Skift Take

Accor had a record year in 2021 for signings in North and Central America, and its ambitious plans in the region are worth watching. Plus, a hot debate on integrated resorts, and other news.

Series: Daily Lodging Report

Daily Lodging Report

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Here are some excerpts from Daily Lodging Report from the past week. If you’re not a subscriber, you should be. Get news on hotel deals, development, stocks, and career moves. Sign up here, now.

Sunday, June 5

After a record-breaking year for signings in North and Central America in 2021, Accor is steadfastly continuing to grow its diverse global portfolio, and emphasizing its ambitious commitment to development in North and Central America with a strong pipeline of 25 hotels that together have 4,073 rooms. Today, lifestyle, ultra-luxury, luxury, and premium brands; collections, including the recently launched Emblems Collection, and the group’s all-inclusive platform are driving Accor’s future growth. The Group recently announced the upcoming reveal of the first Sofitel Legend, in North and Central America, with the debut of Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo Panama in fall 2022. Novotel Mexico City WTC is due to open this year as well. Looking further ahead into 2023, Raffles’ first mixed-use property in North America will make its entrance with Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences. Through Accor’s joint venture with Ennismore, the Group has signed several major projects expanding the regional presence of global brands, SLS, Mondrian, and Morgans Originals. Most recently, Ennismore announced the inaugural Mondrian property in Mexico City, Mondrian Mexico City Condesa, opening this fall. Additional announcements include Artista San Antonio, a Morgans Original opening in 2023; SLS Scottsdale opening in 2024; and Legacy Miami World Center, A Morgans Original opening in 2025. In 2023, Ennismore’s 21c Museum Hotels will debut a boutique hotel, art museum, and restaurant in downtown St. Louis MO.

1 Hotels announced the opening of 1 Hotel San Francisco, the brand’s second California property. Developed in partnership with Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, the hotel features 186 guest rooms and 14 suites; indoor-outdoor café & lounge, opening to the public later this summer; rooftop chef’s garden and beehives; Bamford wellness spa; The Field House fitness center; and 5,074 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event spaces. SH Hotels & Resorts is the management company that operates 1 Hotels.

Skift Note: Accor has long promised to push deeper into North America, and its share grab may shake up that market.

Monday, June 6

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, arrivals in Europe and the Americas were still 43 percent and 46 percent below 2019 levels, respectively. In the Middle East and Africa, arrivals remained 59 percent and 61 percent below 2019 levels, respectively. Asia and the Pacific recorded a 64 percent increase over 2021, but again, levels were 93 percent below 2019 numbers as several destinations remained closed to non-essential travel. By sub-region, the Caribbean and Southern Mediterranean Europe continue to show the fastest rates of recovery. In both, arrivals recovered to nearly 75 percent of 2019, with some destinations reaching or exceeding pre-pandemic levels. 

Hyatt Hotels announced a leadership change, naming Javier Aguila as group president EAME. This follows the planned retirement of Peter Fulton after 39 years with Hyatt. Aguila will officially assume the role in the next several months. Aguila is an internal successor, coming over to Hyatt with the Apple Leisure Group acquisition. He recently served as ALG’s group president, AMResorts Europe, and global strategy.

In Australia, Brisbane’s newest hotel is 194-room voco Brisbane City Centre, officially opening its doors. This is the first hotel opening for Vista Hospitality Group, the joint venture between Pro-invest Group and Next Story Group. Meanwhile, Nightcap Hotels, owned and operated by Endeavour Group’s ALH Hotels, launched its first Nightcap Plus property in Victoria with the opening of the 61-room upscale The Sands by Nightcap Plus in Carrum Downs. 

Skift Note: It’s good to see positive tourism recovery data, and hotel owners in booming markets are benefiting.

Tuesday, June 7

The commentary about the tone at the NYU Investment Conference was the same, positive. The media commentary was really upbeat, whereas analyst commentary was positive but measured. Every company has been saying positive things, with room rates leading the way while occupancy still remains below 2019 levels. None of the companies expressed much concern over inflation, but Truist pointed out that many companies seem to be shying away from discussing new unit pipelines, supply chain issues, and the introduction of new brands. They noted that in conferences prior, these were the things that were horn-tooted in press releases. Those things and staffing/labor issues replacing Covid were the way Truist kept the party from getting out of hand.

Thailand’s Prime Minister, Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha, ripped off his mask, unveiling a new strategy called SMILE that aims to ensure sustainable tourism development. The government wants the tourism industry to contribute 30% of Thailand’s GDP by 2030, up from 20% pre-Covid. Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is forecasting that 7-10 million foreign tourists will arrive this year after authorities lifted quarantine measures last month. SMILE stands for Sustainability in all aspects; Manpower; Inclusive economy; Localisation; and Ecosystems. Prayut said the SMILE strategy would help improve the country’s tourism industry sustainably and is a stepping stone towards Thailand’s goal of becoming a medical tourism destination, which will help boost the economy. This all took place and was presented at the Thailand Tourism Congress 2022, being held for the first time.

Swiss-Belhotel International Limited and Odyssey Asset Management Limited signed a joint venture agreement for Odyssey to identify attractive hospitality opportunities to allow Swiss-Belhotel International to expand its Asian hospitality portfolio in Japan and other Asian countries. Swiss-Belhotel has plans to double the number of hotels under management to 300 by 2025

Skift Note: For more color on the NYU Hospitality Conference, see Skift’s stories on the lack of recession fears and the sector’s grappling with labor woes.


Wednesday, June 8

KKR is looking to offload a portfolio of five hotels in the Balearic Islands that it purchased five years ago. The five properties, now operating under the Alua brand, were previously part of the Intertur Hotels chain, which was bought by KKR and Dunas Capital in 2017. Two of the hotels are in Mallorca, and three are in Ibiza. Cinco Dias reported that the starting price for the portfolio is €140 million. Alua Hotels & Resorts is part of Apple Leisure Group, which itself is now part of Hyatt.

New York’s Governor Hochul signed a bill paving the way for underutilized hotels in New York City to be converted into apartments. The bill gives the city the power to quickly approve such conversions by allowing hotels to retain their existing certificates of occupancy as opposed to having to secure new ones. It also unlocks $200 million in state funding for the city to bankroll hotel-to-housing conversions. 

The new Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai, has opened. IHCL has one other Taj property in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has already announced a project in Makkah. IHCL has aggressive plans to grow in the UAE and in the region as there is a lot of cross traffic that comes from India and the region and believes with common values, Indian hospitality fits in well there. IHCL said they are scouting for more hotels in Saudi Arabia. The fourth hotel in the UAE is in development in the Deira neighborhood.

Skift Note: Many in the industry will be watching what price KKR fetches for its hotel sale.

Thursday, June 9

Consulting firm iGamiX Management & Consulting took a swipe at how integrated casino resorts have partnered up with big name global hotel brands, saying the global brands do not give integrated resorts an advantage. We believe this report does not really explain the situation. For example, an integrated resort in Vietnam, such as the Grand Ho Tram in Vietnam rebranding as the InterContinental Grand Ho Tram. That integrated resort, or IR, has racked up millions of dollars in losses and has never turned a profit, so paying IHG for their reservation system can only help. Then iGamiX criticized Sands China and their complex on Cotai in Macau, saying they are paying a lot of money to Four Seasons and others while Melco Resorts & Entertainment pay much less to Hyatt. Clearly, each property has a different negotiation involved but pre-Covid, could you really compare the success of Sands China to Melco or the others? Each IR property is different and has different needs. The owner may feel they have the manpower and capability to run their own property, while others may want to pass the reservation, branding, and management to others. To infer that Sands China could have been just as successful with their own hotels versus having hotels over the years such as Four Seasons, St. Regis, Conrad, and IHG properties is kind of being a Monday morning quarterback. IRs all over Asia make decisions on whether to have branded hotels or not, with each having its own reasons for those decisions. According to iGamiX, it is more of a one-way street in favor of the hotel groups, and the IRs do not benefit as much as the hotel brand owners do. 

Skift Note: The value of global brands to integrated resorts is a hot debate worth having.

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