By Mandeep Lambaand Dipti Mohan
Hotels must consider outsourcing hotel outlets to standalone marquee restaurants that had made their mark in the pre-COVID era but are now facing an existential crisis. Read on to know more.
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The bilateral air travel bubble, slated to commence on 22 November 2020, triggered an immediate uplift in flight searches from Singapore to Hong Kong. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, there will be one flight a day into each city and it will increase to two flights a day from 7 December, with 200 passengers each way. Travellers departing Singapore must apply for approval to take the COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction tests at least seven days before departure and test negative within 72 hours before their scheduled departure time. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, travellers must retake the test and remain in the airport until tested negative. There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel, and no requirement for quarantine, stay-home notice and controlled itinerary or sponsorship. If the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked COVID-19 cases in Singapore or Hong Kong is more than five, the air travel bubble will be suspended for two weeks. According to research by ForwardKeys, the bookings for Singapore-Hong Kong flights is roughly three times more compared to Hong Kong-Singapore bookings, with the peak travel dates during the Christmas period, from 18 to 25 December..
Secretary of Tourism, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, announced that the Philippines have authorised certain hotels to operate at full capacity. These hotels must be situated within the Modified General Community Quarantine (“MGCQ”) or General Community Quarantine (“GCQ”) areas and are to be compliant with the government’s safety guidelines. The outbound travel ban is also lifted, where Filipino citizens are now allowed to travel for non-essential purposes from 21 October 2020. However, travellers are required to adhere to certain measures, including the submission of roundtrip tickets, adequate travel and health insurance, approved visas, and a negative coronavirus test results within 24 hours before departure. These decisions are implemented with the aim of stimulating the tourism industry and aid local businesses to recover from the impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, Puyat also mentioned that the Philippine government is ready to kickstart the entire tourism value chain in the near future, especially within the accommodation, transportation and tour operation sectors.
US-based Radisson Hotel Group (“Radisson”) has launched a new brand, Radisson Individuals, to allow independent hotels and small chains to be part of their global platform. The Group’s Chief Executive Officer mentioned that the launch will be a part of their five-year transformation plan to be one of the top three hotel brands in the world. Individual hotels that join the brand will benefit from Radisson’s global reach, operation systems, integrated IT and revenue platform, reward program as well as contracting power and economies of scale. To be a part of the new brand, hotels will have to undertake an assessment that focuses on health and safety, fire compliance, online rating and the ability to connect to Radisson’s main operating systems. Additionally, hotels are required to receive service quality trainings by Radisson and achieve a GRI score above 80%. Several hotels across the UK and Asia have joined the brand ahead of the launch while others in Italy, Germany, Russia and beyond are undergoing discussions. The launch of Radisson Individuals will bring the number of brands in the Radisson’s portfolio to nine including Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, and prizeotel.
The Hong Kong-based private equity company, Alta Capital Real Estate (“Alta Capital”), has announced its first hospitality fund, Alta Hospitality Fund Asia. The total value of the fund will be USD50 million and is expected to generate 15 to 25% internal rate of returns (“IRR”) over the six years period. The fund has already started the fundraising process and target its first closing by January 2021 with the final closing in October 2021. Alta Capital will target family offices, private banks, and high net worth investors to invest into the fund. The fund has set the plan to invest in undervalued assets across Asia Pacific region including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. The focus will be on boutique hotels, wellness retreats and villa communities with 50 to 150 keys. The firm plans to conduct repositioning, rebranding and redevelopment to deliver solid returns post-COVID. As of this moment, Alta Capital has started to invest in two hotels, 90-key midscale boutique hotel in Bali and a prime hilltop greenfield development in Galle, Sri Lanka. The company targets unlevered IRR of more than 20% for the Bali asset and 25% for Sri Lankan asset.