Asking hotel companies why they didn’t buy something a rival acquired can come off a little like asking someone why they didn’t sign The Beatles or JK Rowling. Snooks are being cocked and for company being asked, it’s a fine line between replying ‘we’re stupid and we missed out’ and ‘we didn’t want it, it’s rubbish’.
So well done to Geoff Ballotti, CEO, Wyndham, who, when asked why the group didn’t buy Radisson, replied that it had gone to the effort of exiting its own real estate and management guarantees, which would all have come screaming back with an acquisition of Radisson.
He then ruined it a bit by saying Wyndham had looked at it “multiple times over the years” oh and that it competed with Wyndham and Wyndham Grand which were doing well and had larger footprints, so there. But it all started out well, which is the point here.
Not that the group wasn’t on the hunt, with CFO Michele Allen commenting: “Consolidation in the industry is inevitable, and size and scale matter. They matter now more than they ever have and we expect that to continue”. But… “I think it’s a fair assumption to say there’s not an abundance of deals coming our way”.
So no need to bait breath and in the meantime, the group had a net room growth outlook of 2% to 4% with its estate that is 99% franchised, which meant that any incoming interest rate horror was going to hit owners, not them. They, of course, didn’t phrase it that way.
What it was phrasing to owners was the success of its loyalty programme, which it said was behind revenue generated from direct bookings on its brand.com sites growing nearly 30% in the quarter compared to 2021, outpacing the rate of growth across all third-party channels.
Why ruin all that by participating in real estate?
One company where the relationship with real estate is a little more varied is Accor, which had once been tipped for a move on the European Radisson business, but has so far disappointed everyone by doing nothing spectacular during the pandemic (other than lining up a delicious split between its luxury and economy hotels, bidders apply now please).
Sébastien Bazin, chairman & CEO, reported that the group saw trade exceeding pre-crisis levels for the first time and was confirming its forecast of net unit growth in the network of around 3.5%.
There was no return of the comments in the first half that recovery was ‘heterogeneous’ and thank goodness, because Paris is too hot right now for words of more than one syllable.
As ever with Accor, there was no pleasing the market, which pushed shares down by over 9% on grumpiness that the guidance on FY Ebitda of more than €550m was soft.
Would the analysts be cheered up by a purchase? Oh, go on.