5 things to know: 26 September 2018
5 things to know: 26 September 2018
26 SEPTEMBER 2018 9:31 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Best Western details new boutique brands Sadie, Aiden
  • Hyatt, AccorHotels make push to expand in Africa
  • Choice partners with Oz Real estate to grow Cambria
  • Demand, group highlight August US hotel performance
  • Archipelago signs Saudi master franchise agreement

Best Western details new boutique brands Sadie, Aiden: During day one of The Lodging Conference, Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ President and CEO David Kong, along with VP of boutique and upscale brands Amy Hulbert, shared details about two new boutique brands added to its portfolio, Sadie Hotel and Aiden Hotel, reports Hotel News Now’s Jeff Higley.

Sadie, which will compete in the upscale segment, and Aiden, which will run in the upper-midscale lane, will attract conversion opportunities, and will provide owners opportunity to eliminate artificial rate ceilings in each segment, Kong said.

“For Best Western to grow scale, we have to focus on conversion opportunities,” he said. “But to do conversion properly, we have to be able to tell a good repositioning story.”

Also on day one of The Lodging Conference, attendees heard from speakers who shared mostly positive outlooks for the hotel industry, which were somewhat dampened by concerns over the current labor environment.

For a full recap of Lodging Day One, click here, and check back with HNN for more this week.

Hyatt, AccorHotels make push to expand in Africa: Hyatt Hotels Corporation and AccorHotels both are looking to capitalize on a growing economy in Africa by targeting the continent for expansion of their hotel portfolios, Reuters reports. Hyatt, which currently has nine hotels in Africa, looks to more than double its presence there by 2020, while AccorHotels, with more than 100 hotels in Africa, has announced it will invest $1 billion to further expand there.

“Air travel has improved tremendously, it has become much more open, people are freer to travel. Hyatt is very keen to go where our customers want to go,” Kurt Straub, Hyatt’s VP of operations for Middle East and Africa, told Reuters on the sidelines of an event in Nairobi to announce the opening of the company’s first hotel in Kenya in 2020.

Mark Willis, AccorHotels’ CEO for the Middle East and Africa region, told Reuters the company has plans to expand the brand’s presence in Cape Town, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Abidijan and Kampala.

Choice partners with Oz Real Estate to grow Cambria: Choice Hotels International has signed a letter of intent with an affiliate of Oz Real Estate to grow Choice’s upscale brand Cambria Hotels throughout the U.S., according to a news release.

Choice Hotels’ board of directors has authorized an additional contribution of $250 million in capital investment to help support the joint venture “and other growth opportunities for Cambria Hotels,” the release states.

“The Cambria Hotels brand continues to drive success for Choice Hotels and, as evidenced by signing this LOI, we are attracting some of the largest institutional real estate investment groups in the world. The LOI with Oz Real Estate signals our companies' commitment to the brand through a contemplated 50-50 joint-venture agreement that could result in building as many as 50 Cambria Hotels in strong corporate travel markets," David Pepper, Choice’s chief development officer, said in the release.

Demand, group highlight August U.S. hotel performance: August was the last month this year before the U.S. hotel industry will begin to see tough hurricane demand comps from 2017, but performance data for the month shows hotels generated strong overall revenue per available and group demand, writes Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights at STR, parent company of HNN.

RevPAR grew 3.5% and has been positive for 102 straight months, Freitag notes. Room demand of 116 million roomnights was the strongest of any August STR has recorded and the third strongest in 2018. This August, the industry sold 3.6 million more roomnights than in August 2017.

Archipelago signs Saudi master franchise: Jakarta, Indonesia-based hotel group Archipelago International announced it has signed a long-term master franchise agreement with Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based Warifat Hospitality Limited, which is a subsidiary of Jabal Omar Development Company, according to a news release.

“This multi-hotel agreement grants development and branding rights to Warifat Hospitality for three of Archipelago’s hotel brands: Grand Aston, Aston and Harper and will enable the roll out of these brands, not only at JODC’s flagship development in Makkah, but throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the release states.

The 560-room Jabal Omar Grand Aston, the first hotel under the agreement, is expected to be complete by July 2019.

Archipelago International President and CEO John Flood said the agreement will help cater to “the growing numbers of Indonesian and Southeast Asian visitors to the Kingdom.”

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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