Earnings results were broadly good for Hilton, Accor, and Wyndham. Plus, more highlights from this week's news in hotel deals and development worldwide.
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Earnings season commenced this week for hotel companies. The news was broadly good from Hilton, Accor, and Wyndham.
Hilton Had a Very, Very Good Quarter
Yet despite a solid earnings report and an increase announced in their capital returns plans, Hilton didn’t get the greatest response from the investment community. Analysts and the media liked the report, though. While there has been quite a bit of doom and gloom hanging over the group, the top C-Corps have been stellar stock performers, so a bit of sell-on news is not that surprising. For Hilton, they beat on the strength of their international business and gave higher guidance but lowered their net unit growth expectations.
Hilton also said they now expect to return $2.4 to $2.6 billion to shareholders this year in buybacks and dividends, up $500 million at the midpoint. That would imply an acceleration in buying back stock in 2H23, as $1 billion was returned in the first half of the year. The company bought back 3.3 million shares for $470 million in 2Q23. (Get more context from a Skift story on Hilton’s earnings.)
Accor, meanwhile, reported on Thursday a profit surge in the first half of the year as demand swelled across regions and property types. In the first half, Accor generated about $276 million (€248 million) in net profit, a 675% jump year-over-year. The company raised its full-year guidance for earnings less than a month after it last boosted it. Accor also nnounced a new strategic partnership with JHRA (Ebisu Resort LLC) in Japan to double Accor’s current portfolio in Japan, adding 23 properties and over 6,000 rooms. (More, via Skift.)
JP Morgan said it expects relatively unimpressive 2Q23 RevPAR results and a mixed net rooms growth (and pipelines) performance with a bifurcation between chain scale exposures when results are reported. They expect the full-year 2023 outlooks to be minimal as recent trends have been less than stellar. The analysts remain cautious on the lodging sector as they feel the hotel companies face still tougher year-over-year comparisons with more consistent decelerating revenue-per-available-room growth and potentially lagging effects from tightening credit conditions. Net-net, they view the upside as less than robust relative to a few months ago. They see value in Hyatt and Wyndham as relative outperformers.
Wyndham reported on Thursday that it saw weaker profitability in the second quarter as it faced tough year-over-year comparisons. saw its net income decrease 18% in the quarter. It said this drop reflected a few factors, such as higher interest expense primarily related to the company’s refinancing of a loan. EBITDA was down 15%. Markets didn’t mind.
Wyndham also this week Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced 60 new hotels for its rapidly expanding Echo Suites Extended Stay by Wyndham brand. The addition grows the brand’s global pipeline to 265 hotels and approximately 33,000 rooms. Multiple projects have already broken ground and are in various stages of construction across Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina. The company expects to have 100 hotels open over five years. (Get context from the Skift story.)
Private Equity Bet on Hotels
Certares, the travel-focused investment firm, announced the close of its first Real Estate Hospitality Fund, with $284 million of equity commitments. Certares, a private equity firm whose portfolio companies include Hertz, Liberty TripAdvisor, and Azul, has closed its first real estate fund.
The fund has investments in 10 hotels in the U.S., including the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Cape Cod, the Courtyard San Diego Downtown, and the EAST Miami. For context, see Skift’s posting.
China’s Hotel Investors Receding From New York
The Wall Street Journal published an article on how Chinese investors are fleeing the Western world, no longer having New York City hotels as their favorite place to put their funds. The report said the change is due to hostility to Chinese capital and that Chinese companies are now spending money on factories in Southeast Asia and mining and energy projects in Asia, the Middle East, and South America instead of five-star hotels in Manhattan.
The article said nickel-rich Indonesia is the biggest recipient of Chinese investment so far this year. This is not the first time an Asian powerhouse changed its focus of investment from U.S. luxury hotels to somewhere else, as Japan did the same thing in the 1980s. Read: “Chinese Money Flees the Western World.“
Marriott Expands in Latin America
According to data from Lodging Econometrics, the pipeline of brand conversions in Latin America jumped by 22% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2022, totaling 67 projects and 9,464 rooms. Marriott’s data parallel global trends, with the first quarter of conversion activity accounting for 29% of rooms signed and 25% of rooms opened by the company globally. Marriott International has been boosting its organic growth with increased conversion activity.
The company added nearly 17,500 conversion rooms in 2022 and signed 20,500 rooms, approximately 20% of rooms signed globally last year. In the Caribbean and Latin America, more than 50% of Marriott’s room signings were conversions in 2022. As of the first quarter of the year, the region had more than 3,000 conversion rooms in the pipeline, building on the success of the company’s strategy.
Sonder Seeks a Stock Price Turnaround
The first of what will probably be a few reverse splits was detailed by Sonder Holdings in a proxy filing. SOND wants to do a 1 for 10 reverse split to get their share price high enough to regain Nasdaq compliance. We can count on one hand the number of reverse splits we have seen in the past 30 years that worked out well for shareholders and have a finger or two that is free.
Before the news, Citigroup lowered its price target on Sonder Holdings to $1.50 from $2. They maintained its Buy rating.
Sonder launched its first hotel collection, Powered by Sonder, which is a collection of uniquely designed boutique hotels run by Sonder’s technology and operated by Sonder. Currently 23 Sonder hotels across 13 markets are included, such as Atala in Paris, Chambers in New York City, and Yelo Jean Medecin in Nice.
Accor Upgrades Properties in Asia Pacific
Accor Pacific announced that its partners have invested more than $300 million in hotel renovations and refurbishments since the beginning of 2022. Extensive renovations and refurbishments have occurred in various locations throughout the Pacific region, including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and French Polynesia. The investment aims to enhance guest satisfaction, elevate property amenities and ensure Accor’s 400 hotels, apartments, and resorts in the Pacific remain at the forefront of the industry.
Among the notable projects: The Playford – MGallery, Adelaide, received a $25 million full property makeover, and in 2022, a $40 million renovation of the Pullman Melbourne on the Park was unveiled.
India’s ITC May Spin Out Hotels
The ITC Ltd. board has approved the spinoff of its hotel business. ITC will hold a 40% stake in the new entity, with public shareholders to hold the rest. The Indian tobacco and hospitality conglomerate said that the hotel business contributed less than 5% of ITC’s revenue and earnings before interest and taxes over the past decade. But it accounted for 20% of the company’s capital expenditure.
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