Day: December 3, 2020

The world’s biggest third-party hotel operator is growing, even as the pandemic hits hotels hard

Plano-based Aimbridge Hospitality is making bold moves during a crippling pandemic for the hotel industry, naming a successor to the company founder and laying out an ambitious plan to add 120 properties to its portfolio in the next 120 days.

Aimbridge’s plans for expansion come at a time when the hotel industry is suffering massive revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19 and local restrictions to stem the pandemic’s spread.

The company’s incoming president and CEO Mike Deitemeyer fully understands the severity of the current economic conditions. He said Aimbridge has had to function through the pandemic with at least 20,000 fewer staff due to layoffs and furloughs.

As the industry’s largest third-party management company, Aimbridge handles $10 billion in annual revenue for its hotel owners, CFO Judy Hendrick told CFO Magazine this week. The pandemic has cut Aimbridge sales by 86%, though Hendrick told the magazine “we do not fear downturns; during such times, we have an opportunity to gain market share.”

Deitemeyer is similarly optimistic about the big picture, and believes the company is positioning itself to bring back lost jobs when leisure and business travel recover.

“Our income is certainly suppressed,” Deitemeyer said, “But if you believe in the recovery of our space, the fact that we’ve added hotels… when the economy and hotel occupancies return, we’re going to be in a great position.”

Aimbridge has added 128 properties to its portfolio to date and plans to add another 120 in the next three months. The company said the growth is made possible because of corporate support during unprecedented times.

Private equity-backed Aimbridge has seen “historic organic growth” this year in new properties across all of its verticals, including extended stay, select service, and international segments, according to the company.

It’s taking on management agreements for hotels across North America, including the Hyatt House Chicago, the Renaissance Charleston Historic District in South Carolina and the Element Ontario in Canada. But it’s also raking in agreements in the U.K., announcing this week it will add 31 Jupiter Hotels properties. The expansion brings Aimbridge’s property count in the U.K. to around 160 hotels.

Mike Deitemeyer will take the reins at Aimbridge Hospitality as president and CEO effective January 1, 2021.
Mike Deitemeyer will take the reins at Aimbridge Hospitality as president and CEO effective January 1, 2021.(Aimbridge Hospitality)

The 17-year-old hotel operator named Deitemeyer its new president and CEO this week, effective Jan. 1. Deitemeyer was previously CEO of Interstate Hotels & Resorts and served as Aimbridge’s global president after the competitors merged last year.

Deitemeyer takes over from Aimbridge cofounder Dave Johnson, who will move into the new role of executive chairman overseeing mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and new business opportunities.

“We are pleased to have positioned ourselves for growth,” Aimbridge Hospitality CEO Dave Johnson said in a statement. “As we leverage our scale to add value, owners are responding by adding Aimbridge as managers.”

Andrew Milke, guest services supervisor, works the front desk behind a plexiglass barrier at The Pittman Hotel in Dallas, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. The hotel has taken measures to ensure the safety of their employees and guests by installing plexiglass at the front desk, having numerous hand sanitizing stations throughout the hotel and offering safety kits on request, which contain a face mask and sanitizing items.

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Reuben Brothers to Buy New York City’s Surrey Hotel

(Bloomberg) — U.K. real estate investors David and Simon Reuben are buying the upscale Surrey Hotel in New York City, in their latest push into U.S. real estate, according to a person familiar with the matter.

a man standing in front of Simon Reuben, Simon Reuben posing for the camera: Simon and David Reuben

© Photographer: David M. Benett/Getty Images
Simon and David Reuben

The price is less than the $215 million asking price, said the person, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public.


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A representative for the Reuben Brothers declined to comment. A representative for the owner of the Surrey Hotel, Denihan Hospitality Group, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The tony hotel near Central Park is a recreation of the original Surrey, which was built in 1926 and hosted famous people including John F. Kennedy and Bette Davis, according to its website.

The brothers, London property investors, invested in New York City real-estate this year by buying a condo from SL Green Realty Corp. for $170 million, Bloomberg News reported.

This transaction follows three recent financing deals they did worth more than $300 million, including buying the mortgage of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami, as well as a stake in a senior loan tied to the St. Regis Chicago, the person said.

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Rico Nasty: ‘Nightmare Vacation’ Album Review

Nightmare Vacation, the debut studio album from hip-hop rage queen Rico Nasty, is a musical manifesto proclaiming her sonic boldness and emotional progression. Although she is still considerably new to the rap game, Rico quickly made it clear that she would carve out her unique path with her bare hands if she had to. A slew of mixtapes, which she began releasing in 2014, showcased a ravenous young artist turning her vehemence into gold. Last year’s Anger Management was the pinnacle of her righteous indignation; the nine-track collaborative mixtape with Kenny Beats powerfully outlined all of Rico’s harrowing complexities with clarity.

This new record zeroes in on Rico’s vocal nimbleness and her cogent authenticity that has become more transparent with each project she releases. Opener “Candy” is a classic in her arsenal; its boisterous, bass-heavy percussion shows she can accelerate from docile to spine-chilling in under five seconds. “Call me crazy / but you can never call me broke” is not as much a taunt as it is a threat, which she expresses in a deceptively cheeky manner.

“Don’t Like Me” is a synthy trap dream where appearances from Gucci Mane and Don Toliver compliment Rico’s craziness with a more soothing approach. However, it still maintains its excitement as all three virtuosos bring a certain quirkiness to the song. “IPHONE” is one of the best moments on Nightmare Vacation, as Rico channels her playful side in the most alluring of ways. Amidst declarations of unapologetic madness, the lightness of “IPHONE” is a nice distraction and even a line like “Smoking so much gas / I forgot to put my mask on” feels jovial with its timely double entendre.

“STFU” feels slightly stale, with a repetitive chorus that spells out the acronym quite predictably. “Back and Forth,” which features a cameo from Amine, is lackluster, as well: Two of hip-hop’s most capricious personalities join forces on a track that holds a multitude of promise, only for the duo to remain subdued throughout its execution.

“Let It Out” is the halfway mark of Nightmare Vacation and serves as the perfect moshpit anthem. Rico’s raw screams of “If you wanna rage / Let it out” are visceral and even when she recites lines like “I’m a asshole / What the fuck’s new? / If it’s fuck me, then it’s fuck you!” it feels more defiant than offensive. “Loser,” where she teams up with Trippie Redd, is a thrill ride from start to finish. The young pair successfully team up for a collaboration saturated with moody melodicism that feels entirely natural.

“No Debate” starts off promising with a slinky and hypnotic beat, but 30 seconds in, it becomes obvious that something is missing. It’s as if Rico’s virulent disposition has been gently tucked away for a slightly more dulcet tune. In fact, this jarring shift runs deep throughout Nightmare Vacation. Rico is either dialing up the drama with chaotic caterwauling or doling out sweetness whenever the mood strikes her. Despite

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Cook County investigating wedding reception at north suburban hotel

A Prospect Heights hotel was given a written warning for not following state COVID-19 guidelines after a large wedding-related event Wednesday evening.

And the Cook County Department of Public Health is investigating the incident at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook, which is in Prospect Heights.

Don Bolger, a health department spokesman, said it was unclear how many guests attended the event. “We won’t know until we get the guest list,” he said Thursday.

Joe Wade, Prospect Height’s city administrator, said he spoke to the hotel’s general manager Thursday and she was “very forthright” and acknowledged there had been a wedding party at the hotel Wednesday.

Wade said the general manager told him at least one hotel employee had urged members of the party to socially distance and wear masks.

Neither the hotel’s general manager nor other representatives from the facility could be reached for comment.

During his daily COVID-19 media briefing Thursday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker described the event as “very irresponsible.”

“This is very concerning to all of us at a moment when we have rampant COVID-19 throughout Illinois,” Pritzker said. “Here we have people who, in a concentrated fashion, have the ability now to go spread it to everywhere that they return to.”

“I’m deeply worried for them and for the communities that they’ve returned to, for their families and so on. I hope that each of them will isolate and get a test.”

Pritzker said it would be up to local authorities to mete out punishment.

The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association said the event was “unacceptable and does not reflect the careful efforts the hotel industry as a whole has taken since the onset of the pandemic to protect guests, employees and our communities.”

“The hotel industry is committed to working with policymakers and public health officials to ensure this situation is not repeated,” association president and CEO Michael Jacobson said in a statement.

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New survey reveals 55% of Canadians have a future vacation on their holiday wish list

TORONTO, Dec. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As the holiday season begins, new research commissioned by Sunwing shows a growing appetite among Canadians for receiving the gift of a vacation experience.

The survey uncovered that more than half (55%) of Canadians would like to receive the gift of a future vacation or travel certificate this holiday season. What’s more, of those respondents, nine-in-ten (89%) indicated they would be interested in being gifted an all inclusive getaway. The survey was conducted by Sunwing among members of the Angus Reid Forum between November 16-17, 2020, with a representative sample of 1,507 Canadians, in both English and French.

“Our research shows that many Canadians would love to receive the gift of a future vacation experience this holiday season,” said Samantha Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer of Sunwing Travel Group. “Sunwing is helping Canadians make giving the gift of a sunny getaway easy with a wide range of packages at unbeatable prices, so our customers can experience a truly unforgettable vacation to the tropics under our wing.”

Additional survey insights include:

  • 18-34 year olds were most interested in receiving a future travel gift, with 59% of respondents in that age bracket indicating they would be open to being gifted a future vacation or travel certificate this holiday season;
  • Respondents from Alberta (64%), British Columbia (58%) and Quebec (57%) were most interested in receiving a vacation gift this holiday season;
  • Among 35-54 year olds who said they wanted to receive a future vacation gift this holiday season, 93% said they would want an all inclusive vacation;
  • Among Ontarians who said they wanted to receive a vacation gift this holiday season, 93% indicated they would like to receive an all inclusive getaway.

Canadians can check everyone off their gift list with packages tailored towards all travel styles, whether they’re shopping for a romantic retreat or an adventure-filled getaway. Those looking for the perfect gift can also take advantage of impressive savings on vacation packages throughout the month of December.

Customers who book a future getaway can travel with peace of mind, knowing that the highest Canadian standards are in place throughout their entire vacation experience with the Safe with Sunwing commitment. Developed under the advisement of global healthcare leader Medcan, the program is in place every step of the way, from the moment travellers check-in at the airport to their transfers, their time in destination and their journey home, making for a safe and unforgettable getaway to the tropics.

To learn more about how you can gift a vacation experience this holiday season please visit Sunwing’s website.

About Sunwing

The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing has more flights to the south than any other leisure carrier with convenient direct service from over 33 airports across Canada to more than 45 popular sun destinations across the U.S.A., Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. This scale enables Sunwing to offer customers exclusive deals at top-rated resorts in the most popular vacation destinations as well as cruise packages

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Tough times: A landmark Boston hotel is sold at a loss

In a sign of the times for Boston’s beleaguered hotel industry, a popular Kenmore Square hotel just sold at a loss.

Florida-based Xenia Hotels & Resorts last month sold the the Hotel Commonwealth to luxury hotel operator Ohana Real Estate Investors for $113 million, $23 million less than Xenia paid for it four years ago.

It’s a rare reversal in price for a trophy piece of Boston real estate, which for the most part has only gone up in value over the last decade. But it has been an unusual nine months in the real estate market, especially for hotels, whose bookings have evaporated amid a pandemic that has largely shut down both business and leisure travel.

Boston has been particularly hard-hit. Through October, it suffered the sharpest drop in business of any of the 25 largest hotel markets in the country, according to Pinnacle Advisory Group, a hotel consulting firm. If that continues, Pinnacle vice president Sebastian Colella said in an e-mail, “We expect to see more hotels close permanently, change hands, and change use.”

The Commonwealth is among the first locally to undergo a change of hands during the pandemic. It’s one of four properties — including a Residence Inn in Kendall Square — that Xenia sold this fall as part of a plan to raise cash to pay off debt.

“Year to date, we have now sold four hotels for nearly $400 million,” said CEO Marcel Verbaas. “These dispositions have allowed us to efficiently raise a significant amount of capital at a superior cost to other alternatives.”

At the Commonwealth, the company is taking a loss to gain some cash. The investment group paid $136 million to buy the hotel, which added 96 rooms and extra meeting space in 2016. The 245-room property was hit hard by the loss of Red Sox fans this baseball season and by a sharp drop in visitors to nearby Boston University. Unlike some hotels near college campuses, the Commonwealth did not lease rooms to universities for student housing. And its ground-floor retail space, which is owned and managed separately from the hotel itself, has been dark since the landmark restaurant Eastern Standard closed during the spring.

The hotel’s new owner, Ohana, operates boutique luxury resorts in California; Park City, Utah; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This is its first property in Boston. The company declined to comment but said the Commonwealth’s longtime managers, Sage Hospitality Group, would stay in place and that no major physical changes are planned.

Along with built-in business ― during normal times ― from Red Sox fans and Boston University visitors, the Commonwealth has the advantage of being in a part of town where development has been surging. Developer Related Beal is turning the buildings beneath the Citgo Sign, across Kenmore Square, into lab and office space. It’s also about to start work on a large life-sciences-oriented tower above the Massachusetts Turnpike at Fenway Center.

Fenway Sports Group also recently unveiled plans for a major development

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Coronavirus in Austin, Texas: What to know Dec. 2

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Wednesday, Dec. 2.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor’s note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, check out our new blog here.

KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus and COVID-19 news in the Austin area.

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE’s Dec. 2 live blog.

  • Texas: More than 1.2 million cases have been reported in the state, and more than 21,700 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: At least 39,037 cases have been reported and at least 486 people have died. At least 35,905 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: At least 7,526 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 104 people have died. At least 6,684 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: At least 13,674 cases have been reported in the county and at least 165 people have died. At least 12,673 people have recovered from the virus.

8 p.m. – Premier ER and Urgent Care says it now has the capability to test for influenza A/B and COVID-19 all with a single swab. 

“COVID-19 has been challenging in many ways. We see patients every day who are scared and concerned with not feeling well and what care they many need. Our team remains committed to partnering with community leaders and we participate with both local and national groups to stay informed, updated on this virus and learn as much as we can. Things continue to change quickly, and we are very excited to serve our community with the ability to offer one swab for multiple tests,” said Kristina Holcomb, the vice president of communications and patient relations for Premier.

5:50 p.m. – Travis County health authorities report 280 new cases and two more deaths. There have now been 39,037 cases, 35,905 recoveries and 486 deaths reported.

The Giddings State School reports one new positive case from a teacher. The employee has not been on campus since Nov. 19 and this is the first positive case since Nov. 4.  A total of 46 staff members and 89 youth have now tested positive.

5:15 p.m. – The Hays County Local Health Department reports 97 new lab-confirmed cases, one new hospitalization, three new hospital discharges and 78 additional people now considered recovered. The total number of individuals considered recovered is 6,684. The total number of lab-confirmed cases is 7,526 with 738 of those considered active.

Williamson County added one more death today, bringing the total to 165. There have now been a total of 13,674 cases and 12,673 recoveries.

5 p.m. – Texas reports 14,758 new cases for a total of 1,200,674. The 7-day average is still down from a week ago due to a lull in reported cases over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but it is up over the past two days.


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Italy announces Christmas travel ban

a person walking in the rain with an umbrella: A travel ban between different regions will be in place from 21 December to 6 January

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A travel ban between different regions will be in place from 21 December to 6 January

Italy has outlined strict coronavirus curbs for Christmas, including a ban on travel between different regions from 21 December to 6 January.

A curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 will also be in place.

Restaurants can open in some regions until 18:00 but only takeaways are allowed in other parts of the country. Ski slopes must close until 7 January.

It comes as Italy announced its highest daily Covid death toll since the pandemic started, with 993 fatalities.

“We cannot let down our guard,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a news conference.

“We must eliminate the risk of a third wave which could arrive in January – and not less serious than the first and the second,” he added.

There will be travel exceptions for work, medical reasons or emergencies.

On top of the regional travel bans, people will not be allowed to leave their home towns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The new curbs have been criticised in a joint statement by regional authorities, who say they were not consulted by the central government.

“The lack of discussion has made it impossible to balance the curbs with the needs of families,” the statement said.

Attilio Fontana, governor of the northern Lombardy region, which has reported the most cases and deaths, called the new rules “crazy”.

More than 58,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 in Italy.

Before Thursday, the country’s previous record daily death toll was 969 on 27 March.

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Des Moines recreation manager named Omaha’s new parks director | Local News

20201109_new_miller_LS07 (Gallery) (copy)

People eat lunch under a tree bearing bright autumn leaves at Miller Park in North Omaha on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has hired the city’s next director of parks, recreation and public property.

Matthew Kalcevich, recreation manager for the City of Des Moines, will begin Dec. 14. Kalcevich has more than 10 years of experience managing recreation centers, public pools, golf courses and other facilities, according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office.

He replaces longtime director Brook Bench, who left the job over the summer.

“Matt brings enthusiasm and experience to manage our park system and the wide range of recreation, leisure and athletic facilities we operate,” Stothert said in the release. “He shares our commitment to great public spaces, which contribute to Omaha’s quality of life for families and neighborhoods.”

Kalcevich will make $162,318 in the role.

Last summer, the city hired Searchwide Global, a recruitment firm, to find its next parks director. The city agreed to pay the firm 30% of the hire’s annual salary — nearly $49,000, based on Kalcevich’s pay.

He will be responsible for overseeing more than 250 city parks, eight golf courses, 18 swimming pools, 11 splash pads, four dog parks, two tennis complexes, 13 community centers, a trap and skeet center, a nature center and the city’s ice arena.

Miller Park has a whole new shine in Omaha

“I am incredibly excited to lead this amazing department and expand the wonderful facilities and programs already serving the community,” Kalcevich said in the release. “My family and I are thrilled to make Omaha our new home.”

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Board imposes new tax on hotel stays to upgrade Dayton Convention Center

A board that will own and operate the Dayton Convention Center has approved imposing a new 3% tax on hotel and motel stays in Montgomery County to help upgrade the aging downtown event center.

a view of a city: The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. STAFF

© Provided by Dayton Daily News
The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. STAFF

The new countywide lodgings tax will help pay for millions of dollars in renovations to modernize the convention center, which is nearly five decades old and has fallen into disrepair and has significant deferred maintenance needs, officials say.

Supporters say the Convention Center is vital to the regional tourism industry and facility improvements will make it more of a destination and increase its competitiveness to help attract more events and visitors.

Dayton to give up ownership of convention center

a large building: The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

© Provided by Dayton Daily News
The Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

On Thursday, the convention facilities authority board of directors unanimously voted to approve a new hotel lodging excise tax.

A month ago, the board decided to table a vote on the proposed additional tax levy, saying they wanted more time to review pertinent information and the proposed code of regulations.

The 3% tax will apply to the 71 hotels and motels located in Montgomery County. Combined, they offer nearly 6,700 rooms, officials say.

The new tax applies to any establishment that rents out five or more rooms in the county, officials say.

Montgomery County already has a 3% lodging tax that funds the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau and other entertainment-related activities. Dayton, which currently owns the convention center, has a 3% tax that is put toward the facility, but the revenue consistently fell short of covering operating costs.

Montgomery County’s 3% lodgings tax generated about $3.6 million in 2019.

The three-story convention center was built in 1972, and it also has a front and rear addition that were constructed in 1986, featuring meeting and support spaces.

The center offers a large exhibit hall, multiple ballrooms, meeting rooms, a theater, offices, skywalk and other amenities.

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