Month: April 2015

Starwood’s shareholder value open to all options: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has retained Lazard to explore “a full range of strategic and financial alternatives to increase shareholder value,” according to a news release that accompanied the release of hotel company’s first-quarter 2015 performance numbers.

Bruce W. Duncan, Starwood’s chairman of the board, said the company has “always been focused on maximizing long-term shareholder value, and this is a time of enormous opportunity and change in our industry. … No option is off the table.”
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Article Source: Hotel News Now

The Middle East/Africa region reported positive year-over-year results in two of the three major performance metrics during March 2015 when reported in U.S. dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global.

The region reported a 3.2-percent increase in occupancy to 68.7 percent and a 0.7-percent rise in revenue per available room to US$118.04. Average daily rate, however, decreased 2.3 percent to US$171.82.

When looking at the three Middle East/Africa sub-regions, Northern Africa posted the top increases in all three performance metrics when reported in U.S. dollars. The sub-region experienced a 15.1-percent increase in occupancy to 52.2 percent, an 8.9-percent increase in ADR to US$93.49 and a 25.3-percent rise in RevPAR to US$48.78.

Amongst the key countries in the region, Egypt experienced the highest increases in both ADR (+32.9 percent to US$86.64) and RevPAR (+61.5 percent to US$45.28).

Lebanon saw the highest increase in occupancy, up 27.0 percent to 48.5 percent. The country’s demand has increased for 11 consecutive months after the Gulf Cooperation Council lifted travel advisories in May 2014.

Morocco reported the steepest declines in both RevPAR (-23.4 percent to US$64.11) and ADR (-23.6 percent to US$109.83).

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Article Source: Hospitality Trends

The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 26,000 people have contracted the deadly Ebola virus after its outbreak in late 2013.

The UN health organization said in a report on Wednesday that 26,079 people, mostly living in the three African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, have contracted the virus since December 2013.

Out of the figure, according to the WHO, a total of 10,823 have lost their lives.

The health body said the spread of the virus has slowed down, with 33 new cases having been reported in the week leading to April 19, down from 37 cases in the previous week.

Liberia, once the hardest hit country, has reported no new cases since its last victim died in late March. Liberia is expected to be declared Ebola-free in May, if no new cases emerge.

Sierra Leone and Guinea have also reported a drop in Ebola cases.

“To accelerate the decline towards zero cases will require stronger community engagement, improved contact tracing and earlier case identification,” WHO said.

Although there has also been a decrease in infection cases in Guinea, concerns are on the rise over reports of 163 unsafe burials of highly infected Ebola victims last week.

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Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel company based on number of hotels and one of three hospitality business units of Wyndham Worldwide, today announced the opening of the 139-room Ramada® Resort Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Complementing Wyndham Hotel Group’s existing portfolio of franchised properties in Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria and Tunisia, the hotel marks not only the company’s expansion into Eastern Africa, but is the first property within the greater continent to be operated via the company’s growing management division.

“The opening of Ramada Resort Dar es Salaam is of significant strategic importance for us,” commented Dan Ruff, Wyndham Hotel Group’s president and managing director, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Indian Ocean. “Given the increasing demand for quality, internationally-branded accommodation in Eastern Africa, as well as our commitment to getting closer to our guests and our customers through the expansion of our managed property division, it is a key milestone in our regional growth.”

“With exceptional facilities and a stunning beachfront location, Ramada Resort Dar es Salaam sets a new standard within Tanzania’s midscale segment and we look forward to extending a warm Ramada welcome to our first guests,” Ruff added.

Ramada Resort Dar es Salaam offers 139 rooms and suites including 117 superior rooms with a choice of ocean or garden views, 21 executive suites, and one presidential suite. All rooms have an interactive flat screen TV with satellite channels, free Wi-Fi, mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, private bathrooms with complimentary toiletries and walk-in shower or bathtub. Tinga-tinga artwork adds local flavour and a sense of East African spirit.

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The Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the most dynamic hotel companies worldwide and a member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, announces a strong first quarter 2015 related to project signings: the group added 10 hotels with 2,300 rooms to the pipeline, and arrived in two new countries, Armenia and Togo. In the course of the first quarter, 3 hotels with 330 rooms were opened, bringing the total portfolio to 337 hotels with almost 76,000 rooms in operation and 97 hotels with 20,500 rooms under development in 75 countries across EMEA. The group continues to hold the largest development pipeline on the African continent and to be the leading international hotel operator in Russia/CIS & Baltics.

Signings ahead of last year
“Our signings in Q1 2015 were ahead of last year, underlining our development pace. All contracts were fee-based and at 70% in emerging markets – supporting our long-term strategy of asset-light and sustainable growth with a particular focus on young, up-and-coming regions”, commented Wolfgang M. Neumann, President & CEO of Rezidor. Four signings were in Saudi Arabia and in the UAE, both core growth markets which the group is fully committed to. In Saudi Arabia Rezidor has a strategic country development agreement with the local Al Hokair Group targeting 30 Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson hotels across the Kingdom. “Saudi Arabia undertakes large infrastructure investments and actively drives travel & tourism, thus offering considerable opportunities for the development of hotels”, added Neumann.

Openings strengthen Middle East presence
The Q1 openings reflected the group’s geographic focus – comprising the Radisson Blu Resort Jizan and the Park Inn by Radisson Dammam (Saudi Arabia), as well as the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Apartments Al Barsha Dubai (UAE). “Whilst the opening pace slightly slowed down during the quarter due to emerging market-inherent challenges, the outlook for the remaining year is solid with key hotels coming online at primary destinations like Istanbul, Cape Town and Nairobi”, said Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer of Rezidor.

Due to the Russia sanctions Rezidor had to close the Radisson Hotel Alustha (Crimea) in Q1 2015. Five further hotels existed the system during the quarter. “These exits were expected as they related to loss-making agreements that were not extended, and we saw a small positive impact on our results”, said Wolfgang M. Neumann. “Going forward, we will continue to drive asset management and to prune our portfolio where necessary to further increase profitability”, ended Neumann.

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