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North America

Choice Hotels’ Latest Step in Its Quest to Acquire Wyndham

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
November 27th, 2023 at 6:10 PM EST

Skift Take

  • Barron’s recommended investing in travel stocks like Hilton and Marriott for business travel and Choice Hotels is still planning a takeover of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.
  • There is a new distribution agreement between Choice Hotels EMEA and Sercotel, the potential sale of Travelodge hotels by LXI REIT, and new hotel developments and refinancing deals in the UK and Europe.
  • Significant strategic actions in the hotel industry include Choice Hotels’ intent to nominate directors to Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ board amidst an $8 billion takeover battle.

The DJIA fell 57 points, Nasdaq was down 10, and the S&P 500 was down 9 points. Not even a .08 drop in the 10-year treasury to 4.39% could lift stocks. The extent of the good news in lodging stocks was that RHP traded up to a new high. SOND plunged another -15% to another all-time low, SLNA was down to another new low, and VCSA stayed just above a new all-time low but was still down another -6%.

Barron’s published an article giving travel stocks to buy to take advantage of a comeback in business travel. Those companies in the hotel space include Hilton and Marriott, while also including IHG in the mix.

The U.S. hotel industry reported mixed performance results from the previous month according to October 2023 data from CoStar. October 2023 (percentage change from October 2022): Occupancy: 65.8% (-1.8%) ADR: $161.56(+3.0%) and RevPAR: $106.38 (+1.2%). Among the Top 25 Markets, New York City experienced the highest occupancy level (86.8%), up 3.0% year over year. Markets with the lowest occupancy for the month included Houston(59.5%) and St. Louis (59.8%). The Top 25 Markets showed higher occupancy and ADR than all other markets.

Following seasonal patterns, Canada’s hotel performance fell month over month but continued a stretch of year-over-year growth, according to CoStar’s October 2023 data. October 2023 (percentage change from October 2022): Occupancy: 68.1% (+2.2%) ADR: CAD196.25 (+8.8%) and RevPAR: CAD133.57 (+11.2%). Among the provinces and territories, Nova Scotia recorded the highest October occupancy level (75.0%), 6.3% below 2022. Among the major markets, Vancouver saw the highest occupancy, (77.7%), 0.1% ahead of October 2022. The lowest occupancy among the provinces was reported in Prince Edward Island (56.0%), down 25.8% against 2022. At the market level, the lowest occupancy was reported in Edmonton (+10.1% to 59.5%).

According to an article in USA TODAY, antiquated hotel amenities need an update. Obsolete amenities include landline phones, pay-per-view TV, tiered internet, fax machines in the business center, stocked refrigerators, alarm clocks, sewing kits, single-use soaps and shampoos, and bathtubs. Amenities that hotel guests would like include reliable wireless that doesn’t cost extra, more power outlets, and upfront, all-inclusive prices.

Choice Hotels International is preparing to nominate directors to the board of rival Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, seeking to break a stalemate in an $8 billion takeover battle. Choice has become a Wyndham shareholder by purchasing its shares in the open market and plans to raise its stake in the coming days, giving Choice the right to nominate directors to Wyndham’s board come January. Choice has started to interview potential nominees for its board slate and is also preparing to launch a tender offer for Wyndham’s shares that would show Wyndham’s investors that there is a firm offer on the table.

The Harrison Group announced the acquisition of the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Jacksonville, Florida. The all-suite hotel has a heated outdoor pool, a hot tub, fitness center, restaurant, lobby bar, patio with a fire pit, plus meeting rooms and a business center.

Avi Kravitz is looking to re-imagine The Darby in Pennsylvania, entrusting Life House to take the helm of the operations. The key to Life House’s strategy for this boutique hotel in Beach Lake, PA is spotlighting its unique offerings, particularly the forthcoming pool and fresh F&B concept. Life House plans to drive bottom-line revenue through technological solutions and a sharp revenue management approach. This includes a strategic online presence, search engine marketing, and maximizing repeat guests.

NexGen Hotels announced the acquisition of the Holiday Inn St. Petersburg West. The 129-roomSt. Petersburg, Florida hotel will be managed by Genuine Hospitality Group. Hotel amenities include an outdoor resort-style heated pool and whirlpool spa, a fitness center, market, boardroom, and a full-service restaurant/bar.

The Springs Hotel, a new boutique property located in downtown Ocean Springs, Mississippi, is taking reservations for its early January 2024opening. Developed by Joe and Jessica Cloyd, and managed by Roxy and Ted Condrey, the Springs Hotels is part of the Rain Travel Collection of boutique hotels. The building, that formerly housed law offices, is being transformed into 15 spacious guest rooms over two floors. The property features a full-time retail shop and private parking for both vehicles and golf carts.

PENN Entertainment, Inc. will host a groundbreaking ceremony for a new hotel at Hollywood Casino Columbus, Ohio, on November 28th. The hotel, with an estimated budget of approximately $100 million, will be attached to the existing property and is expected to include 180 rooms, meeting space, and an additional restaurant.

Odom Hotelz plans to own six new hotels from Okaloosa to Bay counties in Florida. Jay Odom, president of The Jay Odom Group, is behind the project. The hotels are in development with IHGHilton, and Marriott and will open starting in 2024. The first will be located at Freedom Tech Center in Fort Walton Beach and will include 4,500 square feet of meeting space.

A developer has won Collier County, Florida approval to convert the old Golden Gate Inn into apartments. For many years, the property operated as a Quality Inn & Suites. The approvals will allow the developer, Styx Cos., which has the property under contract, to increase the number of units on the property from 98 to 215. Styx Cos. is looking at delivery of the first units in early 2025 or maybe late 2024.

Cronheim Hotel Capital secured $12.81M to refinance the existing debt on the 132-key Hyatt Place in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The CHC team placed the financing with a Midwest credit union’s local Florida branch and provided for a 10-year term on a 25-year amortization, with the first five years fixed at a rate of 6.25%.

Personnel Move

CBRE announced the appointment of Rob Seabrook as executive director. Seabrook rejoins the firm from Cushman & Wakefield where he was head of hotel transactions EMEA. In his new role, Seabrook will be responsible for major hotel asset sales in the UK, with a particular focus on London.

Europe Highlights

Choice Hotels EMEA signed a new distribution agreement with Sercotel, marking a pivotal development in a collaboration that has been ongoing since 2018. The strategic agreement solidifies the companies’ partnership, steering their collective focus towards commercial and marketing endeavors geared at generating incremental revenue. The two will strategically target corporate clients in the UKFranceGermany, and the Netherlands.

LXI REIT confirmed it is close to selling a portfolio of 66 Travelodge hotels for a combined sum of £210 million. Should a sale be concluded, the majority of the sale proceeds would be used to pay down debt, reducing Group LTV to 34% from 38%, and reducing the Travelodge proportion of the total rent roll to 11% from 18%.

Plans to build a new hotel next to Kirkgate Market in Leeds city centre look set to be approved, with a major chain lined up to run the venture. Leeds City Council struck a deal with Whitbread, the operator of Premier Inn, which would run the 143-bed hotel. The site is currently occupies by a row of vacant shops, which would be demolished to make way for the new hotel.

Private investment firm Veld Capital has provided a €63m senior secured loan to refinance the hospitality assets of Gr8 Hotels. The 10-hotel portfolioincludes both management contracts and standard leases. It includes accommodations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Maastrict, and Breda, as well as F&B outlets operating by Starbucks and Burger King.

PPHE Hotel Group has been granted planning permission to build a new 179-room hotel below the Park Plaza Victoria London property. Planning approval from Westminster City Council allows PPHE to build a new hotel below its existing property. The existing 299-room Park Plaza Victoria London would continue to operate as a standalone business. PPHE will run a dual-branded hotel upon completion, consisting of the Upper Upscale Park Plaza Victoria London and a Midscale Lifestyle project with a brand yet to be announced.

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
November 27th, 2023 at 6:10 PM EST

Companies: CBRE Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Cronheim Hotel Capital, Four Points by Sheraton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Hyatt Place, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Selina, Sonder Holdings Inc., Vacasa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Edmonton, Florida, Houston, Jacksonville, Mississippi, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Prince Edward Island, St. Louis, Vancouver

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