10 hotel stories that shaped the year

Boutique Hotel News revisits 10 stories that defined 2023 for the boutique, lifestyle and luxury hotel sectors.

• Outsite raises €300 million for European boutique hotel expansion

EU: Coliving and remote work startup Outsite has raised €300 million in funding from three real estate investors to pursue opportunities in Europe.

Outsite was founded in 2015 by Emmanuel Guisset and provides coliving accommodation and spaces for remote workers across the US, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Currently, the company has 50 live locations and offers an annual membership with exclusive listings available on its website.

Extendam, Keys REIM and Stone Capital have collectively invested €300 million in Outsite to fund its expansion across Europe. Target markets include Spain, France, Portugal and Italy with a focus on boutique hotels with between 20-50 rooms or more.

Read the full story here.

• 11 arrests at Marriott Regents Park for illegal employment

UK: 11 agency staff have been arrested at Marriott Regents Park in London who were employed illegally as cleaners, porters and maids.

The 11 staff members worked through third party recruitment agencies, under two separate subcontractors. 

A release from the UK government said that the staff worked 15 hours a day and were “significantly underpaid… working at the hotel for half the normal salary”.

Read the full story here.

• Checking in with… podcast series

BHN editor – hospitality Eloise Hanson speaks to hotel leaders and CEOs about their careers and their ambitions, offering an exclusive glimpse into their personal and professional lives. Episodes so far include:

• Chip Conley, founder of the Modern Elder Academy, talks about the “crescendo of [his] career” and how Chip is blending his former boutique hotel experience and knowledge with regeneration communities. He also highlights the greatest disruption to travel and the opportunities for the hospitality and living sectors to converge.

• Bram Van Der Hoek, CEO of Sircle Collection, chats about the best piece of advice he has received, his top three bucket list items, and his music preferences – with a nod to Harry Styles. He also mentions the launch of new brands Sircle Hotels and Aterre, the future growth of boutique hotels, and plans for future expansion.

• Rami Zeidan, founder and CEO of Life House, talks about his greatest achievements, worst mistakes, and what he’s yet to accomplish. Rami also discusses what challenges independent hotel owners face, what prompted the partnership with metasearch engine KAYAK, as well as future plans to introduce a new brand.

Listen to the episodes here.

• Report examines how hospitality can deliver ‘S’ in ESG

UK: Non-profit hospitality coalition the Energy & Environment Alliance (EEA) in collaboration with law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) have released a report which examines the ‘S’ in ESG.

The report provides an overview of the key social issues in the hospitality sector alongside advice on how businesses can maximise relationships with employees, customers, the supply chain and the wider community. It broadly aims to help businesses navigate the challenges and opportunities that the ESG agenda presents.

In particular, the report explores modern slavery prevention measures, diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) policies, upcoming UK legislation relevant to the ‘S’ in ESG, as well as flexible working and family leave provisions.

Read the full story here.

• Ennismore launches ‘Dis-loyalty membership program

Worldwide: Lifestyle hospitality company Ennismore has launched a new Dis-loyalty program which rewards travellers across a collective of 75 hotels and 150 restaurants.

Launching today at £12 per month, the Dis-loyalty program rewards members across 10 brands under Ennismore such as 25hours Hotels, Mama Shelter, The Hoxton, Mondrian, SLS and more.

Five core benefits of the program include:

• 50 per cent discount off newly-launched hotels in the first three months of opening

• 20 per cent off every first-time stay

• 10 per cent off return stays

• 10 per cent discount on food and drinks in any restaurant, bar and coffee shop

• 365 free barista-made drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) – one every day of the year

The program will also donate five per cent of membership subscription revenue to charities that support local communities.

Read the full story here.

• Maalouf appointed IHG CEO as Barr steps down

UK: The CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Keith Barr, will step down from his current role on 30th June 2023, to be succeeded by Elie Maalouf IHG’s Americas CEO.

Barr has been at the helm of IHG since July 2017. During this time, he’s led the company to surpass 6,000 open hotels worldwide and introduced seven brands. He has also been responsible for launching IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow – a 10-year plan which outlines a series of ESG commitments.

Upon departure, Barr intends to return with his family to the US and will remain available to support and advise IHG until the end of 2023.

Read the full story here.

• Hyatt to acquire Mr & Mrs Smith for £53 million

US/UK: Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced plans to acquire the London-based hotel booking platform Mr & Mrs Smith for £53 million in cash.

The planned acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of this year. At a later date, Hyatt will introduce direct booking access to more than 1,500 properties within the Mr & Mrs platform.

Over 100 staff members will join Hyatt’s commercial services team, including Tamara Lohan who will serve as Mr & Mrs Smith CEO. James Lohan will take on the role as Mr & Mrs Smith chief creative officer.

Read the full story here.

• citizenM secures €480m sustainability-linked loan

The Netherlands: Amsterdam-based boutique hotel group citizenM has secured a dual currency €243.3 million and £201.7 million sustainability-linked loan (SLL).

The funding is linked to ESG (environmental, social and governance) targets such as reducing CO2 emissions and improving green building certifications.

It will incentivise citizenM to achieve environmental benchmarks in a bid to secure lower interest rates. citizenM currently operates 31 hotels worldwide across 18 cities and nine countries. A further 14 properties are under development.

Read the full story here.

• BrewDog teaches hospitality new tricks

Piers Brown, CEO at IHM (publisher of Boutique Hotel News), reflects on what hospitality providers can learn from BrewDog.

Call me sober curious, beer has been an occasional sip from Dad when nobody’s looking (12-15), naughty secret (16-17), guilty accomplice (20’s), slightly dangerous obsession (30’s/40’s), and my not so toxic friend at times turning 50.

I’m perhaps what is termed a promiscuous beer drinker – not somebody who hides their drinks or doesn’t know when to stop, but somebody who likes to chop and change based on the taste bud sensation expected from the foray of choice draught beers thrust upon me at the bar.

Read the full feature here.

• Starwood and AJ launch lifestyle hospitality platform

US: Private investment firm Starwood Capital Group and hospitality company Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners have launched Field & Stream Lodge Co., an affordable lifestyle platform for lodging in the United States.

The Field & Stream platform will initially create between 20-25 hotels in the US, targeting locations such as national parks, beaches, mountain and ski towns. The brand will be aimed at the outdoor recreation industry.

Starwood, through a controlled affiliate, and AJ plan to scale the portfolio quickly. 

Read the full story here.

Join BHN editor – hospitality Eloise Hanson in the final webinar of the year on Monday 11th December 2pm GMT, when she will be revealing five trends set to shape the hotel industry in 2024.

Hear from industry experts on each of the five trends:

• Lynne Blakey, director, Evelyn Partners

• Jim Cathcart, policy director, UKHospitality

• Tracey Nesbitt, editor, Solo Traveler

• Billy Skelli-Cohen, CEO, Zien Group

• Toni Black, partner and interior director, Blacksheep

Register at no-cost here

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