5 things to know: 5 October 2017
5 things to know: 5 October 2017
05 OCTOBER 2017 9:46 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • RLH Corporation gets board approval to sell majority of hotels
  • AccorHotels to partner with Orient Express, develop hotel brand
  • Preparing staff, communication key for management change
  • Xenia Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio continues to grow
  • Tampa Bay hotels take pre-event security measures

RLH Corporation gets board approval to sell majority of hotels: In a move to further its asset-light strategy, RLH Corporation has gotten approval from its board of directors to list of 11 of its 18 owned hotels for sale, according to a company news release.

The seven owned hotels not being listed are recent joint-venture acquisitions, the release stated, and are leasehold interests that have no “near-term plan for disposal.” The company’s long-term goal is to earn most of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from its franchise business while growing its base of franchise agreements, which was discussed during RLHC’s second-quarter earnings call.

AccorHotels to partner with Orient Express, develop hotel brand: AccorHotels will acquire a 50% stake in share capital of Orient Express, with plans to develop the brand (known best for its line of passenger trains) globally in the luxury hotel space, according to a news release.

With this partnership, AccorHotels plans to develop a new collection of “prestigious hotels” under the Orient Express name, and will aim to be the “art of luxury travel,” the release states. This news follows an earlier announcement that AccorHotels had signed a deal to acquire Gekko to enhance distribution for business travelers.

Preparing staff, communication key for management change: When a management company takes over a contract to manage a hotel, a natural challenge that presents itself is how the company handles the hotel’s existing employees, reports Hotel News Now’s Bryan Wroten.

“It’s an awkward time for everyone involved,” said Patrick O’Neil, president of Peachtree Hotel Group. “They know the hotel has been on the market. There’s some trepidation. They might not know much about us, and they’re worried what will happen to their jobs. We go in, and we try to get to know the people.”

Xenia Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio continues to grow: Xenia Hotels & Resorts announced it has acquired three properties with a combined purchase price of $410 million, according to two company news releases.

Xenia acquired the 493-room Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the 119-room Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix, for a combined sale price of $305 million. The Orlando, Florida-based company also bought the 365-room Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia, for $105 million.

“We are proud to further grow our portfolio with Xenia, as we work together to advance Hyatt's asset recycling strategy,” said Steve Haggerty, global head of capital strategy and franchising for Hyatt.

Tampa Bay hotels take pre-event security measures: After the deadly shooting on the Las Vegas Strip on 1 October in which the shooter brought multiple firearms into his Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel room, some Tampa Bay hotels are tightening security in preparation for upcoming events, according to Tampa Bay’s ABC News station WFTS.

Keith Overton, president of the TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, Florida, said the resort is rethinking its security protocol ahead of the St. Pete Beach Bike Fest in November. Currently, the resort employs deputies to patrol the property during busy vacation seasons like spring break, and the staff receives regular security training, he said.

“This is a whole level of thinking we’ve never had to have before, and it’s frightening,” Overton told the news station.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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