European deal volume had been stymied by a lack of lending, but as liquidity has returned, so have the hotel trades, said Mark Wynne Smith, who leads the EMEA division of Jones Lang LaSalle. Year-to-date through May, the region has noted a 130% increase in transactions, he said in a story today by HotelNewsNow.com’s Shawn A. Turner.
“For a good 12 months, we were behind the (transactions) conditions of the U.S.,” Wynne Smith said. “But we appear to be catching up.”
A greater willingness to provide leverage for deals has been key to the return of deal-making, he said.
• Read “After delay, European trades pick up.”
7 Days Group Holdings Limited, an economy hotel chain based in China, entered into a definitive agreement with Huatian Hotel Group Co. Ltd., a large hotel group incorporated in China whose shares are listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, to acquire 100% ownership of Hunan Huatian Star Hotel Management Limited.
7 Days agreed to acquire 100% ownership of Huatian Star for a total of RMB136 million (about US$21 million) in cash. Huatian Star has economy hotel operations in 12 cities in China including Changsha, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou, with 21 leased-and-operated hotels in prime locations and a total of 2,682 rooms, all of which are to be acquired and rebranded by 7 Days upon completion of the transaction.
• Read “7 Days to acquire Huatian Star.”
The euro area seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 9.9% in May 2011, unchanged compared with April, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It was 10.2% in May 2010. The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.3% in May 2011, unchanged compared with April. It was 9.7% in May 2010.
Compared with May 2010, unemployment decreased by 904,000 in the EU27 and by 551,000 in the euro area.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Netherlands (4.2%), Austria (4.3%) and Luxembourg (4.5%), and the highest in Spain (20.9%), Lithuania (16.3% in the first quarter of 2011) and Latvia (16.2% in the first quarter of 2011).
TripAdvisor announced the results of its U.K. accommodation owners survey, revealing mobile marketing as a priority for the British hospitality trade. Almost 800 hoteliers and B&B owners shared their current and upcoming marketing strategies in the survey.
Two-thirds of respondents say it is important to offer travelers a method of booking their inventory via mobile devices, showing the industry is keeping pace with the rapidly developing mobile market. The numbers, however, vary between property types—hoteliers prioritize mobile the most with 75% saying it's important, while 62% of B&B owners feel the same.
The survey revealed other hospitality marketing trends. Three-quarters (74%) of survey respondents have a marketing budget. Of those, the vast majority say marketing budgets are increasing on last year's or staying the same:
• 30% say their 2011 marketing budget is bigger than 2010's;
• 54% say their 2011 marketing budget is the same as 2010's; and
• 16% have decreased their marketing budget in 2011.
When asked about budget allocations, U.K. owners revealed online marketing takes precedence: nearly one-third (32%) of respondents cited this as their single greatest marketing expense.
The value-added tax rate in Ireland on some hospitality services was reduced as of today from 13.5% to 9% in hotels, restaurants, guesthouses, cinemas, hairdressers and some sports facilities.
The tourism and hospitality trades have been urged to pass on new VAT rate cuts to customers, according to a story in the Belfast Telegraph.
Leo Varadkar, Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister, said the initiative to get visitors and Irish consumers spending will only work if all businesses pass on the benefits.
Compiled by Stacey Higgins.