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5 things to know: 10 April 2012
April 10 2012

• Arbitration panels favor Summit in Choice dispute
• TravelClick: US RevPAR on future bookings up 7.9%
• Pegasus Capital to acquire Six Senses resort brand
• WSJ: Indian conglomerate bids for NYC’s Plaza Hotel
• Expedia launches new connectivity platform

An arbitration panel has issued an award to Summit Hotel Properties in the company’s dispute with Choice Hotels International over improperly terminated franchise agreements.

On 4 April 2012, an arbitration panel determined, among other things, that Choice improperly terminated 11 franchise agreements with Summit, that Choice is not entitled to recover liquidated damages in connection with the 11 hotels and that Summit did not make any materially false or misleading statements to Choice or omit any material information.

The panel awarded Summit damages in amount of $298,090 as full settlement of all claims submitted in the arbitration. Neither Summit nor Choice is entitled to recover attorney’s fees in connection with the matter.

Revenue per available room for U.S. hotels is tracking ahead 7.9%, based on 2012 reservations on the books compared to a year ago. This is the highest increase in more than six months, according to data from TravelClick’s March 2012 North American Hospitality Review.

Group business is driving both occupancy and average-daily-rate growth. Group committed occupancy (which is based on contracted group blocks) on the books through the end of 2012 is up 5.1% compared to the same time last year. Group ADR, based on group reservations, is showing a strong increase of 4.9% over the same time last year.

Meanwhile, STR is reporting strong preliminary results for U.S. hotels during the month of March. Every chain-scale segment finished the month with at least a 5% increase in RevPAR, led by the economy segment with a gain of between 8% and 10%.

Occupancy was not as strong though still in the right direction. Increases ranged from 1% to 6%, with the midscale segment reporting the largest monthly increase (4% to 6%).

Pegasus Capital Advisors L.P., a U.S.-based private equity fund manager, has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Bangkok-based Six Senses Resorts & Spas, an ultra-luxury resort and spa business, for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the deal, Pegasus Capital will acquire all of the Six Senses and Evason branded resort and spa management contracts and related intellectual property rights, and operate them under a new company managed by Pegasus and its affiliates.   
According to a
news release, Six Senses’ Soneva brand and resorts, as well as the company’s real-estate assets and holdings, are not included in the transaction and will continue to be led by Sonu Shivdasani, the former founder and CEO of Six Senses, who will serve as chairman and CEO and principal shareholder of The Soneva Group. Bernhard Bohnenberger, president of Six Senses, will continue in that role and will head the Six Senses’ Bangkok office.

An Indian conglomerate has made an unsolicited $600 million offer to acquire the Plaza Hotel in New York, but the deal would need approval of two owners: an Israeli-owned holding company and a Saudi Arabian prince, reports The Wall Street Journal, which cited “people familiar with the matter.” 

Sahara India Pariwar Limited, which bought London's high-profile Grosvenor House hotel in 2010, made the offer to Israeli-owned El Ad U.S. Holding. El Ad is examining the proposal, sources said. But, as of Monday, El Ad executives had yet to discuss the offer at length with their partner in the hotel, Kingdom Holding Company, which is controlled by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

In an attempt to bolster the push and pull of hotel rate information and other data, Expedia on Monday launched Expedia Connect 2, an upgraded connectivity solution that offers hotels and reservation system provides the ability to design, build and deploy standardized interfaces to connect directly with Expedia.

The new platform promises to enable hoteliers to easily provide last-minute room inventory for mobile and short booking-window channels without the risk of force-sell or overbooking.

Compiled by Patrick Mayock.

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