Construction of the Hotel Indigo in the Channel District of Tampa is set to begin before the end of the year.
The $29 million, 168-room Hotel Indigo will be located at Meridian, Cumberland and 11th streets near the Florida Aquarium.
We are ready and have loan commitments, and all indications are we are moving forward,” said Ford Smith, president of Tampa-based BayStar Hotel Group.
There are 27 other Hotel Indigos across the United States, with six in Florida and one each in Canada, Mexico and England.
The hotel will be a beautiful and luxurious one, with hardwood floors and area rugs in guestrooms, and a tone setting lobby with a surfboard-shaped check-in rather than the conventional lobby desks.
Each Indigo Hotel tends to have elements that set it apart from the others, but all implement the “Golden Mean” or “Phi,” a concept from the year 1200 that involves ratios of numbers that contribute to pleasant eye patterns.
The hotel should create 50 new jobs, as well as the 150 to 200 jobs created for the construction project.
With over 25 hotels and 10,000 guestrooms lined up in development projects, the Fairmont Hotel & Resorts will continue its aggressive growth strategy into 2009.
Their impressive portfolio of luxury hotels includes locations such as the famous Plaza Hotel in New York City, the Fairmont Mayakoba in Mexico City and the Fairmont Singapore.
2009 holds a variety of projects for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts including expansion into rapidly growing markets in Saudi Arabaia and China. Before the end of 2009, eleven new hotels will open their doors, including the 222-room Fairmont Beijing and 150-room Fairmont Battery Wharf in Boston’s historic North End.
Overall the chain will expand by 3,700 guestrooms in locations as varied as Kenya, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.
The US Hotel industry has posted year-over year declines in both RevPAR and Room Occupancy rates for September 2008, according to reports form STR.
Occupancy in September fell 5.9 percent to 60.6 percent, compared to 2007′s 64.5 percent. RevPAR for the month was down as well, decling 3.1% to $65.08 from September 2007′s $67.13.
Some markets still performed well, including New Orleans with a +20.2 percent revPAR, Denver with a +12.3 percent revPAR, New York with +8.4 percent revPAR and Dallas with +6.4 percent revPAR.
The stalwart San Francisco market also reported gains of +8.4 percent in revPAR for the month.
Overall, however, the industry faced a very difficult third quarter in 2008, with revPAR growth moving into negative territoy for the first time since the second quarter of 1993.
“We expect a continued difficult operating environment in the final quarter of 2008. Room supply growth will continue while demand growth (roomnights sold) likely will remain soft in many markets, driven by slowing economic growth.”
- Bobby Bowers, STR Senior Vice President of Operations
While worse news is digested daily by Western hospitality companies and hotel franchises, eyes have turned towards the Middle East for a glimmer of hope and a rosier picture.
Dubai, the capital of hotel management companies in the Middle East, continues to astound with their unprecedented success story and growing market share. Hoteliers have long been fleeing to set up shop in Dubai, where they enjoy tax-free salaries, a superior quality of life and the plentitude of career opportunities.
While overall salaries for VPs of development and other high ranking officers in Hotel companies are equal to or less than their counterparts across the world, there are quite a few hidden perks.
First, they keep the 40% that would otherwise be eaten by taxes. Second, they usually have housing provided as they are working there as expats. Putting the numbers together, a position today in Dubai is, in all ways, quite a good deal.
It remains to be seen how much the current crisis will work its way into the Middle East market, but for now they seem quite prepared to weather this financial nightmare.
Utell Hotels & Resorts reported a 21% increase in revenue to hotels between January and August 2008 on hotelbook.com.
HotelBook.com offers more than 6,000 independent, boutique and small group hotels in 2,000 cities around the world, and averages stays of 2.8 days and an average increase of £8 per night in booking rates compared to 2007.
Even with economic trends on a downward spiral, the operation was able to post a respectable profit.
“We’ve further developed hotelbook this year to enable the independent and boutique hotels represented to better reach travellers globally seeking a unique and personalised experience,” said Wimborne. “The revenue results are evidence that our campaigns are delivering for both hotels and customers.”
InterContinental Hotel Groups (IHG) signed an agreement with Shimao Group to open six new hotels under three brands in four cities.
The hotels are slated for opening in 2013.
The new deal will see IHG, the world’s largest hotel group by room numbers add another 2,000 to that count.
‘We are delighted to work with such a respected partner,’ said Andy Cosslett, chief executive, IHG PLC. ‘The agreement demonstrates Shimao’s confidence in our brands and the infrastructure we have built in China since 1984. One third of all our new signings are with hotel owners who are already working with us.’
Shimao Group and IHG have worked together previously in a deal concerning the management of Holiday Inn in China, among others.
Smith Travel Research (STR) announced preliminary figures for US Hotel performance in September 2008.
STR is the global leader in tracking and benchmarking for the lodging industry, and the most recent reports show the overall year-over-year room occupancy rate to be down between 5 to 7 percent from 2007.
Revenue per available room (REVPAR) is projected to be down between 2 and 4 percent.
The different sectors of the lodging industry varied slightly, with midscale hotels with food and beverage services coming in with a decline in RevPAR around 6 percent, and upscale segments RevPAR between a flat rate and down only 2 percent.
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Doubltree has opened the ninth Tennesee hotel in Chattanooga, or, “The Scenic City”.
The $26 million transformation turned a focused-service hotel into an upscale, full-service hotel with stylish rooms, modern and fully equipped meeting and event space and high quality dining experiences.
Chattanooga is located between Atlanta and Nashville and is a popular leisure and meeting center for travelers and businesses across the Southeast United States. The new Doubletree hotel is located adjacent to the popular Riverfront district, with nearby attractions that include the Tennessee Aquarium, Children’s Discovery Museum and the Bluff View Art District.
‘We are proud to open our ninth Tennessee Doubletree hotel in the great city of Chattanooga,’ said Dave Horton, senior vice president – brand management for Doubletree Hotels. ‘The Doubletree Hotel Chattanooga has undergone an outstanding transformation, which has revived one of the city’s landmark buildings. The opening of the Doubletree Hotel Chattanooga is a great example of our strategic development commitment to provide both business and leisure travelers with refreshingly unexpected hotel experiences in exciting locations.’
With the turbulence in world credit markets continuing to gyrate aggressively, the Chicago-based Strategic Hotels & Resorts has put the breaks on the Aqua Building.
The Aqua Building is currently under construction and adjacent to the company’s Fairmont Chicago Hotel.
“Despite the opportunities this property presents, the financial markets and economic operating environment have changed significantly since we first entered into the agreement to purchase the space in 2006,” said Laurence Geller, president and chief executive of Strategic. “We remain committed to our thoughtful and disciplined business approach which, given the higher cost of capital, escalating total project costs and our dedication to maintaining sufficient liquidity for all market conditions, makes it imprudent for the company to proceed at this time.”
The company will swallow $36 million in charges during the third quarter as a result.
The Hilton Hotels Corporation has announced aggressive plans to more than quadruple its Carribean and Latin America presence. A total of 150 new hotels are slated to be added into the portfolio over the next five years.
The announcement is in line with Hilton’s earlier announcement to add 1,000 new hotel properties to its portfolios within the next ten years.
“Expanding our global platform is a strategic priority for Hilton. We are focusing on accelerating the growth of our international management and franchise business by securing strategic development agreements and employing resources in international markets. This is the most exciting time in the company’s history and there are tremendous opportunities which we are acting on to accomplish our ambitious plans.”
Steve Goldman, President Global Development & Real Estate
Currently, Hilton Hotels has forty-two Caribbean and Latin America projects underway, which will be added to the existing fifty-one hotels they currently possess bringing the new total to two-hundred.
Read more about the new properties and their locations.