Sydney WorldPride 2023 pushed hotel performance to pre-pandemic levels

Sydney WorldPride 2023 pushed hotel performance to pre-pandemic levels

Sydney WorldPride 2023 drove the market’s hotel average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) above pre-pandemic levels, while occupancy remained slightly below 2019, according to preliminary data from STR.

During the 17-day event, Sydney’s highest occupancy levels were recorded on Saturday, 4 March (95.8%) and Saturday, 25 February (95.4%). Throughout the period, daily occupancy remained above 80% with only three days falling below that mark. 

“WorldPride was held for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere with Sydney hosting a series of events across two weeks to commemorate LGBTQIA+ pride and celebrate contributions made,” said Matthew Burke, STR’s regional director for Pacific, Japan & Central South Asia. “The festival generated enormous interest with hotels reporting consistently high occupancy and room rates.” 

When compared with the matching 17-day period in 2019, Sydney occupancy was 2.3% lower while ADR (+25.7%) and RevPAR (+22.1%) were each up by double figures. In dollar terms, accommodation operators saw a room revenue lift of AUD43 million from 2019.

“Room rate during the period reached its peak on Saturday, 25 February, the day of the Mardi Gras Parade, with the metric coming in at AUD414, while occupancy reached 95.4%. That night was always anticipated to produce a high occupancy level, with STR’s Forward STAR data indicating a spike in occupancy on the books visible as early as November 2022.”

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IHG Hotels and Resorts: accelerating into a new era of growth

IHG Hotels and Resorts: accelerating into a new era of growth

IHG Hotels & Resorts today celebrates both impressive development momentum from a successful 2022 and the start of the annual HUNTER Hotel Investment Conference in Atlanta by releasing an update on its recent and planned future growth across the Americas region and beyond.

Elie Maalouf, CEO, of Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “IHG continues to invest in strategic efforts that strengthen our brand portfolio while building trust and confidence among our guests and owners. We continue to see strong growth in the Americas and around the world, notably among our Suites brands and the Holiday Inn brand family and through the addition of exceptional Luxury & Lifestyle properties and brand debuts in key markets. With more than 4,300 Americas hotels among a more than 6,100 property global portfolio that spans 18 new and iconic brands, we’re excited for the future and well positioned to deliver even greater levels of exceptional guest service and strong owner returns.”

Notable milestones across IHG Hotels & Resorts’ growing Americas and global portfolio include:

  • Holiday Inn Express: Remains IHG’s largest global brand with 3,000+ open properties and nearly 327,000 rooms spanning 50+ countries; 110 signings globally add to a pipeline with the potential to expand the brand’s market-leading scale by more than 20 percent; new downtown Washington, DC hotel among key 2022 openings.
  • Holiday Inn: Sixty-two newly opened hotels include an Atlanta property near IHG’s Americas headquarters, and the dual-branded Holiday Inn & Suites/avid hotel Mt. Juliet – Nashville Area and Holiday Inn/voco hotel Chicago Dwtn – Wolf Point; refreshed prototype features an evolved design and premium breakfast offering, with a further 50 Americas hotels slated for renovation in 2023.
  • avid hotels: Emerging brand of scale scheduled to open its 60th hotel in Conyers, Georgia this year, while also maintaining a 140+ property Americas pipeline that will more than triple its size in the region; new-to-market hotels opening later this year in Austin, Tuscaloosa, and Tulsa demonstrate the brand’s popularity within the midscale segment.
  • Atwell Suites: IHG’s newest all-suites brand designed for the next generation traveler opened its first two hotels in Miami and Denver in 2022; 11 new Americas signings have expanded its regional pipeline to 30+ properties.
  • Staybridge Suites: Extended stay brand’s growing global footprint includes 314 hotels spanning nearly 34,000 rooms; 142-hotel America’s pipeline equals nearly half of its current regional portfolio; the enhanced prototype adds seven keys while reducing build size by two percent.
  • Candlewood Suites: Mid-scale extended-stay brand’s expanding footprint includes 368 hotels and nearly 33,000 rooms; on track to increase its portfolio by one-third with 124 hotels in the pipeline.
  • voco hotels: IHG’s fastest growing premium brand has opened 10,000+ rooms among 18 countries within five years of launch; recently opened hotels in Chicago, Niagara Falls, and Guadalajara will join forthcoming U.S. properties in Flushing, Destin, and Laguna Hills and Mexico properties in Queretaro and Saltillo.
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts: Global pipeline will expand the brand’s current reach of 400+ hotels and 110,000+ rooms by 26 percent; three-quarters of the Americas portfolio will be new or have been recently renovated before the end of 2025, with 20 planned for completion in 2023.
  • EVEN Hotels: New and evolved prototype features a more cost-efficient design, refreshed restaurant concept, and integrated wellness experience; on pace to double its Americas presence with 10 hotels in the pipeline, including planned 2023 openings in Bozeman, Beaverton, Waco, and Austin.
  • Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas: Eight new signings grew the brand’s global pipeline to 38 hotels, which will triple its existing portfolio; the brand’s strong emergence in the Americas includes six signings, among them a resort with branded residences in Napa Valley.
  • Regent Hotels & Resorts: Reimagined upper-luxury brand’s first Americas property scheduled to open along Santa Monica Beach in late 2023; expanding global portfolio of 19 open and pipeline hotels including the recently reopened Carlton Cannes in France and signature properties in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Bali.
  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: The world’s first and largest international luxury hotel brand with 200+ open hotels and 90 in the pipeline; 10 Americas pipeline hotels include planned openings in Dallas, Grenada, Bellevue, and a recently signed resort on the island of Dominica.
  • Vignette Collection: Robust America’s entrance included initial signings in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Oregon’s wine country, followed by its early 2023 debut opening in Washington, DC; new signings in China, Japan, and Germany will expand the brand’s presence to more than a dozen countries, with 100+ properties globally expected to join during the next decade.
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants: First all-inclusive resort in Mexico among 10 new global signings that increased the boutique luxury brand’s global pipeline to 41 properties, representing growth of more than 50 percent on its 76 open hotels; 2022 also saw the opening of the brand’s first Australian property in Sydney; five new Americas openings planned for 2023.
  • Hotel Indigo: On pace to reach 200+ hotels in the next three years, doubling in half the time it took to open the first 100; eight Americas hotel openings in 2022 included the brand’s South American debut in the Galapagos Islands and three new properties in New York City.
  • Iberostar Beachfront Resorts: IHG’s first exclusive partner also represents its 18th global brand, and accounts for 70 hotels and 24,000+ rooms; global pipeline includes five properties planned for the coming years and expands guests’ access to the resort, beachfront and all-inclusive properties in the Americas and Southern Europe.

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U.S. hotel results for week ending 11 March

U.S. hotel results for week ending 11 March

Helped by the onset of spring break travel, U.S. hotel performance increased from the previous week, according to STR‘s latest data through 11 March. 

5-11 March 2023 (percentage change from comparable weeks in 2022, 2019):

  • Occupancy: 64.7% (+2.8%, -7.5%)
  • Average daily rate (ADR): US$158.20 (+8.1%, +16.6%)
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$102.38 (+11.1%, +7.8%)

Among the Top 25 Markets, Washington, D.C., saw the highest year-over-year increase in occupancy (+21.8% to 67.6%). None of the Top 25 Markets saw an occupancy lift over 2019. 

D.C. also showed the most substantial ADR (+23.4% to US$183.86) and RevPAR growth (+50.2% to US$124.33) year over year.

In terms of ADR, Anaheim reported the highest ADR (+51.4% to US$245.62) and RevPAR (+42.2% to US$189.81) increases when measuring against 2019. 

The steepest RevPAR declines from 2019 were seen in San Francisco (-22.8% to US$144.02) and Minneapolis (-15.2% to US$61.44).  Year over year, San Diego (-16.1% to US$61.99) reported the largest RevPAR decrease.

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Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts draws back the curtain on the debut of Le Méridien Melbourne

Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts draws back the curtain on the debut of Le Méridien Melbourne

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary hotel brands, unveils Le Méridien Melbourne, marking the brand’s debut to Australia. Located on a prime location overlooking Parliament House, Spring Street, and the east of Melbourne, the hotel invites travellers to savour the moment and connect with Melbourne’s famed art, culture, and culinary scene through the brand’s timeless perspective on modern travel.

“We are excited to introduce Le Méridien to Australia and bring the brand’s European essence of savouring the good life to global tastemakers and locals,” said Jennifer Connell, Global Brand Leader, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts and Vice President, Distinctive Premium Brands, Marriott International. “Melbourne is a destination known for its rich history and thriving art, culture, and culinary scene, which makes it the perfect fit for Le Méridien. We look forward to welcoming travellers as they explore Melbourne in style.”

Originally built as a hotel in the 1850s, the site has been a cornerstone of Melbourne’s arts and culture scene through its many iterations as a theatre, cinema, nightclub, and live performance venue. Returning to its original interpretation as a hotel, Le Méridien Melbourne pays homage to its rich history through curated design, immersive art installations, and exciting culinary collaborations.

Mid-Century Modern Design
The property offers 235 guest rooms, including 14 suites, where contemporary style meets mid-century elegance with custom joinery, eye-catching lighting, and chic marble bathrooms. Soothing neutrals are paired with tactile finishes and a pop of colour – such as the striking air-force blue velvet chairs that give a nod to the brand’s Air France origins. High room floors feature floor-to-ceiling views over the pool and out to the east of Melbourne, while lower levels immerse travellers in Melbourne’s bustling laneways or the historic red brick and stained-glass façade.

All guest rooms feature the brand’s signature room scent, Malin + Goetz bath amenities, signature Le Méridien beds, Marshall Speakers, 55-inch LCD TVs, signature bottled cocktails by The Everleigh Bottling Co., a personal coffee machine with artisan coffee pods, and a dedicated working desk designed for the creative-minded traveller. Suites are elevated with black stone kitchenettes, premium Smeg appliances, luxury barware, a selection of art books, beautifully-crafted oak board games, and Yamaha MusicCast 500 turntables with a selection of vinyls from artists such as Prince and James Brown, who once performed on-site.

Focus on Local Art
Retaining the original Art Deco façade paired with chic mid-century interiors, the 12-story building designed by Melbourne architecture practice, Peddle Thorp, brings a sense of glamour and theatre to Bourke Street. Guests are greeted with a private porte-cochère driveway featuring a striking mural by local artist Stephen Baker, before entering the dazzling lobby filled with mid-century inspired furniture, polished natural stone, and terrazzo. A large-scale sculptural installation by Marta Figueiredo and projected video art by Wendy Yu introduces lobby visitors to Le Méridien’s global Unlock Art programme, which connects guests with the “Art of Noticing” self-guided walking tour and complimentary art gallery access, all simply accessible by presenting their Unlock Art™ room key.

European Classics with a Local Twist
Le Splash – the showpiece rooftop pool and terrace – hosts an additional large-scale mural by Stephen Baker and features an open-air bar serving cocktails, poolside snacks, and inventive local gelato flavours from Le Scoop by Le Méridien – the brand’s signature handcrafted gelato and sorbet cream programme. There will also be a seasonal pop-up cinema on the rooftop that will launch later this year, in collaboration with Melbourne International Film Festival and French Film Festival. Adjoining the pool deck is a 24-hour TechnoGym complete with virtual personal trainers and a sauna. Intermission is a lobby café serving barista-brewed Axil coffee by day, and transforms into a wine bar by night, offering petit plates and an extensive list of local and imported rosé wines. In the subterranean level, low-lit restaurant, Dolly, serves elevated European dishes by Executive Chef Christian Graebner made from local Victorian produce, accompanied by an extensive wine list, and artful cocktails designed in collaboration with The Everleigh Bottling Co.

Creative Meetings & Events
The hotel offers 420 square metres of total conference space, with the largest presenting 182 square metres that can be divided into two rooms. A dedicated meetings floor features four additional rooms and three private working booths. The facilities in the heart of Melbourne CBD include ample on-site parking, high-speed Internet access, and the latest audio and video equipment. These flexible, functional spaces are crafted for conferences, planning workshops, executive boardroom meetings, social functions, and weddings.

“We are excited to draw back the curtain on Melbourne’s most glamourous new hotel and invite guests to savour the good life through immersive art, elevated European dining, and our showpiece rooftop pool,” said Peter Minatsis, General Manager, Le Méridien Melbourne.

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UNWTO hosts tourism data workshop for Asia and the pacific members in Nepal

UNWTO hosts tourism data workshop for Asia and the pacific members in Nepal

UNWTO has concluded a three-day workshop focused on helping Member States from across Asia and the Pacific better measure and manage their tourism sectors.

Recognizing the importance of regional cooperation as destinations across Asia and the Pacific re-open to tourism, UNWTO organized the workshop alongside the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal and the Nepal Tourism Board and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea.

Approximately 200 participants from nine Member States took part in the workshop, which began with a high-level discussion around the theme of “Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism for people, planet and prosperity”. Speakers emphasized the need for cooperation at the national and international levels in order to generate the reliable data needed to guide the economic, social, and environmental aspects of tourism for sustainable development.

Interactive training sessions

Following on from the opening discussions, UNWTO hosted a series of technical training sessions focused on tourism statistics, measuring the economic impact of tourism, and measuring the sustainability of tourism, and offered an interactive platform for participants to learn and exchange good practices. Participants then reviewed the fundamental basics of tourism statistics in relation to the UN statistical standard “International Recommendations for Tourism Statistics 2008”, before they explored the technical requirements for a successful TSA compilation.

The final session introduced the MST Statistical Framework, which offered unique insights into the importance of using MST indicators for policy development and the compilation of official tourism SDG indicators.

Pan-Regional Participation

Taking part in the workshop were high-level representatives from the National Tourism Administrations and National Statistical Offices of Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Maldives and Thailand, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative of Nepal.

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Travel Managers weigh in on Business Travel’s Outlook for 2023

Travel Managers weigh in on Business Travel’s Outlook for 2023

A new report from GBTA and Spotnana reveals travel manager sentiment on post-pandemic recovery, changing priorities, economic risks, and balancing cost savings and the traveler experience

A majority of U.S. corporate travel buyers expect their company’s business travel to ramp up and return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. Despite concerns about inflation and rising prices, only one in five travel managers say their companies have begun to limit business travel. Since the onset of the pandemic, however, demands on travel managers’ time and priorities have grown, including addressing traveler needs, conducting data analysis, and the increasing challenge to balance cost savings with the business traveler experience.

This is according to a new report – “How Travel Managers Will Succeed in 2023” – from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association, and Spotnana, the modern infrastructure for the travel industry. The report is based on survey responses from 151 U.S.-based corporate travel buyers and addresses key questions, including when travel managers expect business travel to return to pre-pandemic levels, current and new priorities in their roles, and the travel program metrics they are now tracking.

“We wanted to look to those on the front lines who have been navigating all the changes happening in business travel for their expert insights and outlook on what might lie ahead. Tapping into the experiences and perspectives of travel managers provides valuable knowledge that can empower all stakeholders to optimize their business travel programs,” said Johnny Thorsen, VP Partnerships, Spotnana.

“This latest research not only provides travel managers with beneficial benchmarking data and a glimpse into the priorities of their peers, but also crucial insights for suppliers and other industry stakeholders to make informed decisions and stay ahead as they plan for the future of business travel,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.

Here are some key highlights from the report:

  • RECOVERY CONTINUES ON TRACK. Travel managers largely expect most types of business travel will reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, including domestic business travel (74%), external meetings (77%), conference/group travel (76%) and internal meetings (69%).

    One in 10 travel managers, however, say they do not expect business travel volumes to return until 2025 or later, citing inflation and rising prices as the top concerns, followed by travel disruptions and a potential recession. Few feel business travel will never return to pre-pandemic levels, underscoring its importance for companies regardless of travel type.

  • BUSINESS TRAVEL GOES ON AS PLANNED. Most companies (64%) say they are unlikely to limit business travel, although many are taking a wait-and-see approach and not seriously considering limiting business travel (36%). Only one in five travel managers say their company (19%) is already implementing a plan to limit business travel.
  • BALANCING COST AND TRAVELER PRIORITIES. Both travel managers (54%) and senior leadership (65%) are prioritizing cost savings, but travel managers rank traveler experience higher (51%) than executives (42%), making it more challenging to obtain buy-in to focus beyond costs. The study highlights the increased importance of addressing travel experience metrics, especially as business traveler preferences continue to evolve.
  • A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TRAVEL MANAGER NOW. When asked which tasks they dedicate more time to now compared to before the pandemic, travel managers most frequently cite traveler communications / answering questions (72%) and overseeing their travel management company (TMC) relationship (59%). They also spend more time on data analysis (52%) and risk management/traveler tracking (42%). Few report they spend less time on key travel program components, demonstrating the growing complexity of managed travel programs.
  • BENEFITS FROM COLLABORATION AND METRICS. Travel managers must collaborate with a number of stakeholders, the most commonly cited being finance/accounting (69%), senior leadership/C-suite (49%), and risk management/ security (44%). Only three in five (59%), however, regularly share travel-related performance metrics with senior leadership, revealing an opportunity for more regular reporting to demonstrate the value of a managed travel program and travel managers.

    Three in five travel managers (62%) say cost-focused metrics are the most important measures they will use to evaluate their program’s success in 2023. However, a notable number (32%) say travel experience-focused metrics will be the single most important measure they will use to gauge success.

  • OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARTNERS. Asked about their top TMC pain points, travel managers most commonly said agents/assistance (48%), data analysis/reporting/dashboarding (37%), and the ability of their TMC to deliver a “customized” travel program (33%). Concerning their primary OBT, travel managers identify end-user/traveler experience (49%), the ability to manage changes or cancellations (47%), and innovation (41%) as key pain points.

Data collection for the online survey of U.S.-based travel managers took place from December 12, 2022, to January 3, 2023, with 151 qualifying responses received.

GBTA members can download the complete research report from the GBTA Hub. The report can also be downloaded on the Spotnana website.

On Wednesday, March 22 (11-12noon ET) join a free webinar for insights from the report and how travel managers will succeed in 2023 featuring Spotnana’s Johnny Thorsen, and GBTA Research Director, Chris Ely. Register here.

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