5 things to know: 15 February 2018
5 things to know: 15 February 2018
15 FEBRUARY 2018 10:34 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Wyndham announces sale of European vacation rental business
  • Hilton execs say fast pace of growth to continue
  • Four Seasons searching for new CEO
  • STR data shows mixed weekly results for US hotels
  • Immigrants warned against travel to Florida

Wyndham announces sale of European vacation rental business: A day after the company listed its European vacation rental business as “discontinued operations” on its fourth-quarter and full-year-2017 earnings report, Wyndham Worldwide announced a deal to sell that part of the business for $1.3 billion, according to a company news release.

The buyer is global private equity firm Platinum Equity, which according to the release “has been very active in the European M&A market.” The deal includes a 20-year agreement to pay a royalty fee that is 1% of net income for rights to use the “by Wyndham Vacation Rentals” brand, the release states.

Wyndham’s European vacation rental business “is the largest manager of holiday rentals in Europe, with more than 110,000 units in over 600 destinations in more than 25 countries,” the release states.

On an earnings call with investors, Wyndham Worldwide EVP and CFO David Wyshner listed “potentially the dispensation” of the European vacation rental business among factors that could affect projections for increased cash flow, which he said is seeing a roughly $100 million benefit from U.S. tax reform, reports Hotel News Now’s Robert McCune.

Hilton execs say fast pace of growth to continue: During an earnings call with investors, Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta said the company will continue to focus particularly on growth outside of the United States, and an announcement for a “third soft brand, in the luxury space” is “not far off,” reports HNN’s Stephanie Ricca.

“In 2017, we opened more than one hotel a day,” Nassetta said, and that pace of growth is expected to continue this year.

Playing a big role in the company’s growth is the Tru by Hilton brand, which debuted nine hotels with 911 total guestrooms last year, Ricca reports.

“We’ll open about 40 to 50 Tru hotels this year, and we should double that in 2019,” Nassetta said, adding that the first international Tru location likely would open in Canada, where the company has three signed deals.

Four Seasons searching for new CEO: Upon completion of a five-year contract at the end of this year, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts CEO J. Allen Smith will step down from the role, the company announced in a news release.

“Smith, who was appointed president and CEO in 2013, will continue to lead Four Seasons until the board of directors completes its search for a successor,” the release states.

“Through his five years of leadership, Allen has built an outstanding senior management team and successfully pursued strategic initiatives so the company is well positioned for the next chapter of its evolution and leadership. The board and Allen are committed to a successful CEO transition and meeting their responsibility to maintain and enhance Four Seasons brand, people and service culture, and management capabilities. Four Seasons has never been stronger,” Four Seasons Founder and Chairman Isadore Sharp said in the release.

STR data shows mixed weekly results for U.S. hotels: For the week ending 10 February, the U.S. hotel industry reported a 2.8% increase in average daily rate to $125.09, which boosted revenue per available room by 2.6% to $74.48, despite a slight decline (-0.2%) in occupancy to 59.5%, according to weekly performance data from STR, parent company of Hotel News Now.

The Canada hotel industry, meanwhile, saw a RevPAR gain of 3.9% due to a 2.8% increase in ADR and a 1.1% lift in occupancy, the data shows.

Immigrants warned against travel to Florida: As Florida “braces for its busy spring break season in March,” more than a dozen immigration rights advocacy groups have issued warnings about travel to the state, “saying immigration arrests there have soared more rapidly in the past year than in any other area of the country,” reports the Orlando Sentinel.

“We are taking the step of warning our communities that as the Florida lawmakers, state, local and federal do not take steps to push back against the anti-immigrant policies, we do not feel like our communities are safe in the state,” Tomas Kennedy, deputy political director at the Florida Immigrant Coalition, told the newspaper.

Compiled by Robert McCune.

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