Wyndham Debuts Digital Tipping of Housekeepers Via Mobile App

Skift Take

A mobile tipping solution is a trend we welcome. Who carries small amounts of cash anymore? Plus, news in hotel deals and development worldwide.

Here are some excerpts from Daily Lodging Report from the past week. If you’re not a subscriber, you should be. Get news on hotel deals, development, stocks, and career moves. Sign up here, now.

Sunday, September 18

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts unveiled a new, portfolio-wide, mobile tipping solution for its U.S. and Canadian franchisees, making it one of the first major hotel companies to do so. Developed and managed by Béné, the platform enables guests to easily tip hotel team members digitally via their preferred mobile device.

The research arm of the investment bank Berenberg sees hotels as the top travel play. The brokerage firm says concerns about the hotel industry are overblown and the outlook for RevPAR for 2023 and 2024 will strengthen further. They see no evidence of a bigger structural risk to either business travel or anything pointing to migration to disruptors like Airbnb and other OTAs. They raised their ratings on Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott to Buy.

Skift Note: For more on the topic, see Skift’s story on tipping at hotels from this week.

Monday, September 19

Aimbridge Hospitality is building toward 2023 and beyond with an emphasis on acquiring talented industry veterans, expanding its robust portfolio, and evolving its operational approach to bolster its plans for global growth and continued industry-leading innovation. The company’s new hires represent a significant depth of bench, including Mark Tamis, President, Global Operations; Allison Reid, Chief Global Growth Officer; Mark Chloupek, Chief Legal Officer; Tim Pruiett, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Investments; and Emily Gerstner, Vice President and Philanthropic Partnership & Community Outreach.

Skift Note: Aimbridge has more than 1,500 properties open and signed. It has recently reorganized to enhance its growth.

Tuesday, September 20

According to Hodges Ward Elliott’s Q2 report, the New York City hospitality sector continues its recovery as travel surges and hotels reopen. Major highlights from the report include the following: According to Expedia’s Q1 2022 Travel Recovery Trend Report, New York is one of the top 10 cities in terms of total bookings across all regions, NORAM, LATAM, EMEA, and APAC, indicating strong domestic and international travel demand. Business and leisure travel in New York City have historically displayed a 20/80 split. Since the split dropped to 12% in 2021, NYC & Company projects this segment to reach 16% in 2022.

Skift Note: New York is back, baby.

Wednesday, September 21

Hyatt Hotels announced a Hyatt affiliate and Kiraku Inc. entered into a strategic joint venture that will launch a collection of modern-style hot spring ryokans in Japan targeting global travelers under the new hospitality brand ATONA. Hyatt and Kiraku will each own 50% of the joint venture and will leverage the expertise and strengths of both Hyatt and Kiraku to develop the new offering. Development plans are underway to unveil the collection of ATONA-branded ryokans beginning in 2025.

Marriott International said they would expand their portfolio in the GCC region with more than 20 new properties by the end of 2023 to meet ongoing demand. The hospitality assets will add more than 5,000 rooms to the region’s hotel supply stock over the next 15 months and will open in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Oman.

Accor is expanding its partnership with Al Raya Estate Group, with whom Accor will open the Swissotel Living Jeddah shortly. Accor currently operates 40 properties in Saudi Arabia totaling 15,173 rooms with 33 more properties with 7,549 rooms in the pipeline.

IHG Hotels & Resorts said they signed a management agreement with Saudi Investment Group and Marketing Co., a wholly owned unit of Ghazzawi Group, for its second Hotel Indigo in Jeddah. Hotel Indigo Jeddah is expected to open in Q1 2028 and will comprise of 267 hotel rooms and 173 serviced apartments.

Shangri-La Group announced the retirement of Group CEO Lim Beng Chee after almost six years of leadership. He will step down from the Group CEO position on December 31.

ITC Hotels said they signed five boutique properties in India under the new brand, Storii by ITC Hotels.

Skift Note: Hyatt’s new brand is a smart attempt to professionalize and brand the traditional Japanese inn concept. Meanwhile, the Middle East is a hot, hot market.

Thursday, September 22

Truist reported on meetings they held with the management of Wyndham Hotels. Demand trends remain favorable and while management is closely monitoring bookings, length of stay, cancellation rates and such, they see no immediate cause for concern. They see additional opportunities for tuck-in acquisitions like the recent Vienna House purchase and said financing for franchisees is very much available at similar LTVs to last year. WH is pleased with Project Echo along with their other two new brands – Alltra and Registry Collection with the three already accounting for nearly 10,000 rooms. As for issues, WH said labor is the number one issue for franchisees, availability and cost.

As recent demand for hotel rooms breaks records and prices skyrocket, hotel investors are taking notice as 80% of them plan on buying throughout the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. According to JLL’s latest Global Hotel Investment Survey, 57% of investors expect the best hotel investment opportunities to emerge over the next six months. Key takeaways from the report: Despite broader economic headwinds, hotel lodging and hospitality continue to recover at an encouraging and unexpectedly strong pace, driven by significant pent-up demand for travel and experiences. 80% of hotel investors plan to be net buyers in the remainder of 2022 and 2023 as value-add properties are back in focus. 57% of investors expect the best investment opportunities over the next six months to emerge across more traditional hospitality property types, including full-service and select-service hotels. London, Tokyo, and Boston have emerged as the top-three target markets for hotel investment, pointing to the resurgence of investor interest in urban markets. Hotel investors expressed a strengthened appetite as fundamentals continue to recover with 20% of investors indicating they will deploy between $501 million to $1 billion+ worth of capital into the hospitality sector, the highest proportion of investors wishing to deploy this level of capital since the pandemic started. 

Skift Note: While the macroeconomic outlook is uncertain, the picture for hotel deals and development continues to stay bright.

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