Last year boasted strong growth for the Canadian hotel industry, thanks in large part to an increase in international visitors. In fact, data from Tennessee-based STR shows total international arrivals to Canada were up 4.2 per cent in 2017 and points to the influx of visitors — as well as celebrations around Canada’s 150th birthday — as the main drivers of hotel demand.
This was good news for the hotel industry, which saw occupancy rise 2.4 per cent to 65.9 per cent, an average RevPAR of $103.31 (a 7.7-per-cent increase) and an ADR jump of 5.2 per cent to $156.73 — the biggest increase since 2000. For Hotelier’s Top 50 hotel companies, the year closed out with total estimated gross sales of $19 billion, up 15 per cent from $16.5 billion 2016. Demand for the year was up 3.2 per cent, surpassing projections and pushing the highest absolute-occupancy level in Canada since 1999.
LEADING THE WAY
Leading the Top 50 companies once again on this year’s report, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts recorded an estimated $5,188.8 billion in gross sales, up from an estimated $4,863.1 billion in 2016. In 2017, the company opened seven units, including its first properties in Kuwait and Tunisia and has plans to open seven additional hotels in 2018 — including a new hotel and residence in Montreal.
Marriott Hotels of Canada maintained second place on this year’s Top 50 with gross sales of $2,825.8 billion for its 227 Canadian properties. Last year, the hotel behemoth opened 12 properties in Canada and it has another 54 in the pipeline. On the loyalty front, Marriott International recently announced plans to combine the Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs into a single account across the entire loyalty portfolio.
FOLLOWING A TRANSFORMATIONAL
2016, in which parent company AccorHotels acquired three iconic brands — Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel — AccorHotels North & Central America once again ranks third on the Top 50 with $980.0 The Canadian subsidiary of the global brand owns, franchises and manages 19 Fairmont, seven Novotel and one Sofitel in Canada. Last year, the company’s Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal reopened following extensive renovations.
Finishing in fourth spot, Hilton Canada Co. recorded gross sales of $844 million in 2017 — up $144 million from 2016 estimated gross sales. The company currently has 38 projects in the pipeline in Canada, which will add more than 4,000 rooms to Hilton’s portfolio. Rounding out the top-5 companies in this year’s report, Parsippany, N.J.-based Wyndham Hotels & Resorts reported gross sales of $819.5 million for 2017 — up from $767.9 in 2016. Formerly Wyndham Hotel Group, the publicly traded company with 509 properties in Canada became Wyndham Hotels & Resorts as of June 1, 2018. The company also recently purchased La Quinta Holdings, which expanded its mid-scale and upper-midscale presence through the addition of the brand’s more than 900 franchised hotels.
Coming in at number-7 on this year’s Top 50, Mississauga-based InnVest Hotels recorded $626 million in gross sales, up from $591 million the previous year. In 2017, the company acquired the former Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto and is in the process of converting it to the St. Regis brand. InnVest also opened the Kimpton Saint George hotel in Toronto this summer.
A perennial favourite on the Top 50 Report, Best Western Hotels & Resorts Held strong in the number-9 position with $600.9 million — a $50.9-million jump from 2016 — for its portfolio of 28 Canadian hotels. The company has expanded to 11 brands over the last two years, with the recent introduction of a second soft brand, BW Signature Collection. Its 2018 Canadian pipeline includes Glo, Vib, Premier Collection, Signature Collection and the dual-branded Plus/Executive Residency.
Moving up one spot this year to number-33, New Castle Hotels & Resorts finished 2017 with $71.3 million in sales across its nine Canadian properties — up from $61 million in 2016. In 2017, it assumed the management of the Westin Prince, Toronto, which will undergo a full renovation later this year.
Vancouver-based O’Neill Hotels & Resorts, which finished in the number-12 spot (up two spots from the previous year), recorded a gross-sales increase of 43 per cent — closing out 2017 with gross sales of $434.8. The privately owned Canadian company, which owns and manges 119 properties in Canada and the U.S., O’Neill added 22 third-party hotel contracts to its portfolio in 2017.