Check in! – hotel highlights across EMEA

The Blue Swan Daily brings you a round up of the latest key hotel news from across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

  • New Park Inn properties open in Katowice, Poland and Najran, Saudi Arabia
  • Starwood Capital Group acquires Hilton UK portfolio
  • Saudi Arabia’s tourism vision is clear to see in extensive hotel pipeline
  • New Inverness property is not the end of Travelodge’s investment in the Highlands
  • Hotel News Briefs…

New Park Inn properties open in Katowice, Poland and Najran, Saudi Arabia
Park Inn by Radisson, the upper midscale hotel brand from the rebranded Radisson Hotel group, has expanded its portfolio with the opening of new properties in Katowice, Poland and Najran, Saudi Arabia. The 168 room Park Inn by Radisson Katowice is located close to the centre of the city offering quick access to the main roads of the Silesian region and within walking distance of the 620-hectare Silesian Park, as well as the International Conference Center. The property has an all-day restaurant and lobby bar, gym and sauna and also offers extensive and newly built meeting facilities, including a 370-square-metre ballroom. It brings the group’s Polish portfolio to 15 hotels and over 3,100 rooms in operation or under development. The 113-room Park Inn by Radisson Najran is located on King Saud Road in the Al Fahad District, the main highway that connects Najran to the Kingdom’s primary cities and just a few minutes away from the ministries, Aramco, and the industrial zone. This opening takes the group’s Saudi portfolio to 38 hotels, and over 10,000 rooms in operation and under development, but is its first in the city. The hotel features a range of guest rooms and executive suites, a “Live-inn room” dining concept for breakfast as well as a meetings and events space which includes five meeting rooms spanning 180 square meters and event space that accommodates up to 50 attendees.

Starwood Capital Group acquires Hilton UK properties
Starwood Capital Group, a global investment firm headquartered in the USA, has completed the acquisition of seven Hilton hotels in the UK, located in several of the UK’s top hotel markets including London, Edinburgh, Bath and Belfast which all enjoy high occupancy rates, high barriers to entry, and according to the purchaser “solid investment fundamentals”. The portfolio of over 1,300 rooms was purchased from Park Hotels & Resorts for GBP £135 million. Kew Green, one of the UK’s leading hotel management companies, will manage the newly acquired portfolio under franchise agreements with Hilton Worldwide. The sale marks the second acquisition in 12 months where Starwood and Kew Green have partnered, following the successful acquisition of the 298-room Holiday Inn Manchester in April 2017. Starwood Capital Group is planning to refurbish a number of the Hilton properties in order to further improve its operating performance and upgrade its asset values.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism vision is clear to see in extensive hotel pipeline
Saudi Arabia has more than 64,000 rooms across the three phases of the hotel development pipeline, new data from STR, the global data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights specialist, has revealed. That room total represents 76% of the more than 84,500 existing hotel rooms in the country. As shown in STR’s January Pipeline Report, there are 187 hotel projects total in Saudi Arabia between the Planning, Final Planning and In Construction stages. The construction phase represents the largest portion of the pipeline with almost 40,000 rooms in 94 projects. STR data shows that in 2017 the country recorded a 5.2% decline in occupancy and a 4.4% drop in average daily rate (ADR), resulting in a 9.3% decline in revenue per available room (RevPAR) compared with 2016. Figures for Jan-2018 show that occupancy rose 6.4%, while ADR dropped 5.2%, resulting in a year over year RevPAR increase of 0.9%.

New Inverness property is not the end of Travelodge’s investment in the Highlands
Budget hotel chain, Travelodge, has officially opened its third hotel in Scotland’s Highland city of Inverness. The company’s 43rd Scottish hotel is located in the heart of the city centre. However, the property does not represent the end of its investments in the area as it continues to seek “a further hotel site in Aviemore”. The new Inverness hotel represents an investment of GBP5 million for the landlord and has created 22 new jobs within the community. Located on Academy Street, the 54-room property was built in just 15 months and is the first Inverness Travelodge to feature a Bar Café offering a great value breakfast, dinner and bar menu. Over the past 24 months, Travelodge has invested nearly GBP500,000 upgrading its other Highland hotels (two in Inverness and one in Fort William) in the company’s new contemporary brand style. Mark Carrington, hotel manager at the Inverness City Centre Travelodge, says “research shows that our customers will spend GBP2 million with local businesses during their stay”.

Hotel News Briefs…

  • DHISCO and Peakwork have launched a new interface offering dynamic pricing solutions for packaging leisure travel. Peakwork’s ‘Player Hub’ technology connects tour operators and travel professionals with travel suppliers, enabling them to bundle hotels, flights, car rentals and other amenities. Peakwork developed a new API to DHISCO’s ARI connections, enabling a wider network of travel sales partners.
  • Finavia has announced the closure of elevator access from the Hotel Hilton to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport terminal 2, due to extension works being carried out on the border inspection area. A new elevator is expected to be opened in spring 2019.
  • GBI AG has announced plans to develop a new 165 room Holiday Inn hotel at Munich Airport in the municipality of Hallbergmoos. The conference and administration area of the hotel will be integrated into the historically landmarked section of the building. Construction is scheduled to commence in spring 2018 with completion in 2019.
  • Iranian Tourists Association board of directors member Mustafa Shafiashikib has called for strengthened cooperation between hotels and tourism agencies, and more targeted marketing to the key Chinese tourism market. He stated Iran is seeing interest from China in travelling to Iran, urging the public and private sectors to cooperate with Iran to attract Chinese tourists.
  • Johannesburg Lanseria Airport COO Gavin Sayce has revealed that a new hotel may be on the cards at the airport, but “that is still in the very early stages of discussion”. The airport is undergoing extensive redevelopment, including the construction of a new runway, expanded taxiways and a new ATC tower as part of a long-term target of handling 18 million passengers per annum, up from 2.2 million at present. Mr Sayce also noted the airport plans to develop more meeting and conferencing space, although that is not “definite as yet”.