Marriott International Inc., the owner of such brands as the Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance, would consider buying more hotel-management companies after its acquisition of South Africa's Protea Hospitality Holdings, Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson said.
"We are open to buying more operators for reasons such as adding a new brand, for lack of distribution or because of the economics of a deal," Sorenson said in an interview yesterday at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles.
Marriott, the second-largest U.S. hotel chain by market value, said last week it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cape Town-based Protea for $186 million. The transaction will almost double the Bethesda, Maryland-based company's rooms in Africa to about 23,000 and help it expand further in the region, where a growing middle class and rising travel are fueling the fastest pace of hotel development in the world.
Marriott is "opportunistic" in its choice of possible acquisitions, and its growth strategy has changed over the years, Sorenson said. The company in March announced it would start a European budget chain called Moxy Hotels with the parent company of the Ikea furniture chain, and in 2011 formed a joint venture with Spanish lodging group AC Hotels. Marriott in June said it would introduce the brand in the U.S.
"If you had told me five years ago that we would go into the economy space in Europe, I would have not believed it," Sorenson said of the Moxy transaction.
Global leisure hotel rates stayed ahead of prior year for every month of 2013
Average daily rates paid for leisure hotel stays grew consistently in 2013, ending the year with positive global year-over-year growth for all 12 months, according to The Pegasus View for Q4 2013. Pegasus reports 2013 ended on a positive note with volumes and rates up in both the corporate and leisure channels globally.
"This kind of consistent rate growth for leisure bookings means hotels are watching and responding appropriately to growing demand," said David Millili, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. "Besides the obvious 2014 opportunities for hotels in Winter Olympic or World Cup destinations, all hotels can benefit from more universal opportunities like mobile. We now see that device penetration for smartphones and tablets is being bolstered by higher consumer comfort levels with booking via mobile. That translates to real revenue opportunity for hotels with reliable mobile sites and technology in place."
Global leisure bookings began fourth quarter under 2013 levels by -0.8% in October, but rose through November (+1.9%) to reach +4.3% in December thanks to holiday demand. The solid vacation demand helped hoteliers increase rates throughout the year, including fourth quarter. Rates began the quarter ahead of 2012 by +2.6% in October, reaching +3.3% in November and finishing at +4.8% in December.
Year-over-year global corporate bookings paused in November, but returned to finish the year with a +7.4% bookings jump. Corporate booking growth with steadily improved rates was driven by increases in both transient and group business, including meetings. Rates paid for corporate bookings stayed slightly ahead of 2012 in fourth quarter, moving from a gain of +2.7% in October, then steadying to a margin of +1.7% in both November and December.
Data reported in The Pegasus Viewby Pegasus Solutions comes from billions of transactions processed monthly by the company, which is the largest processor of electronic hotel transactions. Produced quarterly, it reflects data drawn from both GDS and ADS transactions, representing the business and leisure markets respectively.
South African Airways resumes non-stop flights between Johannesburg and New York
South African Airways (SAA) has announced that it is resuming its popular non-stop flights between Johannesburg, South Africa, and New York - JFK International Airport. The non-stop flight will resume on March 9th, nearly three weeks ahead of its original schedule of March 28th.
While SAA's New York-Johannesburg flight has continued to operate on a non-stop daily basis, the return flight has been temporarily making a 1-hr refuelling stop in Dakar, Senegal, due in part to lower travel demand during the winter months. The non-stop flight will be timed to arrive in New York in the early morning, allowing customers to quickly connect on flights to points throughout North America.
The nonstop flight schedule is as follows (all times are local):
Flight SA203 departs Johannesburg at 8:25 pm, arrives New York JFK at 6:40 am the next day
Flight SA204 departs New York JFK at 11:15 am, arrives Johannesburg at 8:00 am the next day