January 26, 2017
Marriott chooses HQ site: Marriott International is staying in Bethesda, Maryland. The company’s search for a new headquarters has it staying in its current city outside Washington, D.C., on a US$600 million campus that will be developed by Boston Properties and The Bernstein Companies and include offices for 3,500 employees and a 230-room hotel. Both are scheduled to open in 2022.
Constitutional test for Trump? Liberal watchdog says it will file suit today against President Donald Trump alleging that he is violating a constitutional provision preventing him from taking gifts or payments from foreign governments – in the form of rent, room rentals and other payments from foreign government officials to his hotels.
Iran rising: Iran has seen increasing visits from air travelers for three years in a row, a trend likely to continue in 2017, according to travel analyst ForwardKeys. Total international arrivals were up 18.3% last year, sustaining an upward path since 2013 (up 2.7%), 2014 (24.8%) and 2015 (12.7%). The main source regions are North America, Europe and the Middle East. Together, they made up 83.7% of international arrivals during 2016. Germany, with a 14.3% market share, was up 8.3%, followed by the U.S. (10.7% share) up 9.3%. Bahrain, Canada and the U.K., all with significant market shares, also showed healthy growth in visitors to Iran. China and Pakistan were among the top 12 source regions, with 40% of Chinese visitors last year on business trips.
Bvlgari sets a date: Dubai’s Bvlgari-branded hotel will open in the fourth quarter of this year on the manmade Jumeirah Bay Island being built by Meeras. Residences will open shortly after. The property also will include a marina and yacht club.
Marriott pop-up lab: Marriott International introduced an interactive model hotel concept at the ALIS conference in Los Angeles. The pop-up innovation lab aims to crowdsource real-time feedback from the public on enhancements being considered for the company’s Aloft and Element brands, including a communal room shared among Element guestrooms that includes a kitchen and lounge area; customized “pots” of healthy food options at Aloft that is paid for through a kiosk; and tech-focused concepts for F&B such as a portable wine cart for Element that automatically pours wine when activated by a guest’s hotel room key card.
Trump D.C. loses money: U.S. President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel lost more than US$1.1 million in its first two months, according to figures that the Government Services Administration, which leases the property to the Trump Organization, gave to House Democrats. Trump’s revenue projections for the property were US$2.3 million higher.
IHG in Malaysia: InterContinental Hotels Group signed a management agreement with Golden Wave Sdn Bhd for a new 367-room Crowne Plaza hotel in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia. The Crowne Plaza Kota Kinabalu Waterfront, which will open in 2021, will mark the entry of the brand into East Malaysia and be part of a mixed-use waterfront development.
Marriott room record: Marriott International announced that 2016 represented a record year for rooms: 55,000, excluding the 381,000 rooms gained with the Starwood acquisition. The combined company signed 880 new hotel deals, representing nearly 136,000 rooms, under long-term management and franchise agreements, and opened over 400 hotels with more than 68,000 rooms around the world. Marriott now operates or franchises over 6,000 hotels and nearly 1.2 million rooms. According to STR as of December 2016, Marriott’s North American pipeline accounted for 36% of industry rooms under construction and 14% of industry rooms open, the company said.
Avani in Dubai: Dubai developer Nakheel and Thailand’s Minor Hotels signed a management agreement for a 372-room hotel to be constructed at Ibn Battuta Mall. The hotel will be managed under the Avani Hotels & Resorts brand; an opening date was not given.
Brickell site: Developer Tony Cho and hotel builder Robert Finvarb are creating a mixed-use development including a hotel in Brickell’s shopping and entertainment district in Miami. The two recently acquired the US$18.4 million property. The two are in discussions with hotel flags.
STR U.S. stats: The U.S. hotel industry reported positive year-over-year results in the three key performance metrics during 2016, according to STR. Compared with 2015, occupancy was nearly flat (+0.1% to 65.5%), and average daily rate (ADR) rose 3.1% to US$123.97. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) grew 3.2% to US$81.19. The absolute values in the three key performance metrics were each the highest STR has ever benchmarked. The U.S. hotel industry also set records for supply (more than 1.8 billion room nights) and demand (more than 1.2 billion room nights). Based on percentage growth for the year, demand (+1.7%) slightly outpaced supply (+1.6%). The supply growth figure was the largest for the industry since 2010.