Preliminary October performance figures for the U.S. hotel industry and STR chain-scale segments were released today and reflect a slight slowdown.
According to STR, parent company of HotelNewsNow.com, total U.S. industry occupancy was up in the range of 2% to 4% as compared to October 2010. Revenue per available room was up 6% to 8%.
Comparatively, actual year-over-year occupancy was up 5.7% in September and RevPAR was up 10%.
“The preliminary October numbers indicate that RevPAR growth will be primarily (rate) driven,” said Bobby Bowers, senior VP of operations at STR. “We should see continued growth in the final months of 2011, but the prior-year comparables are difficult and performance gains will likely moderate to a more sustainable pace.”
Bowers said industry room supply growth will continue at less than 1% while demand growth should slow somewhat but remain healthy.
In October, the upscale and upper-midscale segments led occupancy changes while the upscale segment reported the highest range of RevPAR percent change.
Despite the potential for litigation surrounding fiduciary responsibility and questions involving conflict of interest, executives at Hospitality Properties Trust are “hopeful” a deal to acquire two Sonesta properties and the Sonesta brand will close in the first quarter of 2012, writes HotelNewsNow.com’s Jason Q. Freed.
HPT announced plans on 3 November to acquire the entities that own the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the leasehold interest in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans for approximately US$150 million. The acquisition of the two hotels is “part of a larger transaction in which an affiliate of our manager will acquire Sonesta,” John Murray, president and COO of HPT, said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.
Tim Bonang, VP of investor relations, explained to HotelNewsNow.com the total transaction price, including assumed debt, was US$174 million. The remainder of that US$174 million after the US$150 million paid for the two assets, he said, was funded by Sonesta Acquisition Corporation for the Sonesta brand.
Sonesta Acquisition Corporation is an affiliate of Reit Management & Research, which is the manager of HPT. Murray is also assistant secretary and executive VP of RMR.
Read “HPT-Sonesta deal scrutinized”
As the Indian hotel market rebounds from the economic downturn and brands announce plans for aggressive expansion in the country, experts are cautioning hoteliers to have realistic expectations, writers HotelNewsNow.com’s Stephanie Wharton.
“It takes a lot of time, and I think the only way for international players to do it is to find a very good hand on ground … You must find the right hand to hold you through this process because it can take a long time,” said Reyaz Mama, managing director of Ratan Mama Consultants, during a recent Steptoe & Johnson webinar titled “Development and Expansion of the Indian Hotel Industry.”
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Mama said developers entering the market often do not have realistic timeline expectations. It takes approximately four to seven years from the initial planning stage to develop a property in the country, he said.
Read “Developing in India can be cumbersome”
Five months after introducing new hotel brand Centerstone, hotel veteran Steve Belmonte has added a second and potentially third brand and developed what he is calling a “multi-brand franchising company,” writes HotelNewsNow.com’s Jason Q. Freed.
Belmonte has partnered with the 24-year franchisors of the Key West Inn brand and launched Vimana Franchise Systems, a company that will offer licenses for both the Centerstone and Key West brands. Belmonte said he is in negotiations to potentially acquire a third brand.
Belmonte’s two new partners, Neal and Cory Jackson, are the owners of Jackson Hospitality and the Key West Inn franchise. All three will have an equal stake in Vimana.
“Everything we do with this new company launch—with Centerstone as well as newly-relaunched Key West—stems from a combined belief that there is a better way to do business; a better way to franchise hotels,” Belmonte said. “We will never go public. We have a desire for steady growth of quality properties but more importantly to show the industry that fair franchising can exist.”
Read “Centerstone, Key West brands partner”
Initial claims for unemployment in the U.S. dropped by 10,000 for the week ending 5 November, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted claims was 390,000 for the week.
The four-week moving average sits at 400,000, down 5,250 from the previous week.
Compiled by Jason Q. Freed.