5 things to know: 30 October 2014
 
5 things to know: 30 October 2014
30 OCTOBER 2014 8:42 AM
Jack DeBoer launches hotel-apartment brand
Accor to invest €225m to boost digital platform
US, Canada hotels record positive weekly performance
MGM, FelCor, Host report strong Q3 growth
Small chains focus on details for success
By  
 Jack DeBoer, the founder of the Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites, Candlewood Suites and Value Place hotel chains, has launched a new product: WaterWalk, a franchise-driven hotel-apartment hybrid brand.
 
According to a news release, WaterWalk combines apartments and hotel services into a two-building complex. Guests can choose from two packages. One offers fully-furnished, hotel-like accommodations and amenities at nightly rates the company said are about 35% less than a comparable one-bedroom upscale extended-stay hotel. The other option provides residents unfurnished apartments with leases as short as six months. 
 
The first WaterWalk opened last month in Wichita, Kansas.
 
 
 Accor plans to spend €225 million ($284 million) by 2018 to bolster its digital presence. As part of the plan, the hotel group purchased Wipolo, a travel software start-up based in France that offers mobile and Web itinerary management services.
 
According to a company news release, the strategy is to rethink and incorporate digital technology through a customer’s interaction with the company, improve services to investor partners and boost the group’s distribution market share. 
 
Among other initiatives, the company plans to roll out a single mobile application that encompasses all of Accor’s services before, during and after hotel stays; make optimum use of databases to provide personalized follow-up to guests and centralize customer feedback; and develop new booking solutions for business and meeting customers.
 
 
 Hotels in the United States and Canada showed positive performance for the week ending 25 October, according to data from STR, parent company of HNN.  
 
U.S.: In year-over-year measurements, the industry’s occupancy rose 5.4% to 69.4%. Average daily rate increased 5.1% to finish the week at $119.52. Revenue per available room for the week was up 10.8% to finish at $82.89. 
 
Canada: In year-over-year comparisons, occupancy increased 2.9% to 72.9%; ADR was up 2.6% to 137.48 Canadian dollars ($122.90); and RevPAR increased 5.6% to CA$100.26 ($89.63). 
 
 
 FelCor Lodging Trust, MGM Resorts International and Host Hotels & Resorts each reported positive performance results during the third quarter.
 
FelCor: Same-store RevPAR increased 12.3% during the quarter on an 8% increase in ADR and 4% rise in occupancy to 78.9%. 
 
MGM: The company reported net quarterly revenues of $2.5 billion, up 1% over the same period in 2013. Revenues at MGM’s Las Vegas Strip hotels increased 5% with a 6% rise in RevPAR. 
 
Host: Comparable RevPAR on a constant-dollar basis improved nearly 8% driven by ADR growth of 6.4% and an increase in occupancy of 1.1 percentage points to 79.9%.  
 
 
 With branded properties from large, global chains starting slowly to see increased traction and leveraging scale across the European landscape, smaller chains and operating groups must up the ante and pay particular attention to the details, reports HNN’s Terence Baker
 
This was the central message—in a panel titled “Owner-operators: It’s all about you!” at this month’s Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester. The clarion call is heeded by those operating in a leaner, post-crisis world.
 
“One thing we saw a clear need for was our own customer database system, and we put particular emphasis on making sure the information on it is correct. Actually, getting into that kind of detailed mindset, and the general sharing of best practices across the portfolio, is far easier if you are small,” said Richard Grime, managing director of Paragon Hotels Limited.

 
Compiled by Ed Watkins.
 

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