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5 things to know: 13 January 2012
January 13 2012
Highlights

• Amanresort sale stalls because of low bids;
• Choice buys land parcels to spur Cambria development;
• brands offer new revenue management platforms;
• Western Australia tourism hotspots report low occupancy; and
• MGM to build new resort in Massachusetts.

The sale of Indian developer DLF’s luxury hotel chain, Amanresorts International, has stalled because of lower-than-expected bids by a shortlist of companies that includes China’s HNA Group, reports Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter. 

Repeated requests for comment were not returned by representatives at DLF. A representative from Amanresorts declined to comment.

The shortlisted bidders have put in bids of between US$300 million and US$315 million for Amanresorts, while DLF is expecting to sell the asset for at least US$400 million, the sources said. A DLF spokesman in New Delhi denied the deal was on hold, Reuters reported.


In an opportunistic attempt to further grow its upscale Cambria Suites brand, franchisor Choice Hotels International is acquiring select land parcels at distressed prices in key markets, with the intention to offer the land to Cambria developers at cost. Cambria has nearly a half dozen sites waiting for bulldozers, and brand executives say there’s more in the pipeline, reports HotelNewsNow.com contributor Brendan Manley.

Sources at Choice confirmed the franchisor acquired five land parcels during the past 18 months, located in the following gateway cities: Plano, Texas; El Segundo, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; and South Boston. Cambria also is expected to announce an additional two or three similar acquisitions coinciding with the Americas Lodging Investment Summit held 23-25 January in Los Angeles.

The parcels were distressed sales, many of which have drawn “very active interest” from developers, said Steve Joyce, Choice’s president and CEO.


As revenue management gets more sophisticated, many major hotel chains are developing new tools and platforms to simplify the discipline for property-level managers, reports HotelNewsNow.com’s Patrick Mayock.

Best Western International, for example, has developed “buckets” in which managers can group various rate codes to streamline the process. And Hilton Worldwide is in the process of developing a new analytics tool that will allow managers to put revenue management on autopilot, so to speak.

While some traditionally strong tourism hotspots are underperforming in Western Australia, the region’s metropolitan and mining regions are posting strong occupancy numbers, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Hotels Association (WA).

“In the July to September 2011 quarter, the Perth metropolitan and North West region recorded hotel occupancy rates of 79.2% and 77%, respectively, while in tourism regions, such as Margaret River, it is a very different story,” said AHA (WA) CEO Bradley Woods.

In the third quarter 2011, the South West had occupancy rates of 43.7%, according to the latest ABS report released Friday.

The number of international visitors from traditional U.K. and European markets decreased significantly during the quarter. Inbound travel from Asian markets, conversely, reported strong increases.


MGM Resorts International signed a contract Thursday with Rolling Hills Estates Realty Trust to purchase a remote 150 acres of land in Brimfield, Massachusetts. The company will seek to develop a resort on the land just north of the Massachusetts Turnpike, 65 miles west of Boston.

“When we decided to get actively involved in Massachusetts, we scoured the state for a location that would provide the rural setting that New Englanders want," Jim Murren, MGM’s chairman and CEO, said in a news release. “The remote nature of this property, along with its proximity to the Mass Pike, is exactly what we had in mind.”

MGM's working name for the development is Rolling Hills Resort. It would be developed on a wooded parcel adjacent to and just north of the Mass Pike. The initial plans include building a new off ramp from the Pike into the resort.


Compiled by Patrick Mayock.

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