A joint venture of August Group Ventures LLC and Winston Harton Holdings LLC is acquiring for an undisclosed sum Lane Hotels and individual hotels owned by Lane Hospitality.
The purchase is part of an ongoing joint venture with an undisclosed institutional equity source that is looking at investment in the hospitality industry.
“With the infusion of capital we are contributing through AWH Partners, the recapitalization of Lane Hotels will bring a renewed focus on portfolio growth while continuing to deliver a high caliber of service to Lane’s existing clients,” Chad Cooley, president of August Group Ventures, said in a news release.
Lane, an affiliate of Lane Industries, is a third-party operator of such brands as Hilton Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott International. According to Lane Hospitality’s website, the company has 17 hotels in its portfolio.
Host Hotels & Resorts, and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation are out today with first-quarter numbers.
Host: Comparable hotel revenue per available room increased by 6.1% during the quarter. The company attributed the increase to growth in average daily rate of 2.9%, along with a 2.1% rise in occupancy.
Wyndham: Wyndham Hotel Group’s revenues increased 24% during the first quarter to $185 million, reflecting a RevPAR jump of 9%. As of 31 March, Wyndham’s system consisted of 7,150 properties comprising approximately 609,300 rooms. The company’s development pipeline included 840 hotels as of 31 March comprising 108,200 rooms, of which 56% were new construction and 55% were outside the United States.
The British Hospitality Association reports that lowering the value added tax to 5% from 20% will result in the creation of 78,000 jobs.
“Reducing the VAT rate will also improve the U.K.’s international competitiveness,” Ufi Ibrahim, BHA’s chief executive, said in a news release. “This country is only one of four out of the 27 EU member states, which does not impose a lower rate of VAT on hospitality services. This makes the U.K. uncompetitive with the rest of Europe. We are effectively fighting the competition with one hand tied behind our back.”
A survey of BHA’s members found overwhelming support for lowering the VAT rate. Almost 98% said the current VAT rate hinders the competitiveness of the U.K. hotel industry and 74% believe a reduction to 5% will increase domestic visitors. Further, 55% said a reduction would also increase the number of international travelers to the U.K.
HotelNewsNow.com today is providing updates on a pair of global regions: Africa and Tokyo.
Africa: At the end of March, 47 properties comprising more than 10,000 rooms were under construction in Africa, according to STR Global, sister company of HotelNewsNow.com. The continent has an existing supply consisting of nearly 2,500 properties representing more than 375,000 rooms.
Hilton Worldwide, for one, has a dozen hotels in nine African nations under its umbrella. Hilton has six hotels in its African development pipeline, Jan Van der Putten, VP operations, Africa and Indian Ocean, said in a statement. During the next two years, the company expects to open more than 1,300 rooms.
“We see tangible opportunities in new markets such as Chad and Sierra Leone as well as Angola, Zambia and Mozambique,” Van der Putten said. “Nigeria, where Hilton has enjoyed a presence for 25 years, continues to prove attractive, and we have plans to open a further two properties in the country within the next two years. Ultimately, Hilton Worldwide’s long-term ambition is to have a hotel in every key city in Africa.”
Tokyo: More than a year after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated much of Japan, the Tokyo hotel market is finally starting to see positive trends again, although hoteliers say the city still has a long way to go before it reaches previous peaks.
While the damage to Tokyo’s hotels was only cosmetic after the March 2011 disaster, performance plunged by more than 30% in occupancy and RevPAR, according to STR Global.
Occupancy gradually has increased each month since then, and by September of 2011, the city hit positive performance results, according to Jonas Ogren, area director of Asia for STR Global.
Hotels are adding to their payrolls as the industry rebounds, according to a report in Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
“With more people on the road, we’ll need more people working in hotels,” said Jan Freitag, a senior VP at STR, parent company of HotelNewsNow.com. He cited a 4.1% increase in first-quarter hotel bookings from a year ago as a “very positive sign” that U.S. tourism is rebounding.
A rise in leisure and business travel is “creating employment opportunities all across the country in the travel industry that is helping in the job recovery and benefiting the economy,” said David Huether, senior VP of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association in Washington, D.C.
Compiled by Shawn A. Turner.