HotelNewsNow.com each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers the Americas.
Americas region continues momentum in May
The Americas region recorded positive results in the three key performance metrics when reported in U.S. dollars for May, according to data compiled by STR and STR Global, parent and sister companies of HotelNewsNow.com, respectively.
The Americas region reported a 3.4% increase in occupancy to 63.4%, a 3.1% gain in average daily rate to $107.64 and rose 6.6% in revenue per available room to $68.30.
Among the key markets in the region, Los Angeles rose 5.8% in occupancy to 75%, posting the largest increase in that metric. Two markets experienced double-digit occupancy decreases: Panama City (-11.6% to 48.1%) and Sao Paulo (-11.5%to 63.9%).
Boston reported the largest ADR increase, rising 8.9% to $171.87, followed by San Francisco, with a 5.8% increase to $166.34. Canadian cities Montreal (-9.6% to $131.30) and Vancouver (-9.3% to $148.64) ended the month with the largest ADR decreases.
Boston increased 11.6% in RevPAR to $135.54, reporting the largest increase in that metric, followed by LA with a 10.8% increase to $94.53. Four markets posted double-digit RevPAR decreases in May: Panama City (-19.4% to $59.33); Sao Paulo (-16.7% to $90.88); Montreal (-15.8% to $90.09); and Vancouver (-11.5% to $114.15).
Wildfire sparks closures, anxiety at hotels
A Colorado wildfire of epic proportions swept through parts of the state in late June, disrupting hotel operations at several properties while causing anxiety at others.
The iconic Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs remained open and fully operational after managers spent a long night monitoring shifting wind patterns in the area.
“We are open for business. The base of the fire on the south end has been secured and is moving rapidly away from us,” said Allison Scott, director of communications, on 27 June.
The wildfire ravaged the state, which saw record-high temperatures and a lack of rain in recent weeks. The blaze displaced some 32,000 residents from their homes near Colorado Springs, according to CNN.com. Winds gusting to 65 miles per hour through mountain canyons blew the wildfire through containment lines into northwest Colorado Springs. It was unclear how many hotels were forced to close or were damaged since fire broke out.
Brand USA working with Congress after CEO Evans resigns
Brand USA is working to fulfill requests made in late June by six Republican senators who said they are concerned about the organization’s progress and spending. Anne Madison, chief communications officer for Brand USA, said the organization believes “concerns raised there will easily be put to rest once the facts are known.”
Madison also said the recent resignation of Brand USA CEO Jim Evans was unrelated to the senators’ inquiries and that the board and Evans began discussing his departure before the letter was received.
“Conversations between Jim and the board pre-date the letter,” she said. “The two events are completely separate.”
Evans’ decision to step down after one year on the job was announced in late June. It came one week after six senators sent a letter to the Corporation for Travel Promotion, which does business as Brand USA, with concerns over lavish spending, asking the public-private entity to submit documents detailing its progress and spending.
In the letter—authored by sens. Jim DeMint (South Carolina); Tom Coburn (Oklahoma); Rand Paul (Kentucky); Jeff Sessions (Alabama); Mike Lee (Utah); and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and addressed to John Edgar Bryson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce—the senators said they are requesting information to ensure that Brand USA’s administrative and financial matters are fully transparent.
Meliá adds Paradisus flag in Cancun
Meliá Hotels International will transform its Gran Meliá Cancun property in Mexico into a luxury all-inclusive Paradisus resort by 15 November.
Paradisus is Meliá’s most successful brand and, with the reflag in Cancun, the company hopes to cement the brand’s foothold in Mexico and build on the reputation of its two new flagship properties that recently opened in Playa del Carmen.
Paradisus Cancun will feature 136 Royal Service Suites, 97 Family Concierge Suites and eight restaurants.
Hyatt enters Bogota, Colombia
Hyatt Hotels Corporation entered into a management agreement with Bienes y Comercio, S.A. for a Grand Hyatt hotel in Bogota, Colombia. Owned and constructed by Organización Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, the hotel will be part of the Ciudad Empresarial mixed-use project, which sits in the area of Ciudad Salitre, close to Bogota's El Dorado International Airport.
The mixed-used project will have 18 office towers and more than 226,000 square feet of retail space that will include high-end shops, a cinema, food-and-beverage outlets, and meeting and conference space.
With an investment by Bienes y Comercio, S.A. of approximately $130 million, Grand Hyatt Bogota will offer 297 guestrooms, including 53 suites, and is being designed by Chicago-based Goettsch Partners architects. The hotel is expected to open in early 2015.
Sorenson says Gaylord integration key
Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson told HotelNewsNow.com during June’s NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference that Marriott International and Gaylord Entertainment Company are proceeding with detailed plans to integrate the Gaylord brand into Marriott’s portfolio.
The companies announced on 31 May that Marriott was acquiring the management contracts for the four Gaylord properties and the Gaylord brand name for $210 million. The deal is subject to shareholder approval. At the same time, Gaylord announced it will convert to a real-estate investment trust from its current status as a C-Corporation.
“I suspect we will do less early, so we will keep the property teams largely intact,” Sorenson said. “Over time, we’ll see that we get more and more coordination between the sales forces, but we want to make sure we retain the relationships we have with the customers, both on the Marriott side and the Gaylord side.
“But we’ll move aggressively on things like reservation systems, on a rewards program and the hook up of those sorts of things, on procurement, on a number of these other spaces where we think there are real margin opportunities and very little risk.”
Sorenson also said he is “hopeful there will be growth” beyond the four properties that fly the Gaylord flag. “Projects of this size take a long time to go from idea to opening, so we’re not announcing any next opening,” he said.
Four Points opens in Mexico City
The Four Points by Sheraton Colonia Roma in Mexico City, owned and managed by Sora Group, has opened.
The new hotel is the third in Mexico for the Four Points brand, which now includes more than 160 hotels around the world. Twenty-three Four Points hotels are slated to open in 2012, giving it the second largest pipeline among all Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide brands.
The 90-room Four Points by Sheraton Colonia Roma features a 24-hour fitness center, an international restaurant and a bar and lounge. Seven meeting rooms provide more than 9,300 square feet of flexible meeting space.
Wyndham adds hotel in Niagara Falls
Wyndham Hotel Group has added the 152-room Wyndham Garden Fallsview Niagara Falls in Ontario to the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand’s portfolio.
The full-service property, owned by Canop Investments Inc. and located in the Fallsview district of Niagara Falls, recently completed a multimillion-dollar overhaul, which included the addition of a newly constructed tower, floors and guestrooms.
Las Vegas hoteliers look to change their luck
The recent recession has left Las Vegas hotels struggling to attract guests, but hoteliers in the city believe their luck is about to change.
Some of the casino hotels on the Strip already have begun investing in renovations and making changes to their featured entertainment, which operators hope will entice visitors to return.
Las Vegas has lost its status somewhat as the gaming capital of the United States because local casinos are now available throughout the country, said Shannon Okada, VP of HVS’ consulting and valuation division in Las Vegas. The market is going to have to keep renovating itself to compete with the neighborhood casinos.
Included in the list that have recently undergone renovations or are in the process of doing so:
- The MGM Grand began a $160-million room renovation in February, which includes the property’s 3,570 rooms and 642 suites in the main tower.
- Las Vegas Sands will renovate approximately a thousand rooms in The Venetian, according to the group’s President and COO Mike Leven.
- The Riviera Hotel & Casino will undergo a $20 million to $30 million refurbishment to all of the public areas within the casino.
- The Super 8 Las Vegas Strip Area Hotel completed a $1.5-million renovation in February, which included a remodeled pool and hot tub area, improvements to the lobby and fresh carpeting and lighting.
- The 2,568 rooms in The Bellagio’s main tower underwent a $70-million renovation, which was completed in January.
- The Golden Gate Casino & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas is undergoing a $12-million expansion.
Adaptive-reuse Westin slated for San Jose
Starwood Hotels will introduce its Westin brand to San Jose, California. Owned by SCH Partners, The Westin San Jose is slated to open in July 2013 directly across the street from the newly expanded San Jose McEnery Convention Center.
Built in 1926 and now a National Historic Landmark, the hotel was formerly known as the Sainte Claire. The hotel will undergo a comprehensive renovation before flying the Westin flag and will feature the brand’s historic hotel design scheme.
Hyatt breaks ground in Nebraska
Hyatt Hotels Corporation recently broke ground on the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Nebraska—the Hyatt Place Omaha Downtown/Old Market. The investment of Hyatt affiliates in the purchase of the land and the construction of the hotel, which Hyatt affiliates will own and manage, will total approximately $27 million.
Hyatt Place Omaha Downtown/Old Market, slated to open in 2014, will have 159 rooms in a stand-alone, 10-story building with self-contained parking. The hotel, designed by the Chicago office of the DLR Group, will be situated amidst Omaha’s arts and entertainment center that features fine dining, shopping, corporate meeting facilities and upscale nightlife. Woodbine Development is overseeing the development of the project on behalf of Hyatt affiliates, with Hawkins Construction as General Contractor.
Key deals and development
- The Trump Organization paid $150 million for the Doral Resort & Spa in Doral, Florida, and will spend another $150 million upgrading the property.
- The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in New Mexico was acquired for $28 million by JMI Realty.
- An affiliate of Lion Financial acquired the 24-room Villa Caprice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for $5.2 million.
- The 136-room Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Cranberry opened in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, in May.
- The 215-room Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California, opened in June.
- A 43-room AmericInn property opened in Osage, Iowa, opened in June.