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Disney’s Star Wars Hotel Is No Blockbuster

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
March 8th, 2023 at 4:31 PM EST

Skift Take

  • Walt Disney World’s Star Wars hotel has seen demand cool so dramatically that the Florida theme park giant has been forced to reduce dates during the busy Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
  • Membership Collective Group reported strong 4Q results, a profitable quarter, today
  • STR reported U.S. lodging data for the week ended March 4. Hotel RevPAR was up 12.1% year over year for the week.

The DJIA ended the day down 58 points while Nasdaq was up 46, the S&P 500rose 6 points and the 10-year treasury yield was flat at 3.98%. Lodging stocks were modestly higher. The only mover of note was MCG, up 18%.

Membership Collective Group reported strong 4Q results, a profitable quarter, today. In the earnings report they disclosed they would be changing their name to Soho House & Co, becoming effective in a few weeks. Many probably wonder what took them so long to do this.

STR reported U.S. lodging data for the week ended March 4th. Hotel RevPAR was up 12.1% year over year for the week. When compared with the same week in 2019, US hotel RevPAR was up 7.8%.

According to a new study Economic Analysis of Hotel Supply and Projected Demand in Metro Vancouver, 2023 to 2050, released by Destination Vancouver, without new investment, the lack of hotel supply in Metro Vancouver will translate into significant losses to the provincial economy. Between 2022 and 2050, the cumulative economic impacts are projected to be: $30.6 billion in foregone output; $16.6 billion in forgone GDP; 168,000+ FTEs of foregone employment; and $7.5 billion in foregone tax revenue for all three levels of government. According to Destination Vancouver, Metro Vancouver’s infrastructure is not keeping up in delivering on its global profile. This is critical as over the next few years are tennis’ Laver Cup, the Invictus Games, next year’s Grey Cup and in 2026, Vancouver will be the Host City for the FIFA World Cup. If the supply of hotel rooms remains at current levels, demand will exceed supply by: 2026 – in the summer months in the City of Vancouver; 2028 – the summer months in the rest of Metro Vancouver; and 2040 – every month of the year across Metro Vancouver. 

Sage Hospitality Group said they are kicking off its fortieth year in business focused on growing its portfolio with the nation’s best lifestyle and independent hotels and restaurants in key urban and resort markets. The company starts its anniversary year as strong as ever, boasting record revenues in 2022 and the addition of 24 hotels to its portfolio, 13 of them independent, since January 2022. Sage plans to grow its lifestyle hotel and restaurant portfolio by 15% in the coming year and projects that 2023 system wide revenues will exceed $1 billion for the first time in the company’s history. In addition to being involved in numerous major mixed-use developments in key markets across the U.S., Sage is developing an experience-based guest affinity program to support its independent properties, expanding its owned hotel brands like Catbird and The Maven into new markets, and is pursuing the expansion of Sage Restaurant Concepts brands, including Urban Farmer, into fully independent locations. 

Marriott International expects to open the St. Regis Chicago on May 1 as the 192-room hotel is gearing up to open in the city’s third largest tower, part of the Lakeshore East development. St. Regis Chicago boasts a 4,721 square foot Ballroom with 1,370 square feet of pre-function space and four additional meeting rooms; The St. Regis Spa, a fitness center, pool, and two restaurants. 

The University of Houston Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership and the University of Houston celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new $30.4 million, eight-story tower at the Hilton University of Houston hotel. The expansion provides new training opportunities for the students at Hilton College and benefits the entire campus as well. The new tower features 70 new guestrooms and is connected to the original building via sky bridges on floors three through eight. The project also included a complete renovation of the hotel’s original 870 guestrooms, lobby, public spaces and courtyard. 

Black Swan Holdings announced the formation of Black Swan Asset Management in a push to raise capital and acquire Class-A multifamily real estate with the intention of converting those projects into luxury short-term rentals. Black Swan Founder Zachary Tombley and BSAM Managing Partner Daniel Sodroski will lead BSAM’s strategic growth campaign heading into 2023, overseeing acquisition, fundraising, and financing strategies. Additionally, Co-Founder of The Grant Company, Matthew Walsh, joins Black Swan as a partner. In tandem, BSAM has formed a new advisory board comprised of: Matthew Berg, Co-Founder & Head of Operations, Wheelhouse; David Hirsh, Managing Director (retired), Blackstone; Nicole Mozeliak, Chief Operating Officer, Odeko; Brian Quinn, Chief Development Officer, Sonesta International Hotels; and Chris Salvado, Managing Director, BD Capital. Black Swan Asset Management will accelerate the company’s pipeline by exploiting gaps in the hospitality industry and launching investment ventures in culturally significant, high-growth destinations such as Denver, Miami, Charleston, New Orleans, Austin and Nashville. 

Walt Disney World’s Star Wars hotel has seen demand cool so dramatically that the Florida theme park giant has been forced to reduce dates during the busy Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. According to a release to travel agents, Disney announced the Galactic Starcruiser will reduce the number of weekly experiences by 25% to 50% starting in October. The Galactic Starcruiser will be dark most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with 10 to 12 dates per month removed from the calendar during the last quarter of 2023. The three to four weekly “departures” aboard the Galactic Starcruiser will be reduced to two on most weeks starting in October. The Star Wars hotel has about 100 rooms with a capacity of about 500 people, with the footprint kept intentionally small to allow for intimate storytelling moments throughout the 45-hour galactic journey. Disney World is offering huge discounts in hopes of reversing the tide for the struggling Star Wars hotel, according to Inside the Magic, and according to WDW News Today, Disney World has opted not to renew the entertainment contracts of many Galactic Starcruiser employees. 

Personnel Moves

Hospitality Ventures Management Group announced it had strengthened its Revenue Excellence team with two new promotions. Melissa Arana has been named vice president of revenue strategy and Denise Hanas has been named corporate director of marketing strategy. In this newly created role, Arana will oversee the revenue strategy team for the entire company. She joined HVMG in 2011 as an assistant general manager at the Doubletree DFW Airport North and has progressively taken on bigger and more challenging roles within the company. Having joined HVMG’s RevX team in 2020 as a consultant, Hanas has led the company’s marketing efforts through the most challenging time in the industry’s history. In her newly created role, she will expand on her most recent consulting position with the company by overseeing the company’s hotel marketing strategy. 

Resolute Road Hospitality announced two key additions to its development team in Vice President of Business Development roles. As Vice Presidents of Business Development, Kevin J. O’Neil and Richard T. Sprecher will be responsible for cultivating new client relationships and growing Resolute Road Hospitality’s footprint throughout North America. O’Neil joins the team with over 25 years of experience in the hotel industry. Most recently, O’Neil served as Franchise Development Manager for the Rhino 7 Franchise Sales Organization. Sprecher most recently served as Vice President of Development for Meyer Jabara Hotels and Vice President of Business Development for Aimbridge Hospitality. 

Europe Highlights

According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is in talks to buy a minority stake in Rocco Forte Hotels. The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund may purchase a significant minority in Rocco Forte, including a stake held by a fund linked to Italy’s state-owned lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. In 2014, the Italian fund acquired a 23% stake in Rocco Forte for £60 million. Rocco Forte owns Browns Hotel, London and The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, as well as others located around Europe and in Russia. Bloomberg said the deal could value the luxury hotels group at €1.3 billion. 

Selina Hospitality PLC has opened recently in the heart of Berlin, the brand’s first hotel in Germany. Selina Berlin Mitte features 84 guestrooms, rooftop co-working and bar area, a restaurant and bar, a grab-and-go dining option, a communal kitchen, retail shop and a soon-to-open radio station. Selina currently operates across six continents and intends to open 10-15 hotels in 2023.

The newly opened Mövenpick BalaLand Resort Lake Balaton is the first property of the Accor brand in Hungary. The hotel resort is part of a wider development project encompassing a unique indoor/outdoor family park named BalaLand. Mövenpick BalaLand Resort Lake Balaton offers 109 rooms including 46 suites; five spa treatment rooms with three saunas, a salt cabin, a steam room, and a couples therapy room; a fitness room; and multiple food and beverage venues.

Accor’s onefinestay is launching its latest collection of homes in the region of Provence, France. The collection offers a range of fully furnished villas to the band’s level of luxury. onefinestay’s new offering in Provence will include the brand’s customary 24-hour concierge service, engaged guest and homeowner relations team, and the opportunity to add any additional services guest would like such as housekeeping, private chefs, vineyard tours or childcare. 

Six Senses Rome announced the March 16 opening in the historical Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini, marking the completed renovation of the magnificent façade of the adjacent San Marcello al Corso Church. The first urban Six Senses property in Italy features 96 guestrooms and suites, multiple F&B concepts, Six Senses Spa, Earth Lab, and Alchemy Bar.

KE Hotels has purchased the 148-bedroom Hotel Indigo Newcastle from a consortium of private investors. The UK hotel comprises a bar and restaurant, heath and fitness center and a 102-space car park. JLL acted for the vendors.

A new 130-room Swissôtel, being built by merging five monumental buildings in the Czech Republic, will be located in Marianske Lazne. The investor and owner of the Swissôtel Marianske Lazne Resort & Spa is Grathon Business a.s., a company that delivers projects on the larger European scale 

Nobu Hospitality, in collaboration with Millenium Hospitality Real Estate SOCIMI, announced the development of Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Sevilla. Set to open in Spring 2023, the property marks the brand’s sixth hotel in Spain and third project between Nobu Hotels and MHRE. The property will offers stylish guestrooms, a Nobu restaurant, fitness center, huge rooftop with swimming pool and dining area. The hotel is the marriage of two nineteenth century residences, with a unique, circular reception area complete with traditional pillars and four guest floors.

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
March 8th, 2023 at 4:31 PM EST

Companies: Accor, Black Swan Asset Management, Disney Parks, Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hospitality Ventures Management Group, Hotel Indigo, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Movenpick, Nobu Hotels, onefinestay, Resolute Road Hospitality, Rocco Forte Hotels, Sage Hotel Management, Selina, Six Senses, Soho House and Co Inc., St. Regis

Locations: Berlin, Chicago, Edinburgh, France, Houston, Hungary, Orlando, Rome, Spain, Vancouver

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