5 things to know: 5 September 2017
5 things to know: 5 September 2017
05 SEPTEMBER 2017 9:04 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Invesco acquires €530m European portfolio
  • Houston hotel demand likely to surge, analysts say
  • Florida issues state of emergency for Hurricane Irma
  • Former Starwood CEO van Paasschen talks innovation
  • Hajj sees 2.35 million travel to Mecca

Invesco acquires €530m European portfolio: Invesco Real Estate has completed a €530-million ($630.5 million) acquisition of a European portfolio comprising 13 full- and select-service hotels in Germany (85% of the deal) and The Netherlands from Apollo Global Management.

Invesco acquired the portfolio on behalf of three mandates: four hotels, or 38% of the deal in capital terms, through its “newly-established open-ended European Hotel Fund;” eight hotels (26%) through a “long-standing U.K. separate account mandate;” and the remaining portion through a “new separate account mandate with a Danish and a Dutch institutional investor,” which accounts for the remaining 36%.

Houston hotel demand likely to surge, analysts say: Based on experience dealing with other disasters, notably Hurricane Katrina, analysts are predicting Houston hotel occupancy to rise as demand is generated from relief workers, insurance adjustors and rehoused families due to Hurricane Harvey, the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the newspaper, business advisory CBRE Hotels “research is projecting a 15% increase in nightly hotel demand for the next four months in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth, with Houston expected to see the largest increase.” The largest problem facing hotels, The Journal reported, is staffing, with the incident evidently causing havoc with local populations.

Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights for STR (parent company of Hotel News Now), analyzed what impact Hurricane Harvey could have on the total U.S. hotel industry, using the aftereffects of Katrina and Superstorm Sandy as comparison points.

For a look at how hotel companies with properties in the storm’s path have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and how they are mobilizing to help their workers, guests and communities, see Hotel News Now’s story, which is being updated as the situation unfolds in Texas and Louisiana.

Florida issues state of emergency for Hurricane Irma: The next hurricane bearing down on the Americas, Hurricane Irma, has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm and is “likely to strengthen in the next 48 hours” as it begins to bear down on the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, according to the BBC.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center has predicted one possible path of Irma is that it will hit southern Florida early Sunday morning. Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday officially declared “that a state of emergency exists in every county in the State of Florida.”

Former Starwood CEO van Paasschen talks innovation: In an exclusive video interview with Hotel News Now, former CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Frits van Paasschen outlined why it is critical for hoteliers in the face of growing disruption to constantly embrace change and be flexible in operations and mindset. He also said that his former company was in good hands as long as Marriott International, Starwood’s owner today, “invests in a tech platform that keeps people staying in their program.”

One piece of sage advice from van Paasschen: “No matter what I’m doing today and how successful I’ve been, the seeds of my failure tomorrow are the belief that the way I’m doing it today is the way I should keep doing it.”

Hajj sees 2.35 million travel to Mecca: With the Muslim annual pilgrimage of Hajj officially ending on the evening of 4 September, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information reports the official number of pilgrims traveling the holy city of Mecca reached more than 2.35 million.

The huge organizational endeavor for the second year included electronic bracelets for each pilgrim, which included a 104-year-old man from Indonesia and a younger man, also from Indonesia, who walked almost 6,000 miles to reach the site. Among the pilgrims, one million came from Asia, 200,000 from Africa and 100,000 from Europe.

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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