The number of U.S. travelers expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend is up from last year, thanks in large part to signs of stability in the once volatile economy, according to an article by HotelNewsNow.com’s Patrick Mayock.
Almost one-third (31 percent) of respondents to a Deloitte survey plan to take a leisure trip during the upcoming holiday weekend, up from 24 percent who said they traveled a year ago during the same period.
AAA forecast similar results, projecting a total of 32.1 million U.S. consumers taking a trip away from home, up 5.4 percent from the 30.5 million Americans who traveled during the same period in 2009.
• Read “Memorial Day travelers hit the road”
U.S. hotels should see 1.7-percent growth in revenue per available room in 2010, according to PKF Hospitality Research’s latest Hotel Horizons. The projection of growth in RevPAR for 2010 marks a positive change in the outlook for the U.S. hotel industry since PKF-HR’s last forecast, which was published in March 2010.
The news isn’t all great, however. Bottom-line profits will contract another 1.4 percent for the year.
“We believe the first-quarter surge in occupied rooms foretells the start of a strong comeback in the demand for lodging accommodations,” said Mark Woodworth, president of the Atlanta-based research firm. “As early as September of 2008, we anticipated the inflection point for hotel demand to occur in the first quarter of 2010, but quite frankly, the magnitude of the turnaround was a very pleasant surprise. Such a large increase in lodging demand suggests a return of pent-up travel that did not occur in 2009 because of budget constraints, plus the real hotel demand growth attributable to improvements in the long-term economic outlook.”
• Read “PKF-HR forecast update: RevPAR growth in 2010.”
DiamondRock Hospitality Company said it is acquiring the biggest hotel in Minnesota and also is selling 20 million shares to help finance the purchase, according to an article by Shawn A. Turner on HotelNewsNow.com.
The company is paying approximately US$155.5 million for the 821-room Hilton Minneapolis as part of a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the leasehold interest in the property. Included in the price, the REIT said it is paying US$3.5 million to fund the unidentified seller’s cost to annul its existing mortgage debt.
Separately, DiamondRock announced it will sell 20 million shares of common stock in an underwritten public offering. Underwriters will be granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3 million shares to cover overallotments. Wells Fargo and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are joint book-running managers for the offering.
• Read “DiamondRock to buy Minnesota’s biggest hotel”
Finally, some relief for the flood-hit Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. Effective 19 May, the hotel’s lenders waived any default on Gaylord Entertainment Company’s credit agreement due to the property’s closing, according to a regulatory filing.
• Read “Gaylord to update flood renovation progress.”
The waiver will expire 31 December unless the company substantially restores and reopens its flood-hit hotel, the company said. The waiver also will expire if all related costs do not come from insurance proceeds, available cash, or availability under the company's revolving line of credit.
Carlson Hotels signed agreements to open 75 Radisson, Country Inns & Suites by Carlson, Park Inn and Park Plaza hotels in the Asia/Pacific region by 2013.
Carlson Hotels also announced today the signing of four new hotel management agreements in China. They include the Radisson Hotel Chongqing Shapingba in Chongqing in southwest China, Radisson Hotel Wuxi Hi-Tech Zone in southeast Jiangsu province and Radisson Plaza Resort Huizhou in southeast Guangdong province—all are scheduled to open in the first half of 2012—as well as the Park Plaza Chengdu South in Sichuan province, which will open at the end of this year.
“Accelerated development in Asia Pacific is a key priority of our Ambition 2015 growth strategy,” said Hubert Joly, the company’s president and CEO. “This market is a key focus area in our plans to increase Carlson Hotels’ portfolio by at least 50 percent to more than 1,500 hotels in operation by 2015.”
• Read “Carlson to open 75 hotels in Asia/Pacific by 2013.”
Compiled by Patrick Mayock.