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Journera, brainchild of Orbitz founder Jeff Katz, secures $9 million capital

PhocusWire·13 July 2018
Journera, the data and analytics platform launched by former Orbitz boss Jeff Katz, has raised Series A funding of $9 million.

Arriba Capital closes on $17-million refinancing for Green Bay's Tundra Lodge

Hotel Management·12 July 2018
Arriba Capital recently closed a $17-million conventional loan for the Tundra Lodge in Green Bay, Wis. Included in the deal is an attached 30,000-square-foot water park, as well as 162 guestrooms and more than 17,500 square feet of function space spread throughout three ballrooms and 11 additional meeting rooms.

Consumer Prices Tick Up Again

CFO Magazine·12 July 2018
U.S. consumer prices ticked up, barely, last month according to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, which rose 0.1%. However, the department said the CPI was up 2.9% for the 12 months ended June, the biggest gain since February 2012.

VICI Properties Completes Acquisition of Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace Las Vegas for $507.5 Million

Hotel Online·12 July 2018
VICI Properties Inc. (NYSE:VICI) (together with its affiliates, “VICI Properties” or the “Company”), an experiential real estate investment trust (“REIT”), today announced it has completed the acquisition for the previously announced transaction with Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ:CZR) (“Caesars Entertainment” or “Caesars”) to acquire, and lease back, all of the land and real estate assets associated with the Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace for $507.5 million.

RSS 2018: Revenue Strategy Begins With Strong Leadership

Duetto Research Blog·12 July 2018
The sixth annual Revenue Strategy Summit brought together technology innovators and hospitality industry leaders, including brand executives and asset managers, to examine the challenges hotels face in maintaining rate growth and managing a distribution landscape that gets more complicated by the day.

Holiday Inn Phoenix-Mesa/Chandler sells for $13.1 million

Hotel Management·12 July 2018
The Holiday Inn & Suites Phoenix-Mesa/Chandler at 1600 S. Country Cub Dr. in Mesa, Ariz., has been sold to a Canadian investor for $13.1 million. The Manitoba-based investor, developer and hospitality management company plans to renovate and add mixed-use elements to the existing hotel property.

EHL becomes a new focal point for finance

EHL ·12 July 2018
Private marketsUnlisted investment products are on the rise. The amount of fund managers in private equity has almost doubled since the financial crisis in 2008. It is also a less abstract financial activity for a youth in search of meaning, with tangible added value. It means stimulating the real economy through investment, creating intellectual property, encouraging transparent governance, generating growth and employment. Value needs to be created at all levels, if only to get out of an investment and make a profit. It is also an activity with varied human dimensions. "Private equity is an activity largely dominated by human relations. It is a question of establishing a relationship built on trust to work together over time. This attracts talent, perhaps wearied by the statistical models of public equity and the dehumanizing dimensions of stock markets" explained Cyril Demaria, speaker at the conference and Head of Private Markets for Wellershoff & Partners, a Zurich-based financial consulting firm. Although most participants agreed that the private markets were nearing the end of a particularly good cycle, there is still great potential for Switzerland, a country which still accounts for relatively few private equity funds for a colossal amount of assets under management by private banks.Participants of choicePension funds, insurers, cantonal banks, Zurich and Geneva-based private banks, family offices, investment funds: everyone wants to be up-to-date and most of the main Swiss financial players responded to the invitation to the conference. For good reason: the outstanding speakers. Per Stromberg, an economist at Stockholm University and member of the Nobel committee, was mandated by the Norwegian sovereign fund (the second largest pension fund in the world) for an analysis of the opportunity to invest in Private Equity. He came to present the main conclusions of his report. "We have time to ask ourselves questions and think about them. It is a luxury that practitioners don't have. It is important that we can meet, as we did at EHL, to create and maintain a bridge between business and academic research", he underlined in an interview. His research, which served as a status report for the industry, was one of the topics discussed during the two days of the conference. Other high-quality interventions took place, with notably the participation of Tim Jenkinson and Ludovic Phalippou, both university professors at Oxford, reporting on the current and future state of private markets.The connexion with EHLThe hotel business is changing, and so are the required skills. At EHL, faculty members engage in research like any other university, and finance is no exception. "Hotels are an illiquid asset par excellence which we know very well", Emmanuel Jurczenko, director of the Hospitality Real Estate Finance Institute at EHL and initiator of the conference, recently said. However, not only the hotel industry needs finance, but also the financial sector that needs EHL graduates. During the conference, Cyril Demaria confided that "EHL graduates are different from the purely technical profiles with standardized courses. They have decisive interpersonal skills to interact with entrepreneurs from various social and industrial backgrounds. Knowing how to listen to them and adapt is important for negotiating, convincing and then collaborating with them". This mix of business knowledge and human know-how is the reason for which, increasingly, EHL graduates are being offered positions in finance, but also in luxury, consulting and many other service activities.About the EHL Private Markets Research ConferenceFor one of the co-organizers of the conference on private markets, Emmanuel Jurczenko, "this event is a forum to explore the latest advances in private market research combining academic and practitioner perspectives. Its ambition is to become in the next five years a leading European reference on private investments thanks to both the quality of the work presented and the diversity of actors represented". Investing in private markets requires an in-depth knowledge of private equity, private debt and real assets (real estate and infrastructure). Although difficult, it is becoming more and more popular among institutional investors due to the low yield environment and the potential for diversification of private investments. Despite the absence of data sets for private markets, significant breakthroughs have recently been made in the research on understanding the performance and risk factors of private investment.

Dissecting The Deal

Hotel Interactive ·12 July 2018
When Wyndham Worldwide agreed to acquire La Quinta Holdings, Inc. earlier this year for $1.95 billion it represented the largest transaction the lodging industry has seen in quite some time, not to mention the most significant deal ever for the 30-year-old brand behemoth.

Reduced Demand for Cuba Travel Rebounds Following Trump Regulations - Destinations·11 July 2018
The inconsistent U.S. policy towards Cuba has reduced crowds and forced operators to develop more creative tours for Americans who still want to visit. Now may not be a bad time to take the plunge and visit one of the most interesting destinations in North America.

3 ways to stay current with-and contest-local and state laws

Hotel Management·11 July 2018
The hotel industry has faced many challenges in the past few years: a shortage of available workers, increased competition from home-sharing rental sites and changing demands from consumers. But one of the biggest challenges has been from the barrage of new local and state laws (increases in minimum wages, scheduling requirements, ban the box, paid sick leave, etc.) that have forced substantial changes in pricing, operations and administration to accommodate these rules.

Finance Execs Fearful of Spending Tax-Cut Proceeds

CFO Magazine·11 July 2018
Spending habits are hard to break, even if you’re a treasury and finance professional. A new survey from the Association for Financial Professionals shows that, despite the U.S. corporate tax cuts, 40% of respondents anticipate no change in the level of spending at their organizations. One reason: they’re uncertain about some of the provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Introducing HFTP's 2018-2019 Global Board

HFTP Connect·11 July 2018
HFTP is pleased to announce the official slate for the 2018–2019 Global Board of Directors. Each year, the nominating committee — comprised of past HFTP Global past presidents, advisory council chairs and chapter presidents — is tasked with selecting HFTP members to replace the outgoing directors of the HFTP Global Board.

Denihan Appoints Nadia Karmali as VP of Revenue Management and Michael Shiwdin as VP of Asset Management

Hotel Online·11 July 2018
Denihan Hospitality ('Denihan' or the 'Company'), a full-service hospitality company focusing on developing, owning, managing and franchising boutique luxury and lifestyle hotels, is pleased to announce that experienced industry professionals Nadia Karmali and Michael Shiwdin are joining the Company as Vice President of Revenue Management and Vice President of Asset Management, respectively.

What You Need to Know About California's New Data Privacy Law·11 July 2018
Late last month, California passed a sweeping consumer privacy law that might force significant changes on companies that deal in personal data - and especially those operating in the digital space. The law's passage comes on the heels of a few days of intense negotiation among privacy advocates, technology startups, network providers, Silicon Valley internet companies, and others.

Hawkeye Hotels and HOS Management Acquire Hotel Indigo in Fort Myers

Lodging Magazine·11 July 2018
Iowa-based firm Hawkeye Hotels in a joint venture with Georgia-based HOS Management (HOS) recently completed the acquisition of Hotel Indigo in downtown Fort Myers, Florida, for an undisclosed sum.

Analytics use cases for utilities: Portfolio analytics

The Analytic Hospitality Executive | SAS·11 July 2018
SAS works with utilities all over the world, helping these companies capitalize on the value of analytics and become "digital utilities." When we talk to utilities, we look at analytics use cases across: assets and operations; customers; portfolio; and corporate operations (see diagram below). In this fourth post of my four-part series, I will highlight a portfolio analytics use case.

BLLA Abroad - The world's leading boutique association launches exclusive Boutique Social Club dinner series in London

BLLA ·11 July 2018
New York -- Since the beginning, the Boutique and Lifestyle Leaders Association's (rebranded from Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association) presence has been global. From our international members and early conferences in Paris and London, we have garnered support and cultivated communities all around the globe. Two recent excursions over the pond have solidified our foothold on the boutique community and will foster boutique developments in tomorrow's most sought-after vacation destinations.On May 1st, 2018 we successfully launched the first installment of the Stay Boutique Social Club Dinner Series. A series aimed at gathering the minds pushing boutique forward in an intimate, comfortable setting, thus bolstering the community we represent. In a collaboration with Sharan Pasricha at The Hoxton Hotel, ten of boutique's brightest broke bread over their shared passion for our rapidly expanding sector.BLLA's COO, Ariela Kiradjian, produced the dinner series and stated, "This first event in London showcases the importance of connecting with like-minded professionals desirous of reaching out beyond their own industries and being open to new relationships and new ways of thinking. We are extremely proud and excited that everyone had such a good time. They basically came to the dinner as strangers and left as friends. What could be better than that!"Emma Hartland-Mahon, UK Director at J Public Relations, Gigi Vega, GM at Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, Sophie McElligott, Head of Communications at Dazed Media, Sue Walter, Ex-CEO at Hospital Club, Tessy Antony de Luxembourg, Director of VICE IMPACT EMEA Regions, Romilly Martin, Brand Director at Hoxton Hotels, John Green, Managing Director at JG Collection, Hannah Burden, Marketing Manager at Our Vodka and Filip Boyen, CEO at Small Luxury Hotels all joined BLLA COO Ariela Kiradjian for an unforgettable night of conversation, networking, and fun. The promising start of our invite-only dinner series points to a fervent interest in the initiatives of BLLA by respected, global boutique brands.Equally as inspiring was a recent Scottish excursion hosted by Scottish Development International. Michael Schroeder, Vice President, a long time attendee and supporter of BLLA's events and conferences, invited Ariela Kiradjian (COO at BLLA) along with Salt Hotels owner David Bowd, Phillip Allen, General Counsel at 21c Museum Hotels, Mostafa Abdella, Managing Director at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, Darrell Slomiany, Director of Development at BLVD Hospitality, Jason Wischoff, VP Development UK, Europe & Africa at Dream Hotels and Miranda Mancuso, VP Development at Standard Hotels to take in all Scotland has to offer."We were delighted to host the US Boutique hotel operators in Scotland where they visited Edinburgh and Glasgow," stated Schroeder. "Each city offers a distinctive experience to discerning visitors from across the globe, and they both provide a great opportunity for unique boutique hotel operators like them to build their business in a setting that complements their authentic brands.""Tourism is one of Scotland's key sectors, currently contributing PS6 billion to our economy every year, and SDI, along with our partners, welcome the opportunity of working with them & the BLLA to achieve even greater success. We hope that we can all capitalize on the synergies between their brands and our national and city tourism destination strategies"Ariela stated, "Michael and his team did an outstanding job at coordinating this amazing trip and itinerary and I am ecstatic about the opportunities for our boutique brands to discover new destinations and to also be a part of it all."The country is ripe for boutique development as evidenced by the growing number of independent and lifestyle facing businesses. Representatives from the arms of Scottish government along with hotel developers presented on their city plans and opportunities for hotel development through a series of presentations over the course of the trip, supplemented of course with castle visits and whisky tastings.Boutique hotels succeed because they envelop their patrons in culture and immerse them in novel experiences. Edinburgh is a city with rich history, stunning architecture and sprawling views. These are the building blocks from which it will establish itself as a force in the boutique sphere.Additionally, BLLA is working with other Economic Development Organizations to help bring attention to their destinations for some of the world's best boutique and lifestyle hotel brands. BLLA is a great partner to navigate this special hospitality sector as we have a very specific 30,000 ft. view of the industry which brings a wealth of knowledge to both developers and countries.About the Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA)The world's most innovative and progressive organization dedicated to the luxury independent boutique and lifestyle industries. The association connects the world's most dynamic executives with cutting edge business and operational insight. BLLA's membership benefits allow access to the world's leading minds in the space through events, research and education. Our mission is to provide leadership and opportunities for global recognition and connections to the world's best hotels, vendors and manufacturers. All resulting in strategic interactions and access to information that helps people and organizations thrive. Join the movement that BLLA gave birth to in 2009 and become a part of something that is truly unique, exciting and inspirational.

Hello monopolies, goodbye independents - it's getting hard to stand alone in a world of giants

Web In Travel (WIT) ·11 July 2018
I was at a blockchain event last night when a Beijing-based investor let loose a rant on how this Internet world of centralisation was creating monopolies especially in travel where OTAs were completely dominating the market and there was now no room for new startups in travel that could scale well and successfully.

171 | The Engine that Drives the Hotel with Stan Turkel

The Lodging Leaders Podcast: Powerful Business Strategies for Hotel Professionals·11 July 2018
Stanley Turkel is a recognized authority in the hotel industry. He operates his consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases and providing franchise consultation and asset management. Prior to forming his hotel consulting firm, Turkel was the Product Line Manager for Hotel/Motel Operations at the International Telephone & Telegraph Co. overseeing the Sheraton Corporation of America. Before joining IT&T, he was the General Manager of the Summit Hotel (762 Rooms), General Manager of the Drake Hotel (680 Rooms) and Resident Manager of the Americana Hotel (1842 Rooms), all in New York City.

The Legacy of a Departing Colleague - Tanya Venegas

HFTP Connect·10 July 2018
When it comes to hospitality research, there is ordinary, and then there is Tanya Venegas. Tanya started as a teaching assistant working for the University of Houston in 2002. She was assigned to the HFTP Research Center which was founded as part of HFTP’s initiative to provide the hospitality industry with the highest quality resources and research.

Pebblebrook Urges LaSalle Shareholders to Vote Against Proposed Sale to Blackstone·Requires Registration ·10 July 2018
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust has filed a preliminary proxy statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to urge shareholders of LaSalle Hotel Properties to vote with Pebblebrook against LaSalle’s merger agreement with BRE Landmark LP (BRE), an affiliate of The Blackstone Group LP, at a price of $33.50 per share.

Meet HFTP's Newest Chartered Chapters

HFTP Connect·10 July 2018
Chapters provide a wide array of benefits to an association’s membership — not the least of which is the collaborative building of knowledge and camaraderie among local and like-minded industry professionals.

Can regulators protect travel companies from the growth of the technopoly?

Tnooz·10 July 2018
In a report entitled Technopoly, experts from the think tank ResPublica call on officials in the UK and Europe to stem what they describe as the growing digital monopolies of technology companies such as Facebook and Google.

Who Is Buying, Selling, or Financing?·Requires Registration ·10 July 2018
NHotel Business is tracking transactions in the hospitality industry. This week, HFF has arranged financing for the development of a mixed-use project in Mountain View, CA; Marcus & Millichap has arranged the sale of the Hotel Indigo in Fort Myers, FL; and Booking Holdings has acquired a hotel metasearch site.

Consumer Credit Jumps $24.5 Billion in May

CFO Magazine·10 July 2018
Consumer borrowing grew in May at the fastest pace in a year and a half, driven by a particularly large increase in revolving credit. The U.S. Federal Reserve said rose $24.5 billion in May after an increase of $10 billion the previous month. It was the biggest monthly gain since a rise of $24.8 billion in November 2016.

Hospitality Financial Leadership - Why Hotel Brands and Franchisers Secretly Love the OTAs

The Hotel Financial Coach ·10 July 2018
I know we all hear the battle cries every day in our industry, but what's really going on with hotel brands, franchisers, the online travel agents and their war over commissions and fees? In this piece, I am going to expose an angle that I think needs some light. It gets back to a fundamental understanding of how our industry functions based on its evolved structure, with brands and owners. I also believe this is a good lesson in hotel business strategy, to understand what underpins the relationship between the warring parties and what drives the business model with hotel franchisers and brands.The first thing to know about hotel management companies and franchises is they make the lion's share of their revenues and resulting profits based on the hotels in their portfolios generating revenue. Fees based on revenues are what drive the hotel brand's business model. They also make money on reservation systems and other services, but normally these are on a cost recovery basis. The brands tell their hotels that the services they provide are on a cost-return basis and largely they are. Very little profit is generated by the brands from their other services. On the flip side--when you look at the way the fees are calculated--is a simple total revenue or total room revenue times "x" to produce the fee.What really matters most to the brands is getting their hotels to produce more revenue. The more revenue the better. Not profit, revenue.The second thing to know is that management companies and franchises make little or no money on the profits their hotel owners make. Unless the agreement with the hotel has profit sharing or an incentive fee component built in, the hotel owner does not share any profits with their brand.The third thing to know is fees paid to the brands by the owners are in no way linked to the hotel's profitability. Whether or not the hotel is profitable has zero impact on the calculation of the fees or the requirement to pay these fees every month.I don't know about you, but I see a problem here. The problem I see is the brands make hay on the backs of their hotels whether the sun is shining or not. Not unlike a stockbroker who makes fees on your entire portfolio regardless of their performance with your investments. Some might think this is OK and the way it should be, but I see it as offside.Let's look at the impact the online travel agents have had a big hand in. For almost the past 20 years the OTAs have been turning the hotel and travel world on its head. They have built systems that allow any hotel to sign up almost universally without any upfront fees and instantly market their hotel around the world to the ever-growing planet of the traveling public. This, in my opinion, is the single biggest positive development in our industry ever. Hotels always have used travel agents and what has happened in 20 years is more and more business has moved online--where today the individual hotel consumers' world is virtually all online.Shopping for a hotel room online? In general, we can thank the OTAs for this phenomenon, they created it. How does all of this online activity benefit the hotel brands with little skin in the game?Here are some revenue factsAccording to a Cushman and Wakefield report, room revenue in America has grown from $70 billion in 1998 to a whopping $150 billion in 2017. That's more than a 100 percent increase in 20 years. Here are the numbers that make this up: supply in 1998, 3.9 million rooms; 2017, 5 million rooms; RevPAR in 1998, $50 and in 2017 it was $81.Now let's look at feesThe typical hotel management fee of 3 percent of total revenue and a franchise fee of 5 percent of room revenue will be used in this exercise. I know these are estimates but bear with me. We'll be blending the two together and using a conservative 4 percent of total revenue as a gauge.The total fees charged to owners in the past 20 years has more than doubled as well. No surprise, revenue doubles and so do the fees. Fees in 1998 at $70 billion equal $2.8 billion. Same 4 percent of revenue in 2017 equals $6 billion.The first real question and my point is this: How much of the increase in room revenue in the past 20 years has been because of the platforms and systems built by the OTAs? The simple answer is lots of it.The second question: How much investment was incurred by the hotel companies to get consumers to use the OTAs and ultimately spend more and thereby generating more fees for them? The answer is quite simply - A Big Fat Zero. Someone else built the OTA monsters and the brands are the number one recipient of the benefit with no investment.Would hotel companies minus the OTAs have invested the cash necessary and revolutionized the travel industry? I think not. They are management companies and they are capital light. That's their strategy. Put their name on the hotel, and let the owner invest and drive the guest experience, brand promise and fees.I'm not saying OTAs do not have some faults and some hotels may rely on them too much, but the fact is they have had a big hand in revolutionizing the travel world and that is very good for brands and owners.No wonder hotel management companies and franchisers secretly love the OTAs. Anything that drives revenues their way is what works.When something or someone else does this for them, it's golden.


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