5 things to know: 14 October 2020
5 things to know: 14 October 2020
14 OCTOBER 2020 9:43 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • UK travel industry requests support
  • NYC’s Mark Hotel bounces back
  • UAE investments in flux as pandemic bites
  • Asset managers’ outlook on ongoing pandemic
  • Hotels ramp up holiday packages

U.K. travel industry requests support: The United Kingdom’s travel industry is calling for more government support during the pandemic, which has “sapped demand for the overseas trips that are its lifeblood,” Reuters reports.

Among the support needed, the industry is asking the government for an airport COVID-19 testing regime, the article states.

Figures from ABTA, the U.K. industry body representing 4,300 travel brands, show that between February 2020 and July 2020, only 15% of 2,000 Britons responding to the survey took a foreign trip. That is compared to 64% in 2019.

“It is vital that the Global Travel Taskforce launched this month to consider a testing regime, and other measures to support recovery of the travel industry, acts decisively and urgently to help increase consumer confidence and get the industry moving again,” ABTA said in a statement on Wednesday.

NYC’s Mark Hotel bounces back: The luxury Mark Hotel in New York City faced foreclosure in May after COVID-19 travel restrictions caused the property to close. In June, the hotel reopened, and occupancy rates are still roughly 50% lower than typical, but the owner is optimistic, Bloomberg reports.

Alexico Group, the hotel’s owner, in July reached an agreement with lenders to raise new capital. The hotel is having success with outdoor dining and benefitting from average daily rates of more than $1,300 per night (about 20% higher than pre-pandemic ADRs), Bloomberg writes.

“It’s not a pretty picture overall,” Izak Senbahar, president of Alexico, said in an interview. “But we’re generating cash, paying our bills and employing 210 people. That’s really an upbeat mode for us.”

UAE investments in flux as pandemic bites: Both large and small investors in the United Arab Emirates are facing risks in their domestic business while outside capital is waiting in the wings, writes Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker from the recent Arabian Hotel Investment Conference’s online AHIC on the Road.

Ramsey Mankarious, founder of hotel investment firm Cedar Capital and previously EVP of acquisitions and development for Kingdom Holding, said the pandemic has not changed much in terms of his usual business partners. Private equity, including his clients, is busier than ever.

“They have a ton of capital they have raised over the last couple of years, and they have been waiting to deploy, because there has not been many things to do,” Mankarious said. “They are waiting for the distress. They are not looking to buy beautiful hotels that are expensive, they are looking for beautiful hotels that are under pressure, that need to be sold cheaply, where they can come in with cash and refinance later.”

Asset managers’ outlook on ongoing pandemic: In a new “Fall 2020 Industry Outlook Survey” released by the Hospitality Asset Managers Association, asset managers opine on the future of the hotel industry and efforts to support it.

The survey of 103 asset managers found nearly 60% are predicting a 50% to 75% decline in revenue per available room versus budget for their portfolio; 32% feel non-CMBS debt providers have been accommodating; and 41.75% believe industry RevPAR will return to 2019 levels by 2023.

Hotels ramp up holiday packages: As the holidays approach, hotels are preparing guest packages that include hosting a private Thanksgiving dinner with family, Forbes writes.

At The Ritz Carlton, Naples in Naples, Florida, larger families can occupy the 12th floor, which has 37 guestrooms and four suites as well as its private function spaces for a Thanksgiving dinner. The holiday menu features charcuterie produced in house, turkey basted with butter and herb or roast prime beef, truffle mashed potatoes and more.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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