CHECK IN! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

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

  • Best Western brings its boutique Sadie hotel brand to Europe
  • Hotel branded loyalty programmes still account for the majority of US accommodation bookings
  • Small Luxury Hotels of the World highlights annual the trends that will be shaping the luxury boutique experience in 2020
  • IHG debuts its upscale voco brand in Africa in partnership Valor Hospitality Partners Africa
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

Best Western brings its boutique Sadie hotel brand to Europe

Best Western has confirmed its new Sadie hotel brand will debut in Europe with the opening of a property in the UK town of Luton this summer. The Sadie Luton will be housed in a former 1960s office block following a GBP6 million conversion project. The 105-room upscale property is owned by Centro Hotels. No two hotels within the Sadie and brother Aiden brands will be alike, yet all properties that join the collections will benefit from full integration into the Best Western marketing and operations teams. It says the new brands offer developers and investors the opportunity to reposition and rebadge existing properties or to transform other buildings to create new hotels.


Hotel branded loyalty programmes still account for the majority of US accommodation bookings

Hotel branded loyalty programmes continue to play a major factor in where and how guests are booking their stays, and today loyalty-related bookings account for more than 50% of the total hotel bookings in the US, according to new, full-year 2019 booking data from Kalibri Labs. Throughout 2019, total US Loyalty Contribution increased 7.6% to 56.2%, a jump of 8.3 percentage points or 17.3% since the top hotel brands launched aggressive book-direct campaigns in 2016. However, top-line growth rates slowed in 2019, meaning it’s more important than ever for hotels to control their entire P&L, not just their expenses. The data illustrates that growth in Brand.com outpaced OTA room night growth by 80bps in 2019, increasing nearly 7.5% year-over-year. The Upscale, Upper Upscale, and Luxury segments experienced improved acquisition efficiencies with declines in booking costs in 2019, while the Midscale and Economy segments experienced increases.


Small Luxury Hotels of the World highlights annual the trends that will be shaping the luxury boutique experience in 2020

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has released its annual Luxury Travel Trends Report, looking ahead at what will be shaping the luxury boutique experience in the coming year. The observations are based on “the creative, inspiring and novel elements” introduced by the luxury brand’s more than 520 independent hotels that together it says reflects the emergence of a movement or burgeoning trend. For 2020, it identifies six specific overarching themes reinforced by the idea of uncomplicated and honest luxury. “Travellers are looking to embrace pared back extravagance by interacting with local cultures, respecting nature and participating in something that feels bigger than themselves,” it explains. The themes are ‘Conscious Luxury’ (examples are bio-architecture, conservation projects, widespread plastic-free initiatives); ‘Dispersed Hotels’ (a new way to experience a hotel and a destination by spreading the areas out across buildings in one small town or village); ‘Upskilling Escapes’ (real once-in-a-lifetime experiences); ‘Wellness from Ahh to Zzz’ (indigenous spa practices, rituals, enhanced sleep and general wellbeing); ‘The Root Back to Real Food’ (the emergence of unexpected herbivores, plant-based restaurants in surprising places); and ‘Destinations to Watch’ (new locations).


IHG debuts its upscale voco brand in Africa in partnership Valor Hospitality Partners Africa

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will debut its voco brand in Africa after confirming the opening later this year of The Bank, Rosebank in South Africa in partnership with Valor Hospitality Partners Africa. The announcement follows the signing of a Master Development Agreement (MDA) with Valor Hospitality Partners Africa last year with the intention to roll out multiple franchise hotels over the next ten years, across IHG’s portfolio of brands in midscale, upscale and luxury segments. The new build property, located at a cosmopolitan commercial and residential suburb close to central Johannesburg, will feature 131 rooms and will provide easy access to all the city’s key business districts. IHG currently operates 28 hotels in Africa across six brands including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Six Senses, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites.


News briefs

  • The DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island has unveiled a floating sea pool with a walkway located in the middle of azure blue waters of the Arabian Sea, with sunbeds for guests to soak up the sun and enjoy panoramic views. The new facility is not just available to guests but will host private parties, cocktail receptions and exclusive dinners.
  • A 136-room Fairfield by Marriott hotel opened in downtown St Louis last week supporting the continued dynamic transformation of the Downtown West area of St. Louis. The Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites St Louis Downtown is located at 2144 Market Street within the footprint of a USD8 billion development underway in the city.
  • US hotel owner-operator MCR has acquired the 164-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott Boston Peabody. The property is located at 43 Newbury Street and features 164 suites with mini-refrigerators, coffeemakers, microwaves and wet bars.
  • Whitbread has confirmed it will open five new Premier Inn hotels in Scotland during 2020, including a new super-sized 249-bed hotel in Glasgow’s St Enoch Square and a 136-bed hotel on Edinburgh’s world-famous Princes Street. Altogether it is on course to open 735 new beds this year – a mixture of the five new hotels and extensions. Other new properties include a 60-bed hotel in Aviemore and an 85-bed hotel in Thurso, set to become Premier Inn’s most Northerly in the UK to date.
  • The new Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel is said to feature “one of the highest rooftop pools in the city”. The 341-room property is housed within a 39-storey building on the site of the city’s former Antiques Garage flea market, at 112 West 25th Street. Marriott confirms further Renaissance properties are planed for opening in Flushing and Harlem in the next two years.
  • Outrigger Hospitality Group has signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire ownership of Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay, a 509-room property in a prime oceanfront location on the Island of Hawaii. The transaction is expected to close in mid-April 2020, at which time the property will be rebranded as an Outrigger Resort.
  • The SpringHill Suites Fort Worth Historic Stockyards opened in Dec-2019 extending the Marriott brand’s presence in Texas. Located in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, ten minutes from downtown and Sundance Square, the all-suite property contains a rooftop tapas bar with views over the downtown Fort Worth skyline.
  • Latest hotel pipeline data for the US by benchmarking specialist STR shows 1,615 projects accounting for 208,807 rooms in construction as of the end of Jan-2020. This represents a 6.8% year-over-year increase in the number of rooms in the final phase of the development pipeline. In absolute values, a majority of the country’s construction activity continues to be focused in the select-service segments with 64,945 Upscale rooms and 63,528 Upper Midscale rooms.
  • The SureStay Hotel by Best Western Floresville has opened its doors in Floresville, Texas. Located at 1720 10th Street in Floresville, Texas, the hotel features 42 guest rooms, complete with flat-screen televisions, microwaves and mini fridges The facility also offers an outdoor pool, a pavilion with barbeque pits and picnic tables.
  • The Drisco Hotel five-star luxury property has launched its ‘The Villa Drisco’ experience, offering guests the opportunity to take over the historic villa exclusively. Comprised of five guestrooms and suites, The Villa Drisco, is located adjacent to the Drisco Hotel facilities and amenities while allowing families and small groups to socialize and bond in the privacy of their own villa.
  • WoodSpring Suites, an extended stay hotel franchised by Choice Hotels International has added two new hotel properties in California: the WoodSpring Suites Riverside-Corona-Norco and the WoodSpring Suites Redlands San Bernardino. The four-floor properties each have 122 rooms and are located with easy access to Ontario International and San Bernardino International airport, respectively.
  • The World of Hyatt loyalty programme has reintroduced its Bonus Journeys, a global promotion providing members opportunities to accelerate point earnings this year. Members can earn thousands of Bonus Points on stays at over 1,000 participating locations worldwide starting with their second stay from 15-Feb-2020 to 15-May-2020.