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Dalian Wanda Group (Wanda), a Chinese company that owns hospitality properties across the U.S., announced today its plans to sell 76 hotels and 13 tourism projects—including theme parks—in a $9.3 billion deal to developer Sunac China. This is a change of pace for Wanda, which is known around the world for making large scale acquisitions. Due to Wanda’s size, experts in both in the U.S. and in China have been keeping a close eye on the company. Politicians in Washington are pushing for increased review of the big deals made by Chinese companies for national security purposes, while in China, officials are concerned about large companies with massive debt posing a threat to the country’s financial system. To read more about this deal, click here.

Europe’s hotel construction pipeline has 1,062 projects with a total of 172,063 rooms—up 13 percent year-over-year (YOY), according to a report from Lodging Econometrics. About half of those projects (527 with 91,195 rooms) are under construction, an increase of 30 percent YOY. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months total 291 projects with 44,757 rooms, up 28 percent YOY. Meanwhile, projects in the early planning stages are down 20 percent—244 projects with 36,111 rooms have neither started nor planned construction to start in the next 12 months.

The top hotel companies in Europe’s current construction pipeline are: Hilton Worldwide with 164 projects/26,182 rooms; Marriott International with 151 projects/26,631 rooms; and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 101 projects/17,249 rooms. The largest brands in the pipeline for each of these companies are: Hilton’s Hampton Inn with 68 projects/10,268 rooms; Marriott’s Moxy with 45 projects/8,677 rooms; and IHG’s Holiday Inn Express with 47 projects/7,634 rooms. Cities in Europe with the largest pipelines are: London with 89 projects/16,339 rooms; Moscow with 41 projects/8,848 rooms; and Istanbul with 35 projects/6,284 rooms.

Guest satisfaction in today’s connected and mobile-driven world is all about personalization. Hoteliers are turning to mobile point-of-sale (POS) systems to improve guest experience and service throughout their properties—whether at a hotel pool or in a restaurant. Demands for convenience and efficiency are both key drivers contributing to the rise of POS systems at hotels—guests are able to get the personalized, fast, and user-friendly service they want, and hoteliers are able to respond to those requests no matter where they are on the property. POS systems also have the potential to connect hoteliers with guests further by providing valuable insights into guests’ preferences and opportunities to engage with them directly. Read more.

PORTSMOUTH, NH—According to Lodging Econometrics (LE), Canada’s hotel construction pipeline currently has 214 projects with a total of 28,299 rooms, up 7 percent by projects year-over-year (YOY). Of that total, 75 projects and 10,700 rooms are currently under construction, up 12 percent YOY. Projected scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are up 29 percent—at 84 projects and 9,808 rooms. Projects still in the early planning phase are down 19 percent—at 55 projects and 7,791 rooms.

The top hotel companies in Canada’s construction pipeline are: Marriott International with 46 projects/6,997 rooms; Hilton Worldwide with 29 projects/3,649 rooms; and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 28 projects/3,149 rooms. The largest brands in the pipeline for each of these companies are: Courtyard by Marriott with 12 projects/1,733 rooms; Hampton Inn with 8 projects/825 rooms; and Holiday Inn Express with 18 projects/1,935 rooms.

Cities in Canada with the largest pipelines are: Toronto with 37 projects/4,960 rooms; Calgary with 18 projects/2,808 rooms; and Montreal with 12 projects/1,652 rooms.

Hotel industry experts are closely watching the Connecticut hotel market this summer due to the state’s high hotel occupancy taxes. Set at 15 percent, many are concerned that the taxes will deter tourism. At first, the tax wasn’t an issue—occupancy increased four years in a row—but it fell in 2016 and 2017. Read more.

Hotels across the country have seen increased bookings between August 18 and 22 as tourists plan travel to see the total solar eclipse passing through North America. The astronomical event will put nearly 100 million Americans in near-total darkness for over two minutes. South Carolina—one state in the 70-mile path that will experience the eclipse—has experienced increased hotel bookings, leaving limited lodging in Charleston and Columbia, the state capital. The state and its hotels are the most accessible for the expected 2 million visitors coming from across the East Coast to witness the natural phenomenon. Read more.

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