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North America

Hotels See a Rebound in Business Travel 

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski

April 29th, 2024

Skift Take

A new report points to a resurgence in business travel, with group travel boosting hotels and companies increasingly sending employees on trips, challenging earlier predictions that virtual meetings would replace in-person business interactions permanently.

The DJIA rose 146 points while Nasdaq was up 55, the S&P 500 rose 16 points and the 10 year treasury yield was down .06 to 4.61%. Lodging stocks were modestly higher. VCSA was the only real mover of note, up 6% on the day.

The Wall Street Journal published an article on how airlines and hotels are seeing a comeback in business travel. Group travel has been the savior of the hotel space in recent months as leisure continues to be a victim of its past success and inflation has hit consumers’ pocketbooks. The article discussed how companies are sending employees back on the road, driving business travel closer to pre-pandemic levels. This goes directly against the predictions that the practices put into effect during Covid, with video-conferencing and virtual conferences taking the place of in-person meetings, expected to become permanent. Hilton backed this up on their earnings report and conference call, saying demand from small and medium-sized companies is above 2019 levels while large corporate customers are not fully back yet, but getting there.

Construction is underway in downtown Auburn, Alabama for a new AC HotelRAM Hotels is bringing the AC Hotel by Marriott Auburn into the heart of downtown, next to AuburnBank. THE hotel will feature 129 guest rooms, a bar and lounge on the ground floor and a rooftop bar and restaurant named Olivine. The hotel is expected to be ready to open in the fourth quarter of 2025.

BRP Hospitality is proposing to build a $16 million TownePlace Suites by Marriott hotel near Love Field in Dallas, Texas. The five-story hotel is supposed to begin construction in November 2024 and open in the first quarter of 2026.

The 245-room Rumbao Tribute Portfolio hotel in Old San Juan in Puerto Ricowill add a casino to its entertainment offer. Driftwood Capital is the owner of the hotel and they will be adding a casino on the first level of the Paseo Portuariobuilding. Driftwood acquired the building in 2021 for $21.7 million. They bought the former Sheraton Old San Juan hotel in 2021 for about $33 million. The casino will occupy the former site of the Latin Roots establishment. Driftwood will invest $12 million, in addition to the $15 million they have invested since 2023 in remodeling the property. The casino will be the only one in Old San Juan but there are 16 of them on the entire island. Driftwood Capital is also interested in adding 150 rooms to the property.

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa in Deerfield Beach, FL is ready to unveil the completion of its multi-million dollar property renovation. The renovation includes a redesign of public spaces, more than 11,700 square feet of newly renovated event space, a refresh of guestrooms and décor and a rebranding of its signature dining destination, Beach Terrace Restaurant. The update includes a complete transformation of the resort’s 244 two-room suites.

The Cincinnati, OH City Council approved a development agreement with Keystone Hotel Group to redevelop the 19th Century Chong Building into a Home2 Suites by Hilton. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. currently owns the property and will sell it to Keystone for $3.25 million. Keystone plans to add four stories to the 614 Race St building and two stories to 616 Race St, bringing the total size of the Chong building to over 84,000 square feet. Building the Home2 Suites is expected to cost $28 million.

Artemis Hotel Group announced the completion of a full-scale renovation for the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta East/Stonecrest in Lithonia, GA. The 110-room property is managed by GF Hotels. It underwent an extensive transformation encompassing the entire property, including the exterior, guest rooms, corridors, and public areas. The guest room renovation included new case goods, soft goods, and updated bathrooms. The public space refresh includes a new modern front desk with an enhanced lobby bar and indoor and outdoor seating areas. The pool area was also updated, and the fitness center has new exercise machines.

The Grand Hyatt Atlanta announced a transformation of its premises. The multi-phased renovation will revolutionize the 25-story landmark when it is revealed in early 2025. The extensive project will enhance every aspect of the hotel. The renovation will infuse the guest rooms with a new vibrancy, and the alteration will then cascade through the lobby and public spaces. The property will also introduce a market area featuring gourmet food and quick, artisanal sandwiches. The transformation will ultimately culminate in the meeting areas.

IHG Hotels & Resorts recently opened a newly rebranded and converted Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel in Orlando, FL. The hotel features 155 rooms and more than 1,000 square feet of meeting space. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Clermont SE – West Orlando operates under the ownership of Ganesh Parvati XXIV, LLC.

The Presidente InterContinental Monterrey is set to open its doors this summer in the upscale district of San Pedro Garza Garcia in Monterrey, Mexico. The hotel will have 293 guest rooms and suites, a pool, spa, business center, and multiple dining options.

WoodHouse announced The Moore in the Miami Design District has officially begun its re-opening. The hotel is a new cultural destination, complete with a private members club, public restaurant, boutique hotel, executive offices, and gallery space. Located on the second floor is The Club at The Moore, a private members-only destination that is now open to members. It includes a restaurant led by executive chef Joe Anthony, a house art collection, and multiple bars and lounges. The Hotel at Moore is on the fourth floor and will open this summer. It will offer high-touch service and 13 hotel suites that provide access to all of The Club’s amenities. Most of the rooms span 700 square feet with the grandest suite exceeding 1,000 square feet.

Hotel Landy is set to open in May off Universal Boulevard in Orlando. The new hotel will host a grand opening event on May 14th. The hotel offers several room and suite options with amenities including a gym, pool with cabanas and a bar, game rooms, a signature restaurant, courtyard with lawn games, and a market.

Curator Hotel & Resort Collection is announcing the addition of two new properties in Michigan and Ohio. They include the 97-room Fidelity Hotel in Cleveland, OH, opening in late 2024 and the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, MI.

Ashford Hospitality Trust said they closed on the sale of the 85-room Hampton Inn in Lawrenceville, GA for $8.1 million. All the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes including paying down the company’s strategic financing. They also announced the transfer of their possession and control of the hotel properties securing the $180.7 million KEYS A Loan Pool and the $174.4 million KEYS B Loan Pool to a court-appointed receiver. AHT said they have been fully cooperating with the servicer for a consensual foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure on these properties since July 2023. The KEYS A Loan Pool hotels include Courtyards in Columbus, IN and Scottsdale, AZ, Residence Inns in Las VegasPhoenix, and Newark, CA, and SpringHill Suites in Hawthorne, CA and Plymouth Meeting, PAKeys B Loan Pool hotels include Courtyards in Basking Ridge, NJPlano, TX and Newark and Oakland, CA as well as a Residence Inn in Plano, TX, a Springhill Suites in Baltimore, MD and a TownePlace Suites in Hawthorne, CA.

Europe Highlights

GoldenTree Asset Management, the U.S. hedge fund behind Travelodge, is in talks to buy GBP40 million of hotels from their landlords. The Sunday Times said this follows their GBP 210 million purchase of 66 hotels from LXi REIT this year.

Splendid Hospitality Group signed an agreement with Marriott International to launch the first-ever Four Points Express by Sheraton Hotel in the UK. The Four Points Express London Euston will open in Summer of 2024. Splendid invested GBP50 million in this project which includes refurbishment of the current building. This is the first venture with Marriott for Splendid. The new brand, Four Point Express by Sheraton, is designed for the midscale segment. The London property will be located in Central London, within walking distance to Euston Station and Kings Cross & St. Pancras International. The hotel will offer 201 cozy guest rooms, a restaurant and bar concept, and an onside Caffe Nero.

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski

April 29th, 2024

Companies: Ashford Hospitality Trust, AC Hotels by Marriott, Artemis Hotel Group, Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Four Points by Sheraton, Grand Hyatt, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Home2 Suites by Hilton, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Residence Inn by Marriott, Splendid Hospitality Group, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, Travelodge, Tribute Portfolio, Vacasa, WoodHouse

Locations: Alabama, Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Florida, Georgia, London, Mexico, Miami, Michigan, Ohio, Orlando, Phoenix, Puerto Rico, Texas

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