From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:
- De Vere brand relaunches with Starwood Capital investment
- Trump calls for fast action on tax overhaul
- Despite rebound, Irish hotels remain wary
- US, Canada hotel performance for week of 3-9 September
- Heartwarming stories of hospitality emerge from Irma’s wake
De Vere brand relaunches with Starwood Capital investment: Following an investment of more than £100 million ($133.6 million) from Starwood Capital Group, London-based hotel brand De Vere relaunched today as part of Principal Hotel Group, which is owned by Starwood Capital, according to a news release.
The brand “transformation” plan consists of 22 properties, 662 event spaces, 1,200 acres of grounds and more than 4,000 rooms.
“The relaunch celebrates an exciting new chapter for De Vere, which sees historic mansion house hotels extensively renovated to celebrate their British heritage and the estates’ natural landscapes,” the release states.
The De Vere portfolio includes five properties in central London, as well as the 17th-century De Vere Wotton House in Dorking, Surrey, which has been restored to the tune of £6 million ($8 million).
Trump calls for fast action on tax overhaul: President Donald Trump called for urgency Wednesday on legislation to reform the U.S. tax code, despite revealing few details about what that reform would look like, The New York Times reports.
In meetings with Democrats, Trump is “doubling down” on tax reform, which includes efforts to tie the legislation to funding for hurricane recovery, The Times reports.
According to Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the administration plans to release “a detailed framework” of the tax reform plan during the week of 25 September, “with the goal of taking up legislation in October,” the Times reports.
Despite rebound, Irish hotels remain wary: With average daily rate surpassing its pre-recession peak, Ireland’s hotel market is healthy again, having learned from the mistakes of the past, writes Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker.
Still, investors are wary, sources said. “Few hotels have been built,” said Tom Barrett, head of hotels and leisure at Savills’ Dublin office. “Irish banks are lending into the hotel sector but at different (loan-to-value) and cash ratios. It is extremely cautious, and lower values are being seen, and this is played out in the development pipeline.”
U.S., Canada hotel performance for week of 3-9 September: Both the U.S. and Canadian hotel industries saw positive results in three key performance metrics for the week of 3-9 September, compared with the same week in 2016, according to data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.
In the U.S., revenue per available room was up 3.7% year over year to $77.31, buoyed by a 1.6% increase in average daily rate to $120.78 and 2.1% occupancy growth to 64%. Among the top 25 markets, the largest increases across all metrics were seen in Houston, Texas, where in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, occupancy grew 66.1% to 86.6% and ADR jumped 23.9% to $114.27, resulting in a RevPAR increase of 105.9% to $98.91.
- STR’s Ali Hoyt and Claudia Alvarado took a closer look at the impact Harvey had on hotels along the Gulf Coast.
Canada’s hotel industry saw an 8.1% year-over-year increase in RevPAR to 118.08 Canadian dollars ($96.87) for the week, lifted by a 5% hike in ADR to CA$166.62 ($136.73) and 3% occupancy growth to 70.9%. Manitoba led the provinces with a 37.2% increase in RevPAR to CA$90.65 ($74.4), due in part to 34.2% occupancy growth to 76.7%.
Heartwarming stories of hospitality emerge from Irma’s wake: The news has been mostly grim out of the regions hit hardest by Hurricane Irma, with ABC News reporting today that the death toll across three states (Florida, South Carolina and Georgia) has risen to at least 31.
For many, including hoteliers with properties in Florida and the Caribbean, the work of assessing damages from the storm has just begun.
But at the same time, many people forced to evacuate their homes due to the storm have found more than refuge at hotels.
The Palm Beach Post reports that the storm turned hotel guests and staffs into friends.
“This is a chance to win customers for life,” said Matt Boris, GM at the Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place, where employees and their families (even dogs, normally forbidden) stayed for free during the hurricane, and were asked “to be extra nice” to the other guests,” the newspaper reports.
Susan Burns, writing for Sarasota Magazine, said when she and her family, including three dogs, sought refuge from the storm at the Aloft Sarasota hotel, “the staff (and a skeleton one at that) stayed calm and helpful … (even amid the weird scene of dogs scattered all over the lobby), and the hotel miraculously stayed immaculate.”
Compiled by Robert McCune.