HotelNewsNow.com each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers the Americas.
Americas performance keeps on trucking
Year-end numbers for the Americas region are out, and the region’s hoteliers recorded positive results in occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per available room in 2011, according to STR and STR Global, parent and sister companies of HotelNewsNow.com, respectively.
For the year, the Americas region reported a 4.2% increase in occupancy to 60.2%, a 3.8% gain in ADR to US$104.26 and an 8.2% jump in RevPAR to US$62.79.
In the U.S., the hotel industry experienced increases in all three key performance metrics during the week of 29 January-4 February, according to data from STR. In year-over-year comparisons for the week, occupancy was up 5.5% to 51.7%, ADR increased 3.1% to US$100.45 and RevPAR was up 8.7% to US$51.98.
HIP: US hotel activity declined in January
The probability of the hotel industry entering into a recession was 21.2% in January, up from 17.4% reported in December, according to e-forecasting.com’s Hotel Industry Pulse index.
When this recession-warning gauge passes the threshold probability of 50%, the U.S. hotel industry enters a recession.
HIP’s six-month growth rate, which historically has confirmed the turning points in U.S. hotel business activity, had a positive rate of 1.5% in January, following a positive rate of 2.3% in December. This compares to a long-term annual growth rate of 3%, the same as the 30-year average annual growth rate of the industry's gross domestic product.
Indianapolis sees super revenue gain
Indianapolis hoteliers emerged victorious from the Super Bowl weekend.
According to weekly performance data from STR, parent company of HotelNewsNow.com, room revenue for Friday and Saturday of Super Bowl weekend was US$17.8 million, an increase of 907.2% over the same dates last year. The gain was the highest revenue growth as a result from the Super Bowl in the last few years, although the absolute total was less than the revenues seen in previous host cities Dallas and Miami.
Indianapolis saw record highs for occupancy, selling 95.5% of the market’s total room supply. These heads in beds resulted in 130.5% growth in the metric. Average daily rate reported an impressive 338.1% increase over the same period last year to US$294.55.
Hotel buyers narrowing focus in 2012
Buyers are gearing up for a potential uptick in transactions during 2012, but also they are narrowing their focus in order to generate the best returns, transactions experts said during the Hospitality Law Conference.
Included in this group are public companies, which are now in a better position to issue equity to support hotel deals, the panelists said during a discussion of capital. An across-the-board drop in stock prices, particularly among real-estate investment trusts, hindered deal-making during the second half of 2011.
“We will see more companies issuing equity surrounding deals,” Jonathan Falik, a managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald, said of the REITs.
Crowne Plaza Suites opens in Colombia
The 30-story, 271-suite Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama Bogota in Colombia opened adjacent to the 573-room Crowne Plaza Tequendama Bogota. Both properties are owned by Sociedad Hotelera Tequendama.
Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama Bogota is located at the International Center Tequendama, a mixed-use building featuring meetings facilities, offices and apartments. The hotel, which was a conversion from an independent property, underwent an extensive renovation and features two suite options (deluxe and executive club), ranging from 580 square feet to 1,000 square feet.
“The new Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama complements the existing Crowne Plaza Tequendama by providing more rooms and meeting space to an area of Bogota that is in high demand from travelers and meeting planners,” said Ricardo Lopez, VP of sales and marketing for InterContinental Hotels Group in the Latin America and Caribbean, in a release.
Hotel demand peaks in North Dakota
The western part of North Dakota is experiencing an economic boom opposite of what is happening in many other areas of the U.S., and consequently there is drastically more demand for housing of all types, including hotel rooms.
Because of the discovery of a massive oil shale formation in western North Dakota in recent years, that area of the state is growing rapidly. The population of Williston, near the borders of Montana and Canada, nearly doubled from approximately 12,500 in the 2000 U.S. Census to an estimated 20,000 in 2011, according to Tom Rolfstad, executive director of the Williston Economic Development Commission. That doesn’t factor in the additional number of transient workers who stay in the area for a few months or more. The state currently sports the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.3%, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What the DOJ says about portable pool lifts
As everyone scrambles to meet the 15 March 2012 deadline for complying with the new Americans with Disabilities Act standards, the mandatory pool-lift requirement is getting a lot of attention, writes hotel attorney Martin H. Orlick with California-based Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell.
“Without a doubt, the most frequently asked question by our hospitality clients these days is: ‘What do we need to do to comply with the March 15, 2012, mandatory ADA pool-lift requirements?’” Orlick writes on JMBM’s Hotel Law Blog. “The second most-frequently asked question is: ‘Our pool-lift vendor assures us that its portable pool lift meets all ADA requirements and is "certified" as ADA compliant? Can we rely on that representation?’"
The 2010 ADA Standards for pool access have significantly changed the requirements for municipal and private pools by requiring, for the first time, that they be equipped with independently useable pool lifts during all operating hours, Orlick writes. Since the Department of Justice announced its intention to require lifts in nearly all pools, the hotel industry and others have opposed or sought clarification of this provision.
Trump scores DC’s Old Post Office Building
After rumors surrounding multiple brands, the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C., will undergo an extensive historic renovation and become part of the Trump Hotel Collection. The Trump organization announced earlier this month it was selected by the U.S. General Services Administration as the developer of the much sought-after Washington landmark.
David Orowitz, VP of acquisitions and development for the Trump Organization, told HotelNewsNow.com the company’s executives are excited about finally having closed a deal in the difficult-to-enter D.C. market.
“The Old Post Office is in a prime location. It’s two blocks from everything that makes D.C. great,” he said. The tourist spots, including the White House, as well as a business district nearby are just a few of the drivers of demand for the new hotel.
Under the proposal, the Trump Hotel Collection will be the investor, developer, brand and operator for the 250-plus room property. Colony Capital partnered with Trump on the proposal and will be the co-investor.
Bluebay Hotels & Resorts names new deputy director
Miguel Ángel Cano has been named deputy director general of BlueBay Hotels & Resorts, a collection of 20 4- and 5-star hotels and resorts in 13 destinations across Europe and the Caribbean, according to a news release. Grupo BlueBay is expanding internationally, with the imminent opening of new facilities in Europe, Spain, the Caribbean, Egypt and the Middle East.
Accor opens its 150th hotel in Brazil
The Novotel Porto Alegre Aeroporto has opened as the first franchised Novotel in Brazil. Atrio Hotéis and Prisma Engenharia each invested BRL 30 million (US$17.46 million) to develop the 166-room hotel.
The opening of the Novotel Porto Alegre Aeroporto is a landmark for Accor, which opened its first hotel in Brazil 34 years ago with the Novotel São Paulo Morumbi. Accor has 150 hotels in Brazil under the Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, ibis and ibis budget brands. The group opened nine hotels in 2011.
With 80 projects under development and three major contracts for the development of 25 ibis budget in Brazil, Accor is targeting a network of 250 hotels in Brazil by 2015.
Motel 6 opens 55 hotels in 2011
Accor North America announced the opening of 55 hotels in 2011, all under franchise contracts, according to a news release. The latest openings include 49 Motel 6 and six Studio 6 properties with a room count of more than 4,100.
Motel 6 plans to add at least 50 locations in 2012, including further expansion in Canada and into major urban and metropolitan areas. Studio 6 plans to add approximately 10 locations in 2012.
Key openings, transactions
• The 480-room Novotel Times Square was sold for US$91 million or US$189,583 per key to a joint venture between Chartres Lodging Group and Apollo Global Management from Accor.
• The 101-room TownePlace Suites in Nashville, Tennessee, was sold for US$9.8 million or US$97,030 to Apple REIT 10 from Sunbelt-TNT.
• The 100-room SpringHill Suites Dallas Richardson opened in January in Richardson, Texas.
• The 132-room Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh-Cary opened in December in Cary, North Carolina.