New updates to the April 2011 STR and STR Global Construction Pipeline Reports show growth in the Caribbean/Mexico and Central/South America regions.
The Caribbean/Mexico hotel development pipeline comprises 134 hotels totaling 20,296 rooms. Year-to-date in 2011, six projects have opened in the region with 404 rooms. In the remainder of 2011, 37 projects with 5,667 rooms are expected to open.
The Central/South America hotel development pipeline comprises 156 hotels totaling 24,656 rooms, according to the April STR Global Construction Pipeline Report. Among the key markets in the region, Panama City reported the largest number of rooms in the In Construction phase with 2,624 rooms.
Just in time for what appears to be an economic recovery, DoubleTree by Hilton is emerging with a new look and feel, writes HotelNewsNow.com Editorial Director Jeff Higley.
Rob Palleschi, global head of DoubleTree by Hilton, said owners have pumped more than US$3 billion into the brand’s properties during the past three years. New Serta Sweet Dreams beds, new Crabtree & Evelyn shower products, new Speakman showerheads, and new high-definition TVs are high touch points that will allow guests to see how serious DoubleTree is in becoming a global beacon for travelers.
“DoubleTree as a brand was good—we were 80% of the way there,” Palleschi said. “The 20% that we needed to look at and refine is what we have focused on to push the brand forward.”
DoubleTree is on track to have 285 hotels in 22 countries by the end of this year, according to Palleschi. It has opened 12 properties during the first four months of 2011.
A new, low-fee brand has hit the market with up to 20 hotels already in the pipeline and a familiar leader at the helm. Steve Belmonte, seeing a need for a low-cost, common-sense franchise fee structure, has launched Centerstone Hotels, a new, three-tiered brand.
The brand will launch during the next 60 to 90 days with a total of 18- 20 former hotels from Key West Inns as its backbone. Key West Inns founders, Neal and Cory Jackson, will share an ownership stake with Belmonte in Centerstone.
Key West Inns, which has 23 hotels in its portfolio pre-Centerstone conversion, will remain in business as a separate company and brand from Centerstone, said Neal Jackson, who will serve as the new entity’s president and COO.
DiamondRock Hospitality Company will acquire the 712-room Radisson Lexington Hotel New York for US$335 million. The purchase price represents a 13.5 times multiple of 2012 forecasted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of US$24.8 million and a 6.7% capitalization rate on forecasted 2012 net operating income, according to a news release from DiamondRock.
DiamondRock is assessing branding for the hotel, including retaining Radisson. Highgate Hotels, will be retained under a new management agreement.
Three trends emerged from an online survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers on their vacation travel habits and attitudes conducted by TNS and commissioned by SpringHill Suites:
Mental breaks—75% of Americans reported that taking a vacation this year will be important to their mental health. Two-thirds of Americans will not check their work email while on vacation. This trend is considerably more prevalent among women than men, as 44% of men will check work email while on vacation but only 28% of women will.
Online tools—More than half of Americans use travel reservation sites and search engines to find travel deals while more than 75% allow online user reviews to at least somewhat influence their travel choices. More than half will use social media on vacation, and of those, 89% will use Facebook.
Love affair with beds—57% said they will miss their beds most when on vacation. Only 13% would miss their television/media rooms and less than 9% would miss their living rooms and couches. In addition, 20% of Americans ranked the mattress as the item vacationers would like to purchase most from their hotel rooms, surpassing the TV and pillows, both at 8% of respondents.
Compiled by Jason Q. Freed.