workout buddy during exercise, and guests can work out with their avatar at the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center.

US air traffic passenger boardings up 107%: US-US international air traffic enplanements jumped 107% to 19.08 million in June compared to June 2021, while enplanements reached 80% of pre-COVID volume , according to data published by the National Office of Travel and Tourism. Air passenger arrivals of non-U.S. citizens to the United States from foreign countries increased 111% from June 2021 to 3.53 million. Foreign visitor arrivals totaled 2.006 million, the eighth consecutive month in which foreign visitor arrivals exceeded 1 million and the third consecutive month exceeding 2 million since February 2020. Air passenger departures of American citizens from the United States to foreign countries totaled 6.36 million, +108% compared to June 2021 and only -8% compared to June 2019. The leading countries were Mexico (3.23 million), Canada (2.1 million ), the United Kingdom (1.67 million), Germany (934,000) and the Dominican Republic (893,000). Passenger air travel between the United States and Europe increased 443% to 6.4 million passengers, jumped 25% to 4.67 million passengers from June 2021 in South America /Central/Caribbean and increased by 257% compared to June 2021 to reach 1.06 million passengers in Asia.

Airlines are hampering the resumption of travel in Europe: The recovery of Europe’s tourism industry has slowed as airlines failed to adequately prepare for the resumption of travel, creating staff shortages, according to the latest research from GlobalData. Chaos at several European airports is expected to inhibit growth as cancellations and queues become the norm. International departures from European destinations are expected to reach 69% of pre-pandemic levels this year. Labor disputes and the staff crisis have had a deterrent effect on the reception of travellers. Other factors – inflation, the rising cost of living and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict – are also likely to have a significant impact on travel demand. Airports like Heathrow in London and Schiphol in Amsterdam have asked airlines to cut flights, while many have cut their schedules, affecting millions of holidaymakers. British Airways has canceled 13% of its summer schedule and will cut another 10,300 short-haul flights until the end of October.

IHG launches a redesigned application: IHG Hotels & Resorts has unveiled a new, redesigned IHG One Rewards app, which provides access to its 17 brands, over 6,000 hotels and the new One Rewards loyalty program. The app will provide information on the best offers and exclusive benefits, allow customers to book a room in seconds and manage their stays in one place. Customers can access a digital concierge, track their progress to the next loyalty step, and add their IHG One Rewards card to their Apple or Google Wallet from within the app. Drawing inspiration from inside and outside the travel industry and incorporating feedback from hotel teams, owners and guests, over 100 upgrades have been made to the new app.

Prospects for the recovery of the Indian hotel sector: Indian hospitality industry margins and revenues will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022-2023 despite the potential impact on demand caused by future waves of COVID, according to independent rating agency ICRA. Domestic leisure and passenger travel is expected to drive demand, with a gradual recovery in foreign tourist arrivals and business travel. High-end hotel occupancy across India is expected to be 68%-70% for FY 2023, while ADR will hover between Rs 5,600-5,800 (USD 70.52-73.04) . India’s hotel sector has had a strong start to FY2023, with 56%-57% occupancy at upscale hotels in Q1 2023, up 40%-42% from last year. fiscal year 22 and approaching the pre-pandemic occupancy rate of 60% to 62% in the first quarter of 2020. Hotel demand was driven by leisure, transients, MICE/weddings and foreign tourist arrivals and business travel. Midscale hotels reported a slower recovery due to their reliance on business travel and cost inflation.

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