Week in Review: Hotel Companies Focusing on Luxury

Coinciding with ILTM Cannes taking place this week, several major hotel companies shared their development plans for the coming years, with a strong focus on luxury properties across the board.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation shared its development pipeline of more than 35 planned luxury hotels and resorts globally through 2025 across the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Miraval, Alila, Andaz, Thompson Hotels and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brands, as well as Inclusive Collection brands Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts and Dreams Resorts & Spas. Additionally, a Hyatt study found that affluent worldly travelers are seeking luxury hotels that value the purpose of their stay and proactively plan around their needs. In turn, its luxury hotels take special care in developing experiences and excursions curated personally for each guest, including experiential well-being programming that they value the most.

Separately, Marriott International said that over 200 luxury hotels and resorts across its luxury portfolio are in the global development pipeline, including 24 properties expected to open in 2024. This year, the company opened its 500th luxury hotel opening with the debut of The St. Regis Riyadh. Looking forward, travelers can expect new properties from such brands as The Ritz-Carlton (as well as Ritz-Carlton Reserve and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Club), The St. Regis, W Hotels, EDITION Hotels, The Luxury Collection and JW Marriott.

Spanish hotel group Meliá Hotels International is also focusing on the luxury sector, with one in three of its pipeline openings within its luxury portfolio. This year, Meliá added Tanzania to its portfolio with the opening of Ngorongoro Lodge Meliá Collection and celebrated the Paradisus by Meliá brand making its inaugural debut in Europe with openings in Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. Meliá is, additionally, preparing to open the doors of some of its most luxurious hotels yet: Palazzo Cordusio Gran Meliá in Milan; ME by Meliá properties in Lisbon and Malta; and ZEL, a new lifestyle brand and joint venture with tennis legend Rafael Nadal.

Zel Mallorca
Zel Mallorca (Zel Mallorca)

In other hotel news, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) says it supports the “No Hidden Fees on Extra Expenses for Stays (FEES) Act,” which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Young Kim and Kathy Castor. This bill prohibits unfair or misleading price advertising for places of short-term lodging and requires accurate price listings that include all mandatory and resort fees.

Holiday and 2024 Travel Trends

This holiday season, Americans are split on where they’re traveling: It’s either warm-weather destinations or big cities. To that point, Allianz Partners USA found Americans are planning holiday trips to New York City and Cancun, Mexico, as their top domestic and international locations, respectively. New York headlines for the third year in a row as the No. 1 domestic destination on American travelers’ wish lists this holiday season, followed by sunny Orlando (No. 2), Las Vegas (No. 3), Los Angeles (No. 4) and Atlanta (No. 5).

For the sixth time in a row, Cancun stays on top with travelers opting to escape the cold to relax on Mexico’s sunny beaches. Not far behind, London, England (No. 2), continues to be a top contender while other sunny destinations like San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico (No. 3), Montego Bay, Jamaica (No. 4), Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (No. 5), Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (No. 6), Nassau, Bahamas (No. 7), Oranjestad, Aruba (No. 9) and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos (No. 10) continue to attract U.S. travelers.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
The Winter Village at Bryant Park in New York City. (Colin Miller/Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, 2021)

Looking towards 2024, American Marketing Group—which comprises TravelSavers, NEST and Affluent Traveler Collection—found that travelers are motivated by crossing items off their to-do lists, prioritizing authentic, customized experiences in off-the-beaten-path locales. It also found that all-inclusive travel is the top trend for next year, as travelers crave extra value and ease of planning in their vacations. River (No. 2) and ocean cruising (No. 4) also ranked highly in the survey, while multigenerational (No. 3) travel and small-group (No. 5) travel are surging in popularity due to a desire to experience the world with loved ones.

In addition, a survey by World Nomads and Adventure.Travel found that 96 percent of respondents said they plan to travel in 2024. The top factors driving travel decisions, according to the report, included regional political instability (44 percent); increased travel costs and other inflationary pressures (43 percent) and overtourism (24 percent). That said, a third of respondents said increased costs have not impacted their travel plans, with 86 percent planning to spend the same as or more than last year.

New Rail Developments

The U.S. will be investing over $6 billion on new train lines in the coming years, with a large focus on the West Coast. Under the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Federal-State Partnership Program (FSP), the Federal Railroad Administration is awarding more than $6 billion in funding for high-speed rail includes $3 billion for Brightline West’s high-speed line between Las Vegas and L.A., planned to open by 2028, and $3 billion for the continued design and construction for California’s high-speed rail line.

high-speed train

Elsewhere, Rail Europe announced an enhancement to its B2B partner solutions platform with the arrival of the “Multi-Providers” feature. This new tool is set to improve advisors’ and RailAPI partners’ booking experience by enabling them to book train tickets with different providers under one single journey. This feature is officially available on all B2B channels: RailPortal (its trade website), RailFlash and RailAPI.

Other News and Notes

Beyond the above, here are several other important developments this week from the travel industry:

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