Holiday Inn | April 23, 2021
Ken Hamlet, the former CEO of Holiday Inn, intends to use a $500 million war chest to acquire limited-service hotels (those without facilities such as a restaurant or spa) and reposition them as properties with a more upscale customer experience.
Consider it adding more of the Four Seasons experience to roadside hotels, as Hamlet put it.
He was CEO of Holiday Inn for nine years in the 1980s and early 1990s, and during that time the business was purchased by IHG and introduced or acquired brands such as Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, and Harrah's. Rather than starting his fund, Hamlet joined Olive Tree Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment group where he now serves as CEO, to pursue deals.
“I began to think of maybe now is a very good time to take advantage of getting back into the hotel industry and purchasing distressed assets or buying assets that were well-located, well-branded, relatively well-managed, and that were being distressed and only needed additional capital to get them up to 2021 standards,” he said this week.
The only thing is that there is a litany of hotel investors drooling about hotel investment prospects that did not come true before the pandemic.
Investment firms such as CGI Merchant Group, in collaboration with New York Yankees baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, and Bainbridge DXS are also scouring the market for hotel acquisitions of hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. Dreamscape Cos., owner of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, has more than $1 billion in cash to purchase hotels, including troubled business-transient and convention-focused properties.
Olive Tree's capital distinguishes itself by concentrating on limited-service hotels in a mix of the 75 major U.S. cities as well as some secondary and tertiary markets such as Las Cruces, New Mexico. As long as there is a nearby demand driver, such as a hospital, university, or office park, the company can seek a deal. The majority of buyers are looking for troubled hotels in metropolitan markets or resorts in drive-to and leisure destinations.
Olive Tree intends to upgrade its guest rooms with more innovative features, such as automated check-ins and co-working-inspired workspaces in public areas. But, in addition to the technology, Hamlet desires enhanced client support, such as staffers adding personal touches to the guest experience, such as a bottle of wine or glass of champagne delivered to a room or hors d'oeuvres and chocolate bars in the lobby.
The move is reminiscent of how Holiday Inn became a brand. Kemmons Wilson established the roadside motel business in the early 1950s after becoming dissatisfied with the choices offered on a road trip between Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.
He set out to fix it because there was no consistency or quality in the accommodation experience. Olive Tree intends to replicate the success of existing limited-service hotels that are underperforming.
Many of Olive Tree's acquisitions would be branded by major companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG. However, the company is not opposed to maintaining property independence or even launching its brand.
It is unclear when any of those acquisition goals will become available. Olive Tree reportedly has one hotel under contract and another "in the works."
Due to a mix of bank forbearance on mortgages and several rounds of federal stimulus by offerings such as the Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable small business loans, there haven't been as many distressed hotel properties exchanged throughout the last year. The Olive Tree team does not anticipate having to wait much longer.
AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS
Ultra Air & Navitaire | November 03, 2021
Ultra Air, Colombia’s new ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC), has chosen Navitaire’s Airline Platform to launch its services. The airline will use Navitaire’s New Skies® digital-first airline platform for reservations and retailing, and its integrated day-of-departure, Digital Experience Suite, NDC Gateway, Ancillary Revenue Optimization, revenue accounting and loyalty solutions. Navitaire, an Amadeus company, provides technology and business solutions to the airline industry, powering over 60 of the world’s leading low-cost and hybrid carriers todayAs an ULCC, Ultra Air will offer low fares, greater choice, and easy, digital convenience to travelers, making regional travel more accessible and enticing travelers to explore Colombia and Latin America. Ultra Air will launch with a fleet of A320 jets from hubs in Medellín, Bogotá, Cartagena, and Cali, and aims to grow to 40 aircraft over the next five years.
Navitaire’s digital commerce and digital experience capabilities are part of a strong foundation designed to let newly launching airlines like Ultra Air define their model and add features at their own pace. Using Navitaire’s extensive API suite, proven retailing, and distribution capabilities gives the airline flexible options to offer bundled or a la carte ancillary services throughout a customer’s journey. Navitaire's dynamic distribution, including its cloud-based NDC-enabled and digital channels, lets Ultra Air readily connect with industry and business partners, ranging from online travel agencies and airlines to travel commerce companies, all using modern technology.
“This is the third time I get to work with Navitaire and I am extremely excited about the possibilities with the Navitaire suite of products,”-William Shaw, Ultra Air CEO.
The Ultra Air executive team brings a wealth of experience, having earned superb credentials working with global carriers and leading LCCs in the region. Navitaire’s integrated solutions provide this seasoned group of entrepreneurs with a versatile toolkit to jumpstart and compete as a data-driven airline.
“Navitaire is proud to partner with UItra Air to help its launch and we are excited to share our deep experience working alongside many of the world’s most successful airlines since they were start-ups,Our digital-first solutions provide Ultra Air with an open, connected, and reliable platform, all underpinned by agile, modern technology ideally suited for today’s digital world.”
-David P. Evans, Navitaire CEO.
Navitaire’s New Skies reservations solution is a digital, e-commerce-first airline platform with comprehensive retailing, analytics, and passenger personalization tools. The solution is designed for efficiency, using a single record approach that manages both the offer and the order throughout the passenger lifecycle. Real-time data for on-demand decision-making and omnichannel processing are hallmarks of New Skies, which are leveraged extensively by airlines with clear industry leadership in innovation.
About Ultra Air
Ultra Air (www.ultraair.com) the new ultra-low-cost airline plans to be ready for takeoff at the end of 2021, after receiving authorization from the Civil Aeronautics of Colombia to operate commercial flights in local and international destinations such as Quito, Lima, Aruba, Curaçao, Punta Cana, Cancun and Mexico City. Ultra Air chose the Airbus A320 family to operate its fleet from José María Córdova airport hub in Rionegro. Ultra Air's entry into the market will reduce air fares by 20% and will generate approximately 36,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.
Navitaire (www.navitaire.com), an Amadeus company, delivers industry-leading technology services supporting growth, profitability, and innovation to more than 60 airlines and rail companies worldwide, carrying a total of 819 million annual passengers in 2019, including many of the world’s most successful low-cost and hybrid airlines. Navitaire offers a full suite of proven solutions focused on revenue generation and streamlining costs in reservations, ancillary sales, loyalty, revenue accounting, and business intelligence. Navitaire has offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Amadeus Group. Learn more about Navitaire’s industry leadership in shaping the world of travel at www.navitaire.com.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited | December 23, 2021
Melco Resorts & Entertainment, a leading global developer, owner and operator of integrated resort facilities, announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Marriott International to bring the W Hotels Worldwide brand to Studio City Phase 2, the thrilling new cinematically-themed entertainment and leisure destination in Macau.
Scheduled to be open together with Studio City Phase 2 in December 2022, W Macau - Studio City is set to become an iconic addition in the world class leisure destination through its detail-driven, unexpected design, signature Whatever/Whenever® service and innovative programming.
Situated in the heart of Cotai, W Macau - Studio City will serve as a buzzing centerpiece for Studio City Phase 2. The development of W Macau - Studio City will complement Studio City’s other hospitality offerings which include one of Asia’s largest indoor & outdoor water parks, a six-screen Cineplex, residency shows, and state-of-the-art MICE space.
W Macau - Studio City expects to feature 557 guestrooms, including 127 suites and wellness facilities, a spa, fitness center and indoor swimming pool. The hotel is set to amplify Macau’s social scene with its high energy public spaces and culinary experiences. Living Room (W’s signature take on the hotel lobby) and WOOBAR will be the social hub for guests to connect, whereas two destination dining venues will offer a luscious menu of international cuisine with an Asian twist and a specialty restaurant featuring the finest Chinese and Portuguese dishes. Guest can look forward to a W Sound Suite, the brand’s signature with an on-site recording studio. The new hotel will offer a total of 1,100 square meters of event and meeting space.
“Melco is thrilled to welcome W Hotels to Studio City and Macau. W Hotels is without a doubt one of the world’s iconic luxury lifestyle brands that will elevate Studio City’s hospitality offerings to a new level. Together we look forward to bringing new experiences to our guests and further strengthen Macau’s proposition as a world-class leisure destination.”
-David Sisk, Chief Operating Officer – Macau Resorts of Melco Resorts & Entertainment,
Macau’s super-charged energy and unique identity as an entertainment hub, together with its mix of Eastern and Western culture, makes it a natural fit for W Hotels,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International. “In line with Marriott International's ‘Brand + Destination’ development strategy, we are excited to be partnering with Melco Resorts & Entertainment to introduce W Macau - Studio City and bring the brand's luxury lifestyle to Macau.
About Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited
The Company, with its American depositary shares listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (NASDAQ: MLCO), is a developer, owner and operator of integrated resort facilities in Asia and Europe. The Company currently operates Altira Macau (www.altiramacau.com), an integrated resort located at Taipa, Macau and City of Dreams (www.cityofdreamsmacau.com), an integrated resort located in Cotai, Macau. Its business also includes the Mocha Clubs (www.mochaclubs.com), which comprise the largest non-casino based operations of electronic gaming machines in Macau. The Company also majority owns and operates Studio City (www.studiocity-macau.com), a cinematically-themed integrated resort in Cotai, Macau. In the Philippines, a Philippine subsidiary of the Company currently operates and manages City of Dreams Manila (www.cityofdreamsmanila.com), an integrated resort in the Entertainment City complex in Manila. In Europe, the Company is currently developing City of Dreams Mediterranean (www.cityofdreamsmed.com.cy) in the Republic of Cyprus, which is expected to be the largest and premier integrated destination resort in Europe. The Company is currently operating a temporary casino, the first authorized casino in the Republic of Cyprus, and is licensed to operate four satellite casinos (“Cyprus Casinos”). Upon the opening of City of Dreams Mediterranean, the Company will continue to operate the satellite casinos while operation of the temporary casino will cease. For more information about the Company, please visit www.melco-resorts.com.
The Company is strongly supported by its single largest shareholder, Melco International Development Limited, a company listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and is substantially owned and led by Mr. Lawrence Ho, who is the Chairman, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of roughly 7,900 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 138 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy®, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.
About W Hotels Worldwide
Born from the bold attitude and 24/7 culture of New York City, W Hotels has disrupted and redefined the hospitality scene for over two decades. Trailblazing its way around the globe, with nearly 60 hotels, W is defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched. Innovative, inspiring and infectious, the brand’s super-charged energy celebrates guests’ endless appetite to discover what’s new/next in each destination, to see more, feel more, go longer, stay later. For more information on W Hotels, visit whotels.com/theangle or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. W Hotels Worldwide is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy®, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit marriottbonvoy.com.