Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at IHG’s deal with Iberostar, Dallas’ new convention center, and Surf Air’s SPAC retreat.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, November 22. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
IHG said on Monday that it had added Iberostar Hotels & Resorts as a new brand through a 30-year licensing deal that lets IHG market the all-inclusive hotels and resorts.
As many as 70 hotels, equal to about 24,300 rooms, will become bookable through IHG’s website and app under the Iberostar Beachfront Resorts brand — which marks the 18th brand in IHG’s global hotel portfolio, writes Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.
IHG, based in the UK, and Iberostar, a family-run company based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, didn’t disclose the deal terms. Iberostar will remain the full owner of itself, but IHG will charge Iberostar fees. The total gross revenue of the existing portfolio of roughly 70 hotels was about $1.3 billion in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
The first properties will begin joining the IHG system by year-end, starting with ones in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Brazil, and the Canary Islands.
We turn next to Dallas, where voters have approved a plan to build a new $2 billion, 2.5-million-square-foot convention center. When complete, the new convention center is expected to nearly double annual attendance and associated revenue for the city. Bigger than just the convention center, the project will create a new neighborhood as well as a convention district, writes Skift Meetings Senior Editor Andrea Doyle.
“This is such a big deal for us. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center opened in 1957. It is 65 years old and looks every bit of it,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of Visit Dallas. “Customers have been telling us for years it’s not cutting it. This new convention center will make a seismic shift for us and what our future is going to be.”
But is a $2 billion convention center a good bet when large gatherings have shrunk post-pandemic? Dallas officials insist it is, particularly since its middle-of-the-country location is convenient for large conventions.
We end today with a little bit of financial rejiggering. Surf Air Mobility plans to list directly on public markets in the U.S. after ending a planned $1.4 billion special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, listing. The SPAC market was red hot during the pandemic but has cooled significantly this year.
The California-based aviation company still plans to merge with regional airline Southern Airways Express as part of an initial public officer (IPO), Southern CEO Stan Little confirmed. Surf Air Mobility did not say when it planned to list but has filed a confidential registration statement, or S-1, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, writes Edward Russell, the editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Surf Air and Southern plan to use their merger to accelerate the introduction of hybrid-electric passenger aircraft, with plans to convert 100 Cessna Caravans to hybrid-electric propulsion beginning by the 2024-25 timeframe.
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