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North America

Aimbridge Sues Avion Hospitality For Interfering in Contracts

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
June 25th, 2024 at 4:46 PM EDT

Skift Take

Aimbridge Hospitality sued Avion Hospitality and its CEO, Robert Burg, for allegedly using confidential information to interfere with its management contracts, resulting in tens of millions in lost revenue.

The DJIA fell 299 but Nasdaq was up 221, the S&P 500 was up 21 points and the 10-year treasury yield was down .01 to 4.24%. Lodging stocks were mixed. AHT was the big mover, up 8%.

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust‘s monthly update said May’s results were in line with expectations, and there is no change to guidance. Truist said they spoke with PEB management and their sense is June RevPAR is flat to slightly down year over year with last week having challenged demand given a mid-week Juneteenth holiday. They believe May will likely be one of the strongest months of the year for PEBTruist believes PEB‘s 2Q results will likely finish at least the mid to high end of guidance.

Canada‘s hotel industry recorded its highest performance levels in eight months, according to CoStar‘s May 2024 data. May 2024 (percentage change from 2023): Occupancy: 69.0% (+0.2%) ADR: CAD206.39 (+4.5%) RevPAR: CAD142.32 (+4.8%). Among the provinces and territories, British Columbia recorded the highest occupancy level (74.3%), which was 3.3% above 2023. Among the major markets, Vancouver saw the highest occupancy (83.8%), up 1.2% over May 2023. The lowest occupancy among provinces was reported in Prince Edward Island (54.5%), down 9.5% against 2023. At the market level, the lowest occupancy was reported in Calgary (-1.9% to 67.0%). 

The Ellie Beach Resort, A Tapestry by Hilton has opened on Springmaid Beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, following a multimillion-dollar transformation. Owned by Singerman Real Estate and managed by Pyramid Global Hospitality, the resort features 238 rooms and suites, a brand-new resort pool, three water slides, multiple food and beverage venues, three oceanfront ballrooms, expansive function spaces and dedicated event spaces. 

The Hilton Oakland Airport in Oakland, California is slated to close after more than five decades in business. Park Hotels & Resorts intends to cease operations at the 360-room hotel on or about August 28. 

The Marriott and Hilton hotel chains have expressed interest in land owned by the St. Johns County Airport Authority in St. Augustine, Florida, according to Joyce Development Group. Both expressed interest in the site and would like a complete market study done. Once the study is complete, Joyce Development will go back to the hotel brands to help connect with developers who are capable of doing work on ground lease transactions and structuring a deal with the airport authority. 

Construction of the first hotel in Sand City, California is making significant progress. The hotel, a dual-brand Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn, is expected to be a resort-style establishment. The four-story property will feature 215 rooms, a restaurant, bar, a pool and a stage.

Crestline Hotels & Resorts, LLC has been selected to manage the AC Hotel Houston Downtown, Texas, the company’s third managed hotel in the greater Houston area. The hotel features 195 guestrooms and suites, 4,000 square feet of creative meeting space, the AC KitchenAC Lounge, a fitness center, business center and valet parking. 

IHG Hotels & Resorts, in collaboration with owner Smith-House, Inc., celebrated the completion of a renovation of a Holiday Inn hotel in Blytheville, Arkansas. The project included a modernization of the hotel’s 154 guestrooms, public areas, and four meeting and event spaces, along with a refresh of its fitness center, business center and indoor and outdoor pools. Holiday Inn Blytheville also features two restaurants.

Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc. has postponed its 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, previously scheduled to be held on July 30, 2024, the meeting will now be held on October 15, 2024. 

Peachtree Group originated a $40 million retroactive CPACE loan to BLG SAN DIEGO, LLC for its recently opened 147-room AC Hotel San Diego Downtown Gaslamp Quarter in California. The CPACE financing was amortized over 30 years and required no payment for a year, followed by five years of interest-only payments. Also, the proceeds allowed BLG to pay down its senior loan with Preferred Bank and E.Sun Commercial Bank, Ltd. to under $20 million, thereby mitigating the bank’s exposure.

Aimbridge Hospitality has filed a lawsuit against Avion Hospitality and its CEO, Robert Burg, alleging the company used confidential Aimbridge information to interfere with its management contracts, costing tens of millions of dollars in revenue. Aimbridge contends that Burg, formerly Aimbridge‘s president and chief operating officer, started his own third-party hotel management company and grew its portfolio by reaching out to then-current Aimbridge employees to provide him with confidential property-level information to help Avion persuade hotel owners to switch management companies. Avion would then reward these employees by hiring them. In the petition filed with the court, Aimbridge names seven properties for which it said it has evidence showing that Burg and his company contacted then-employees of Aimbridge to gain access to its property-level performance spreadsheets and STAR reports from CoStar. Those hotels are The Embassy Suites by Hilton College Station; The Embassy Suites by Hilton Houston West-Katy; The Embassy Suites by Hilton Houston Energy Corridor; The Fairfield Inn & Suites Houston East Energy Corridor; The Home2 Suites by Hilton Houston Energy Corridor; The Hyatt Regency Tulsa Downtown; and The Windsor Court Hotel in New OrleansAimbridge said it lost contracts for these hotels between April 2022 and January 2024. It names other hotels that it suspects were lost due to similar practices, but it does not yet have the evidence to show that. Burg and Avion declined to comment at this time as they have not yet had the chance to review Aimbridge‘s petition to the court. 

Personnel Move

SH Hotels & Resorts announced the promotion of Abhay Bakaya to Chief Development Officer. Bakaya steps into this pivotal role to lead an international team in the global expansion of the brand’s portfolio and spearhead broader strategic planning as the company explores new hotel and branded residential opportunities. Bakaya joined SH Hotels & Resorts in 2017. 

Europe Highlights

Grupo Statuto has closed on the purchase of 116-room Six Senses Ibiza, for which it has paid a record price in SpainBeach Box, the owner of the accommodation financed by Metric Capital, has managed to divest the asset. Experts say it has been sold for around €200 million. 

Firethorn Trust has purchased the boutique hotel Malmaison York in an off-market deal. Located in York, UK, the hotel underwent an extensive redevelopment in 2021 and now comprises 150 rooms, a rooftop sky bar, meeting & conference facilities, co-working space, as well as an onsite spa and gym. Firethorn Trust was advised by Conway Real EstateJLL and Maples Teesdale

A hotel on the outskirts of Shepton Mallet in Somerset, UK, has come under new ownership. Imran Ali has taken over The Well Inn. Work has already started to upgrade the 16-bedroom property, including improvements to the bar and restaurant. A new private dining room has also been created. Ali’s plans for the venue also include landscaping the outside area to make it into a year-round beer garden.

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski
June 25th, 2024 at 4:46 PM EDT

Companies: Aimbridge Hospitality, AC Hotels by Marriott, Ashford Hospitality Trust, Avion Hospitality, Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc., Courtyard by Marriott, Crestline Hotels & Resorts, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Grupo Statuto, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Hyatt Regency, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Peachtree Group, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, Residence Inn by Marriott, SH Hotels & Resorts, Six Senses, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Locations: Arkansas, British Columbia, Calgary, England, Florida, Houston, Ibiza, Prince Edward Island, San Francisco, South Carolina, Vancouver

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