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5 things to know: 21 February 2012
February 21 2012

• Travelodge working through debt restructuring
• New Orleans reports largest ADR, RevPAR increases in January
• STR: US had most hotels in January development pipeline
• Choice reports RevPAR boost, slow portfolio growth
• Greece bailout agreement reached Tuesday

It is “business as usual” as Travelodge works through a debt restructuring that could see a potential change in owners, CEO Guy Parsons said in a statement. 
“You may have read in the press that Travelodge is currently undergoing a debt restructure; this is a standard process that many big companies undertake. There is nothing to worry about; it’s business as usual for us,” he said Sunday via a statement posted on the company’s website. 
Reuters on Sunday reported Travelodge had secured £60 million (US$94.89 million) in funding as the budget chain owned by Dubai International Capital worked to restructure its debt.

The medium-term loan facility, which replaces an existing line, was underwritten by New York-based GoldenTree Asset Management and Avenue Capital Group, according to Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter.

“Our 499 hotels are trading well, and we are on track to open the 41 hotels we announced at the start of this year," Parsons said. "We opened our sixth hotel in Liverpool just a couple of days ago, and we will be celebrating the opening of our 500th hotel next month.”

Fitting that on Fat Tuesday data from STR shows that New Orleans was already on a strong performance pace. Hotels in the Big Easy achieved the largest average-daily-rate and revenue-per-available-room increases in the U.S. in January. The market’s ADR was up 24.1% to US$145.16, its RevPAR jumped 32.1% to US$87.57 and its occupancy was up 6.5% to 60.3%.

Overall, in January, the U.S. hotel industry’s occupancy rose 4.1% to 49.4%, its ADR was up 3.9% to US$100.74 and its RevPAR increased 8.1% to US$49.78.

For more monthly metrics from the U.S. top markets, see

Hotel construction pipelines from January were released by STR and STR Global this week for regions across the world. Of the seven global regions tracked, the U.S. had the most hotels in the pipeline, which includes hotels in the “planning,” “final planning” and “in construction” stages.

The total active U.S. hotel development pipeline comprises 2,736 projects totaling 293,143 rooms, according to the January 2012 STR/McGraw Hill Construction Dodge Pipeline Report. This represents a 1.6% decrease in the number of rooms in the total active pipeline compared to January 2011.

The Asia/Pacific region fell just short with 1,479 hotels and 359,753 rooms in its development pipeline. Europe reported 866 and 139,700 rooms, followed by Middle East/Africa (495 hotels, 131,981 rooms); Central/South America (202 hotels, 30,002 rooms); Canada (178 hotels, 19,688 rooms); and Caribbean/Mexico (128 hotels, 17,771 rooms).

Domestic systemwide RevPAR for Choice Hotels International increased 7.8% in fourth quarter 2011 as compared to 2010, the company reported Monday in its earnings statement. The RevPAR increases come as a result of occupancy rates increasing 260 basis points and a 2.7% increase in average daily rates, the company reported.

However, growth remains tough for Choice, as the company executed 332 U.S. franchise contracts in 2011 compared to 357 in 2010. Choice has 490 hotels worldwide either under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development.

Franchising revenues increased 9% from US$262.8 million for 2010 to US$285.4 million for the same period of 2011. Total revenues increased 7% to US$638.8 million for the year ended 31 December 2011 compared to the same period of 2010.

“We are pleased with the continued strong gains we achieved in domestic RevPAR during the fourth quarter and the growth of our global franchise system,” said Stephen P. Joyce, president and CEO, in a news release. “While the near-term franchise sales environment remains challenging, we believe that our well known diversified brands will continue to resonate with developers and hotel owners due to our focus on owners' property-level profitability and return on investment.”

A €130-billion (US$172 billion) bailout agreement was reached early Tuesday for Greece, averting an imminent chaotic default.

The complex deal buys time to stabilize the 17-nation currency bloc and strengthen its financial firewalls, but it leaves deep doubts about Greece's ability to recover and avoid default in the longer term, according to Reuters.

After 13 hours of talks, ministers came to an agreement that will cut Athens’ debt to 120.5% percent of gross domestic product by 2020. Greece will be placed under permanent surveillance by an increased European presence on the ground.

Compiled by Jason Q. Freed.

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