Leisure travel will continue to dominate hotel booking patterns into the new year, even if Omicron is only a minor blip on performance.
Daily Lodging Report
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Here’s a sampling of what the Daily Lodging Report provided to its readers this past week. If you’re not a subscriber, you should be. Don’t wait. Sign up now here.
Sunday, Dec. 5
Truist said they believe the strength in leisure travel is extending beyond the upcoming holiday period and well into 1Q22, leaving them most positive on the leisure centric stocks. The mixed news is, following a Delta-related pullback in July, booking volumes during August-November for future city-wide group/convention events in major markets were well above comparable 2019 levels with pricing up close to 5% versus 2019. However, the cumulative booking pace of 2022 corporate meetings/events is tracking -35% versus 2019 with the trends generally far better for warmer/southern locations than for colder/northern locations. They see very limited statistical evidence that individual business travel is ready to take off like some bullish statements by senior hotel executives at the recent NYU hotel conference.
Skift Note: Executive chatter about business travel roaring back is industry BS.
Morgan Stanley reported on takeaways from their recent 2021 consumer conference. In general companies have not seen an impact from omicron on their US businesses to date and continue to expect 4Q RevPAR to improve from 3Q. Some did report a bit of pressure on MEA and Europe bookings. Companies expect strong net unit growth to continue and remain confident they will return to their pre-Covid growth rates. The strength of leisure demand has extended into the more corporate-reliant fall but getting back to 2019 RevPAR levels may still be contingent upon the return of business travel and group demand.
Skift Note: Anecdotal evidence first emerged that Omicron might not be as bad as the Delta variant. Data later backed up the claim.
Monday, Dec. 6
IHG Hotels & Resorts and MIK Group officially opened the new 308-room Crowne Plaza Phu Quoc Starbay resort on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam. Situated along the Bai Dai beach, just north-west of the island recognized as UNESCO’s World Biosphere Reserve in 2006, the resort is a 40-minute drive from the Phu Quoc International Airport. The hotel includes the Plaza Workspace, a new take on the traditional hotel lobby space. The 308 guestrooms include 11 villas and 21 suites, ranging from 40 square meters to 411, each with an expansive balcony. There are two swimming pools, the Hoa Sim Spa, two distinctive dining venues, Tribe Kids Club and 416 square meters of dedicated meeting space. IHG now has 14 hotels in Vietnam operating under four brands.
Skift Note: Just because IHG is shaking out a few bad eggs doesn’t mean Crowne Plaza is out for the count.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced the debut of its La Quinta by Wyndham brand in China with the opening of La Quinta by Wyndham Weifang Southscheduled for late December. The hotel is located in Weifang, one of the largest cities in the Shandong province. The city is known as the birthplace of kites, surrounded by beautiful natural landscape perfect for mountain-climbing or sight-seeing. The La Quinta by Wyndham Weifang is a new hotel featuring 200 guestrooms and suites, all equipped with modern amenities. There is an executive lounge, complete with private check-in/check-out, dedicated concierge services and an exclusive meeting room, the Fit Lounge which includes a 600 square meter gym and yoga room. There are three restaurants and 3,400 square meters of conference and banquet space.
Skift Note: No matter the recovery setback caused by China’s zero-case policy on coronavirus, brands still very much want to build there. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Real estate is a long-term play.
Wednesday, Dec. 8
Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport submitted a proposal for the resumption of international flights on nine routes across Asia and the United States from December 15 as part of a two-phased reopening plan. The initial phase would launch next week with four flights weekly to and from either Los Angeles or San Francisco in the US plus Singapore, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Laos, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei. The Ministry is anticipating around 28,000 visitors to Vietnam in the two weeks through the end of 2021 under the plan. Phase two of the proposal calls for additional routes to be added from January 1, 2022, adding Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow and Sydney. The opening phase would see flights running to and from two of Vietnam’s airports in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, expanded to include Da Nang City, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc and Van Don under phase two. The issues include that the US’ CDC recently listed Vietnam among 56 countries and territories deemed high Covid-19 risks. Both Mainland China and Hong Kong continue to enforce mandatory quarantine measures on all international arrivals.
Skift Note: Finally. Travel bans at this point are impractical and unjust.
Thursday, Dec. 9
Courtyard by Marriott announced a modern design and robust renovation strategy for North America. More than 375 of the brand’s earliest generation hotels throughout the U.S. and Canada are expected to be modernized with exterior renovations by 2024, including more than 60 that have been already completed. Courtyard is expanding renovations to include exterior façade and landscaping updates. The new façade will include a redesigned porte-cochere, reframed and repainted exterior surfaces, ambient lighting, new signage and fresh landscaping. In addition to the renovations, Courtyard has introduced its newest generational prototype featuring a sleek exterior and sophisticated, yet comfortable interior designed that will also be adopted by earlier generation hotels. Interior work includes a modernized lobby, new fitness center, versatile meeting spaces, and enhanced food and beverage offerings. Guest room enhancements include digital key technology and new furnishings. The newest Courtyard hotels, both new and renovated include: Courtyard Jacksonville Butler Boulevard; Courtyard Atlanta Perimeter Center; Courtyard San Diego Miramar; Courtyard Raleigh/Cary Crossroads; and Courtyard Memphis East/Galleria.
Skift Note: The longtime brand for road warriors finally gets a makeover — and it’ll come swiftly to a big chunk of Marriott’s North American Courtyard portfolio.
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