CHECK OUT! – latest hotel highlights from across the globe

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

  • Travelodge entered the Covid-19 crisis with ‘record level of cash reserves’ but UK-centricity of its portfolio means it has now launched a CVA to support its recovery
  • New Florence property marks AG Group’s step up into the luxury dive-star market in Italy
  • Hotels in UK regions should benefit from their more domestic, leisure-based guest profile in Covid-19 recovery
  • Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR
  • News briefs – bitesize updates of latest industry news and developments

Travelodge entered the Covid-19 crisis with ‘record level of cash reserves’ but UK-centricity of its portfolio means it has now launched a CVA to support its recovery

Budget hotel chain Travelodge has launched a proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA), commonly used by companies in distress to pay off their debts over a fixed period of time. The CVA forms part of the business’ recovery plan, which includes steps taken to re-open its hotels once the UK Government restrictions are lifted, reduce operating and capital costs, raise additional funds and temporarily reduce rents paid to landlords. It says this proposal “offers the best approach to address the short-term challenges facing the business as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak and to secure the future of its more than 10,000 employees”. The CVA proposes a schedule of differing rent levels, with some hotels receiving full rents and the majority receiving a temporary reduction in the rent payable covering the period between Apr-2020 and the end of 2021 with all hotels returning to full contractual rents in 2022. It does not include any planned hotel closures. Prior to the outbreak, Travelodge says it entered 2020 with “a record level of cash reserves” but that the pandemic has had “a significant impact”. The majority of Travelodge’s estate has remained shut since the UK Government ordered the closure of hotels in late Mar-2020 due to the UK-centricity of its portfolio.

New Florence property marks AG Group’s step up into the luxury dive-star market in Italy

AG Group has unveiled IL Tornabuoni, the group’s first five star luxury hotel, due to open in the third quarter of this year in Florence, Italy. With the addition of this new property in the Italian Renaissance city, AG Group’s AG Hotels collection will expand into the new classification, complementing the eleven 4-star boutique hotels it already has in Rome. Located along Florence’s Via Tornabuoni in the historic 12th century Palazzo Minerbetti, one of the city’s oldest palazzo residences, the IL Tornabuoni will have 62 prestigious rooms and suites, set amidst four floors in the heart of the historical city centre. The property represents the second new arrival in the AG Group’s portfolio following the opening in Feb-2020 of the 13-room boutique four-star Campo Marzio hotel, tucked away in Palazzo Magnani, an 18-century palazzo in Rome’s famous Campo Marzio neighborhood.

Hotels in UK regions should benefit from their more domestic, leisure-based guest profile in Covid-19 recovery

A new report from global hotel consultancy HVS has highlighted how the UK hotel sector’s traditionally strong domestic leisure demand bodes well for the sector’s recovery once lockdown measures from Covid-19 are fully lifted, with properties in the regions expected to perform better than the big cities, which have more of a reliance on international travellers and corporate bookings. Many hotels outside London typically generate over 50% of domestic room nights from holidaymakers. In the Southwest of England, for example, holidays account for 69% of domestic room nights, compared with London, where some 29% of hotel bookings come from domestic leisure bookings. The HVS report ‘COVID-19 Recovery in the UK – The Importance of Domestic Demand’ shows that across Europe those countries with a high domestic demand will be in a stronger position to recover once lockdown measures are lifted, particularly as international travel is curtailed. Overall 60% of hotel demand in the UK comes from domestic sources, a similar proportion to France (63%) although not as high a proportion as Germany at 82%, although much of this demand is generated from trade fairs and events, which are likely to take longer to recover, and the Nordics, which averages at 71%. Much of Southern Europe has a lower percentage of domestic tourism, with Portugal at 34% and Italy at 50%, which will result in a slower recovery for their hotels unless they are able to attract foreign visitors when circumstances permit this.

Data metrics – latest performance insights from STR

  • United States of America hotel gross operating profit per available room fell more than -100% during Apr-2020, according to the latest monthly P&L data release from STR. In a year-on-year comparison with Apr-2019, the industry reported GOPPAR down -116.9% to USD-17.98, TRevPAR down -92.9% to USD17.39, EBIDTA PAR down -140.2% to USD-32.30 and LPAR (Labour Costs) down -72.8% to USD20.80. Among the top markets, Houston reported the steepest year-over-year GOPPAR decline (-135.3%), followed by Chicago (-134.6%) and San Francisco/San Mateo (-133.6%).

News briefs

  • Amadeus and Troovo announced the integration of Troovo’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) engine with Amadeus’ B2B Wallet. The integration means the entire virtual payment flow can now be automated quickly, helping the travel industry digitally transform B2B supplier payments. The introduction of RPA allows key data relating to each payment and booking to be moved between the booking system and the airline passenger service system or the hotel property management system automatically by a software robot.
  • Las Vegas-based Bartech has unveiled Minibar+, a technology solution that enhances manual minibars with semi-automatic functionality that minimises guest contact and permits remote access to hotel operators. This could allow manual minibars to offer a wider range of goods, hotels better manage cleaning routines and can easily lock and unlock access.
  • Commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group projects a “relatively rapid” return for the US lodging industry. While the trough in 2020 lodging performance will be much deeper than anything previously seen, “much of this decline is not caused by underlying fundamental economic problems“ and the lifting of social gathering restrictions will “restore economic production”. A critical factor driving this recovery is naturally a reduction in the number of new Covid-19 cases. Worryingly, in the event of a prolonged need for social distancing and a persistent occurrence of new Covid-19 cases, CBRE warns that its hypothetical downside scenario would not see recovery in RevPAR to pre-crisis levels until 2025.
  • Curaçao Hospitality & Tourism Association (CHATA) reported an increase in visitor arrivals and visitor nights in 2019, mainly due to increase in visitors from the Caribbean, North America and the Netherlands. Stayover arrivals increased by 7% year-on-year, totalling 463,685 stayover visitors. Hotel occupancy was 71.7%, a 0.5pp decline. ADR increased by +3.8% and RevPAR increased +3.4%.
  • The Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites Tampa Riverview opened for business in Mar-2020, operated as a Marriott franchise, owned by Riverview Hotels & Resorts and managed by Naples Hotel Group. The 108-room property is located at 10743 Big Bend Road, offering access to James A Haley Veterans’ Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Topgolf and Bass Pro Shops.
  • The new Hampton Inn & Suites Imperial Beach San Diego opened in late May-2020. The 110, all-suite property is conveniently located on Palm Avenue within one mile of the San Diego Bay and the Imperial Beach Pier. Tharaldson Hospitality Management will own and operate the hotel under its franchise agreement with Hilton Worldwide Holdings
  • Hotelbeds has announced a strategic partnership with Group. The partnership will provide Group with access to Hotelbeds’ Beyond The Bed portfolio of more than 18,000 activities in 690 destinations, 25,000 transfer routes in 1,100 destinations, as well as theme-park attractions and entrance tickets for events all over the world. Products from the Beyond The Bed portfolio will be directly connected with Group’s system via API connectivity.
  • According to HotStats, Apr-2020 was a month of “virtually no business volume” for Europe’s hotels, as the coronavirus spread across the continent, prompting countries such as Spain, Italy and Russia to impose lockdowns in order to flatten the infection curve. The result was pain across the operating statement, with GOPPAR recording its historical low at -EUR17.86, a -132.0% decline compared to Apr-2019.
  • Lodging Econometrics reports that at the close of the first quarter of 2020, Europe’s hotel construction pipeline expanded to near-record highs with 1,840 projects and 294,047 rooms, a 10% increase in projects and a 15% increase in rooms, year-over-year (YOY). Projects under construction stand at 878 projects, with an all-time high of 142,185 rooms; while projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 522 projects with a record-high 82,229 rooms.
  • Miami-Dade County Commission commenced a three month period seeking expressions of interest and proposals to develop a new hotel at Miami International Airport, with attached convention centre, meeting room and trade show space. A decision on proposals will be made one month after bids are submitted.
  • OYO Hotels has launched its ‘Scrubbed Clean’ programme with a set of recommendations to ensure that all its hotels in the US comply with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to ensure health and safety for everyone involved.
  • RIU Hotels continues to reactivate its business have closed its 99 establishments in 19 countries at the month of Mar-2020. This began on 25-May-2020 with the reopening of the Riu Plaza Berlin and Riu Plaza Guadalajara and has continued this week with the Riu Plaza Miami Beach, on 04-Jun-2020. The 4-star property with 284 rooms offers direct access to Miami Beach’s famous promenade and beach.
  • Tour operator TUI has outlined plans to reopen its six properties in Austria, initially for locals, but also for international travellers as restrictions are lifted. TUI says in Germany and Austria there “is already a positive booking trend” for its properties. The TUI Blue Schladming will be the first hotel to reopen on 10-Jun, followed by two of its Robinson Clubs – Amadé  from 19-Jun and Landskron from 20-Jun. The TUI Blue Fieberbrunn will follow from 26-Jun and the Robinson Club Schlanitzen Alm  from 27-Jun, concluding with the new TUI Blue Montafon lifestyle property opening its doors for the first time from 24-Jul.
  • Universal Orlando Resort in Florida has started reopening its properties to guests, under a carefully managed and phased programme which includes a wide range of new and enhanced best-practice health, safety and hygiene procedures. This includes the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal’s Aventura Hotel and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites.