5 things to know: 4 April 2018
5 things to know: 4 April 2018
04 APRIL 2018 9:27 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • RLH Corporation to acquire Knights Inn brand for $27m
  • Marriott looking to lower OTA commissions
  • Radisson focused on brand image, growth
  • Thai chain Dusit launches millennial brand ASAI
  • Puerto Rico saw Easter tourism boom

RLH Corporation to acquire Knights Inn brand for $27m: RLH Corporation announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase the Knights Inn brand for $27 million in an all-cash deal from Wyndham Hotel Group, according to a news release. Knights Inn is an economy brand with more than 350 hotels in North America and another 47 in the pipeline.

“The acquisition of Knights Inn enhances RLH Corporation’s position as one of the 10 largest hotel franchisors in the world,” RLH Corporation President and CEO Greg Mount said in the news release. “In the first quarter of 2018, we announced the sale of five hotels and committed to enhance the company’s aggressive organic growth with acquisitions that could be accomplished primarily with our existing cost base and resources. This acquisition will increase our franchise units by over 30%, and we will continue to grow the brand aggressively as we have demonstrated with our other brands.”

The deal is expected to close during the second quarter of 2018.

Marriott looking to lower OTA commissions: Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson said the company is aiming to lower the commissions it pays to online travel agencies, starting with Expedia Group once its contract is renegotiated later this year, Reuters reports.

This will mark the first time the Bethesda, Maryland-based hotel company has negotiated contracts with OTAs since Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016, the news agency reports. Lowering commissions will likely boost Marriott’s revenue per available room, “but may hurt the travel agents,” according to the article.

“We would certainly like to pay less. We will have to see how the negotiations go,” Sorenson told Reuters.

Sorenson spoke with Hotel News Now’s Sean McCracken at the recent Hunter Hotel Conference about other developments and priorities at Marriott. Watch the video interview here.

Radisson focused on brand image, growth: During the first day of the Americas Business Conference, Rezidor Hotel Group President and CEO Federico González announced the company is in the process of changing its corporate name to Radisson Hospitality, reports HNN’s Danielle Hess. The change is subject to approval by shareholders, which is expected sometime in April.

Also speaking at the conference, Radisson Hospitality CEO John Kidd said the recent activities of the company’s major shareholder, HNA Group, are not a concern.

“(HNA) purchased the Carlson side of Rezidor Group with the intention of bringing out (value),” Kidd said. “My esteemed colleagues and I, we’ve spent the last year coming up with (a plan), which will drive that value up, and we’re just really excited about that side of the process.”

Thai chain Dusit launches millennial brand ASAI: Thailand-based Dusit International, a property and development company, announced a new hotel brand for “millennial-minded travelers” named ASAI Hotels, according to a company news release.

Expected to launch in the first quarter of 2019 with its first property in Bangkok, the brand will be designed to “link curious, millennial-minded travelers with authentic local experiences in vibrant cities and resort destinations worldwide,” the release states.

Five additional properties are already in the pipeline, including three hotels in Cebu, Philippines; one hotel in Yangon, Myanmar; and another in Bangkok. Each property is expected to open in 2019.

Puerto Rico saw Easter tourism boom: During the week of 30 March, which included Easter, Passover and spring break vacations, Puerto Rico experienced record tourism, according to The Puerto Rico Tourism Company, reports CNN Money.

“Many hotels operated at or near 100% occupancy during the holiday weekend,” which indicates a rebound in tourism to the island following the devastation of Hurricane Maria last year, the news outlet reports.

The 400-room Wyndham Gran Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort near San Juan was sold out over the holiday weekend, GM Nils Stolzlechner told CNN Money. This is a record for the property’s sales and occupancy, he said, and guests spent twice as much in food-and-beverage and entertainment spaces compared to previous Easter weekends.

Compiled by Dana Miller. 

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