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North America

Global Hotel Groups Are Sitting on Piles of Cash

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
August 24th, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT

Skift Take

  • The DJIA rose 61 points, Nasdaq was up 50, the S&P 500 was up 12 points and the 10-year Treasury yield is quickly rising to where it peaked in June, up another .05 to 3.11%.
  • STR said US RevPAR for the week ended 8/20 was up 16.9% versus the same week last year.
  • Global hotel groups are holding near-record amounts of cash. Seven of the best-known hotel groups were collectively sitting on about $7.3 billion in cash and short-term investments as of the end of June.

The DJIA rose 61 points, Nasdaq was up 50, the S&P 500 was up 12 points and the 10-year Treasury yield is quickly rising to where it peaked in June, up another .05 to 3.11%. Lodging stocks were mostly higher. SOND was the big winner, up 11%. AHT ended the day up 5%.

STR said US RevPAR for the week ended 8/20 was up 16.9% versus the same week last year. When compared with the week in 2019, RevPAR was up 12.2%.

Baird upped its target on Hyatt Hotels to $105 from $94. It maintained its Neutral rating.

Skift, the parent company of this publication, published an interesting report on how global hotel groups are holding near-record amounts of cash. Seven of the best-known hotel groups were collectively sitting on about $7.3 billion in cash and short-term investments as of the end of June. The article discussed the options available to these companies, including buying/selling hotel assets, giving raises to workers, corporate investment and, of course, stock buybacks to take advantage of what has been a pretty rocky year in the financial markets. Just about every major publicly traded hotel company mentioned return of capital to their shareholders in their second-quarter earnings reports/conference calls. That includes stock buybacks, dividends, along with paying down debt, all the things shareholders ask of their companies. New legislation in the US that will charge businesses a 1% excise tax on the fair value of the stock they buy back may change the way companies look at this, but we will see. Some companies will be more aggressive than others in using that cash to buy hotels, with the Skift article mentioning Hyatt as being a buyer. 

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting take on using your phone as a digital key. The article gave some humorous issues that pop up like people who forget their phone, either at home before going there, or in their rooms or cars when they are there. Then they brought up the point that unlike boarding passes, a room key is used a lot more, estimated in a study by Hyatt Hotels as 15 to 20 times a stay. That leaves a lot of times things can go wrong. Things like this are slowing adoption by travelers and the cost to install the lock systems is also keeping things in check. The article interviewed people on this topic with one traveling nurse/consultant saying she always uses mobile boarding passes on flights but has sworn off digital keys in hotel apps because there were too many issues and were inconvenient. We are in a digital age and eventually it is very profitable for the hotel to have this so it is just a matter of time but for right now, plastic keys will still be around.

The W Hotel, part of the Victory Park project northwest of downtown Dallas, is getting a makeover. The 12-story, 252-room hotel is owned by HN Capital Partners, who pledged to spend millions of dollars on upgrades to the property when they purchased it in 2019. The owners finished the restaurant and spa earlier this year and are now starting on the lobby and rooms.

Plans are underway for a new hotel to be built in Lincolnwood, IL, near Chicago. The Lincolnwood Village Board recently approved a tax rebate plan for the developer to move forward. The project is being proposed by Shamim LLC, an affiliate of Lakhani Hospitality. The five-story, 152 guestroom hotel known as District 1860 would include two brands, a Residence Inn by Marriott and a SpringHill Suites that would feature an indoor pool, fitness center and 1,900 square feet of flexible meeting space. 

In Virginia, three hoteliers are making moves, with two bringing new brands to the region in western Henrico, VA, and a third cutting the ribbon in Chester, according to a story in Richmond Bizsense. Earlier this summer, Sandpiper Hospitality filed plans to construct the region’s first Echo hotel, a new extended-stay brand from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. The new Echo would reach four stories and include 124 rooms and 133 parking spaces. Meanwhile, farther west in Short Pump, the region’s first Element hotel is expected to begin construction by the end of the year. The Short Pump Element will be the second in Virginia. Kalyan Hospitality is behind the 9-story, 130-room hotel. Last week in Chester, Sina Hospitality opened its 7-story, 122-room SpringHill Suites hotel. 

The DoubleTree by Hilton Buena Park, in Buena Park, CA, has officially opened following a 24-month, multi-million dollar renovation. The newly upgraded 249-room hotel features two on-property food and beverage offerings, over 14,000 square feet of flexible meetings and events space, a fitness center and an outdoor heated pool and hot tub.

Hospitality Ventures Management Group is currently in the process of planning the building out and permitting a new boutique hotel called The Darwin Hotel, located in what was formerly The Ponce Hotel in the Old Fourth neighborhood of Atlanta, GA. The Darwin will include 111 guestrooms, a lounge, bar, a 3,000 square foot patio as well as space for live entertainment.

In Scottsdale, AZ, an estimated $1 billion multi-use development is slated for Scottsdale Airpark, bringing a five-star, 223-room hotel, 1,236 condos and apartments and 100,000 square feet of retail space to 32.3 acres. The Parque calls for 13 buildings that also will include 40,000 square feet of “flex-space” and a 2-acre park. George Kurtz is the owner and it his first foray into real estate development. 

DSH Hotel Advisors arranged the sale of the recently-renovated 68-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Port Charlotte, in Port Charlotte, FL. DSH Hotel Advisorsrepresented both the seller and the buyer, Stanislaw Niziolek. DSH Hotel Advisors held the exclusive listing with the unnamed seller.

McNeill Investment Group, formerly McNeill Hotel Investors, announced that President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Ricketts has transitioned to the new position of Chief Culture Officer. Ricketts’ new position is part of a leadership realignment accompanying the company’s completion of a strategic recapitalization with Prospect Ridge and Fulcrum Hospitality. 

Vacasa announced the appointment of Rob Greyber as Chief Executive Officer, effective September 6. Greyber joins Vacasa from Egencia where he recently served as President. Greyber is succeeding current CEO Matt Roberts in a succession planning process that commenced earlier this year.

LionGrove, new owners of the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort, announced the appointment of Amadeo Zarzosa as the new Senior Vice President and General Manager of both of LionGrove’s Wyndham resorts in Puerto Rico. Zarzosa has worked with various brands such as IHG, St. Regis, Atlantis and Starwood Hotels and Resorts throughout his career.

Europe Highlights

Whitbread PLC purchased a major freehold property in central London that will become the latest “Hub by Premier Inn” hotel location. The Company expects to invest more than 200 million pounds in the development’s construction and related costs, and that it will be funded from its existing cash resources. The property is located in the Strand, located off of Trafalgar Square.

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
August 24th, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT

Companies: DoubleTree by Hilton, Echo Suites Extended Stay by Wyndham, Element, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hospitality Ventures Management Group, Lakhani Hospitality, Marriott International, Premier Inn, Residence Inn by Marriott, SpringHill Suites, W Hotels, Whitbread PLC, Wyndham Grand, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Arizona, Atlanta, California, Dallas, Florida, Texas, Virginia

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