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.

  • IHG sees demand for hotels hitting ‘the lowest levels we’ve ever seen’
  • Edinburgh International Conference Centre is to open a new 365-bedroom Hyatt hotel at Haymarket with pioneering hotel school attached
  • Homeless shelters, quarantine centres and make-shift hospitals – a new life for the world’s empty hotels
  • Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

IHG sees demand for hotels hitting ‘the lowest levels we’ve ever seen’

We know we are in a crisis, but just how deep? Well, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) says demand for hotels is hitting “the lowest level we’ve ever seen” in a business update from CEO, Keith Barr, into the rapidly evolving environment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads. Like most major hospitality businesses, IHG has revealed a package of measures to reduce costs and preserve cash “to manage the business through this unique environment and to support our owners during this incredibly difficult time”. IHG says its global RevPAR decreased -6% across Jan-2020 and Feb-2020, with a broadly flat performance in the US offset by declines in Greater China, which saw an almost 90% decline in Feb-2020. During Mar-2020, given the measures adopted by governments around the world to restrict travel and social contact, it is anticipating global RevPAR declines of around 60%, with steeper declines in those markets most impacted by restrictions. Looking ahead, it says cancellation activity for Apr-2020 and May-2020, and current booking trends, “indicate continued challenging conditions”. On a positive note though, in Greater China, IHG now has 60 hotels closed compared to 178 at the peak, and in recent days has “begun to see improvements in occupancy,” albeit at low levels.


Edinburgh International Conference Centre is to open a new 365-bedroom Hyatt hotel at Haymarket with pioneering hotel school attached

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has received the green light for a new 362-bedroom, four-star hotel located in the Haymarket area of city. The property will operate under a franchise agreement with Hyatt Hotels Corporation, but most notably will have an attached hotel school will be run in partnership with Edinburgh College which is eventually expected to be training up to 200 people per year. The new hotel will guarantee rooms within a few hundred yards of the conference centre – a problem which reportedly currently loses it around GBP1 million worth of business every year. Both hotel and school are being built by developers Quartermile and are scheduled to open in summer 2023.


Homeless shelters, quarantine centres and make-shift hospitals – a new life for the world’s empty hotels

How do you solve a problem like empty hotels? Across the world, hotel operators are looking at innovative solutions during the current accommodation crisis. Looking at the UK, since early in the pandemic – before demand levels hit a low – the UK Department of Health had blocked booked a Holiday Inn property at London Heathrow Airport to serve as a potential quarantine zone for people entering the country with coronavirus symptoms. Now, major hotel brands are looking at other solutions. Examples are Best Western offering 15,000 hotel bedrooms and more than 1,000 meeting rooms to help the NHS and local authorities through the coronavirus crisis making accommodation open to NHS staff, care workers, families, lower risk patients and the over 70s, to help take the strain off hospital wards and allow clinicians to treat the most vulnerable patients. Similarly, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is allowing 300 of its London rooms to be used by the homeless to self-isolate during the coronavirus crisis. The Mayor of London, with support from the government, has block-booked the rooms for a 12 week period to help rough sleepers.


Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR

  • In United States of America, the hotel industry reported positive results in the three key performance metrics during Feb-2020. Year-on-year, occupancy was up +0.2% to 62.2%, ADR rose +1.4% to USD130.78 and RevPAR increased +1.7% to USD81.33.
  • In Europe, the hotel industry reported mostly negative results in the three key performance metrics during Feb-2020. Year-on-year, occupancy slipped -1.8% to 63.6%, ADR increased+1.2% to EUR101.68, while RevPAR fell -0.6% to EUR64.68.
  • In the Middle East, the hotel industry reported mostly negative Feb-2020 performance results. Year-on-year, occupancy fell -3.0% to 69.8%, ADR declined -10.3% to USD133.40 and RevPAR decreased -13.0% to USD93.07.
  • In Africa, the hotel industry posted mixed results across the three key performance metrics during Feb-2020. Year-on-year, occupancy slipped -0.4% to 61.6%, ADR increased +1.4% to USD113.31 and RevPAR was up +1.0% to USD69.78.
  • Preliminary data for hotels in Dubai shows hotel performance declines worsening as concern around the COVID-19 pandemic broadens. STR’s analysts recorded Dubai’s occupancy, ADR and RevPAR had decreased for 37 consecutive days from 01-Feb-2020 through 08-Mar-2020. In Feb-2020, year-on-year occupancy levels fell -9.4% to 77.1%, ADR fell -14.4% to AED567.63 and RevPAR declined more than a fifth, -22.5% to AED437.41.
  • Preliminary data for hotels in London shows slightly negative year-on-year performance in Feb-2020 that worsened into double-digit declines during the first week of Mar-2020. During Feb-2020, occupancy fell -2.3% to 76.3%, ADR rose +0.3% to GBP133.57 and RevPAR slipped -2.1% to GBP101.91.

News briefs

  • The hotel industry is facing an abrupt and unprecedented drop in hotel demand that is gaining pace and getting progressively deeper and more severe week by week, says the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). It says that based on current occupancy estimates, four million total jobs have been eliminated already.
  • The Ethiopian SkyLight Hotel in Addis Ababa is being used by the East African country’s government as a quarantine centre for arriving passengers. All arrivals, effective from 00:10 at 23-Mar-2020 will be placed in mandatory quarantine as part of measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, a newly opened and modern 61-storey skyscraper that serves as both a hotel and residential building has incorporated custom-designed VingCard Essence door locks alongside VingCard Signature RFID locks from ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions.
  • Performance Hotels has delayed the launch of its new Birch lifestyle brand due to the current environment. The former De Vere Theobalds Estate hotel in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, UK was set to relaunch as the 140-bedroom Birch hotel in Apr-2020, but will now not open until Jun-2020 at the earliest, according to the company’s backers hotelier Chris Penn and entrepreneur Chris King.
  • Premier Inn has debuted a second hotel in Northumberland in the UK with the opening of a new property in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The 60-bedroom property represents the redevelopment of the former Playhouse Cinema site on Sandgate and its completion comes four years after planning consent was secured. The brand’s parent, Whitbread, recently secured planning permission for a new 83-bedroom Premier Inn on the Willowburn Trading Estate in Alnwick, also in Northumberland.
  • Pruvo, an app that helps travellers save money on hotel stays by rebooking when the market price drops, has closed a USD1.1 million seed funding round, led by SeedRocket 4Founders Capital from Spain, along with business Angels from Spain, UK, Netherlands and Israel.