RLJ’s Urban Hotel Portfolio Performance Signals Business Travel Rebound

RLJ’s Urban Hotel Portfolio Performance Signals Business Travel Rebound

Travelers lastly are returning to city cities for holidays, occasions and enterprise journey, which RLJ Lodging Trust President and CEO Leslie Hale credited as the principle issue behind the actual property funding belief’s robust second quarter.

Urban accommodations characterize two-thirds of the corporate’s earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation and amortization and noticed the strongest progress within the quarter, “attaining a brand new excessive of 95% of 2019 income per out there room in June,” Hale stated on the corporate’s earnings name with analysts.

June common every day fee throughout the portfolio surpassed 2019 ranges, and Hale stated that accelerating city demand specifically “is a sign of a runway that exists to drive fee” even additional.

And whereas business-transient demand has been the normal trade laggard within the US to date this 12 months, Hale stated RLJ’s portfolio has seen “speedy enchancment” of the phase, not solely in tempo of return, however in efficiency metrics.

“Business-transient revenues throughout the second quarter elevated considerably by over 50% from the primary quarter, which accelerated every month, with June attaining 71% of 2019, a brand new excessive watermark,” she stated.

Weekday occupancy, the normal indicator of business-transient demand, achieved 88% of 2019 ranges within the second quarter, up 40% over the primary quarter of the 12 months.

And whereas occasions from small- and medium-sized corporations kind the majority of RLJ’s business-transient and group demand, Hale stated the corporate has seen “a return of conventional industries, equivalent to monetary providers, consulting and know-how corporations” to the highway.

Still-consistent leisure demand, rising group-business demand and the “new sources of rising demand from the hybrid work surroundings” additional bolstered RLJ’s city portfolio, which is concentrated in Washington, DC; Chicago; Atlanta; Miami; Boston; and Houston. RLJ’s present portfolio has 97 accommodations with greater than 21,200 rooms in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

The firm’s resorts achieved 110% of 2019 RevPAR within the second quarter, stated Sean Mahoney, CFO and govt vp. Group enterprise income for the total portfolio grew to 90% of 2019 ranges, and business-transient revenues reached 64% of 2019 ranges, or an 1,800 basis-point enchancment over the primary quarter.

Total portfolio EBITDA of $118.6 million within the quarter was 91% of 2019 ranges.

Hale stated she does not see this acceleration slowing down anytime quickly, both.

“We count on leisure to stay wholesome, particularly since city markets are absolutely open,” she stated. “Our July business-transient revenues improved farther from June and we count on company journey to proceed to strengthen.”

Third-quarter group reserving tempo is monitoring at 90% of 2019 ranges, she stated, and up to date uptics in worldwide inbound journey ought to present extra upside for the corporate’s city accommodations.

RLJ’s most notable transaction occurred exterior of the second quarter; earlier this week the corporate introduced its buy of the 124-room 21c Museum Hotel in Nashville for $59 million, or $476,000 per key.

This is RLJ’s first resort in Tennessee, and Hale referred to as Nashville a prime progress market the place “demand has been rising at two occasions provide for the final 10 years,” pushed not solely by leisure but additionally by company enlargement and regional group demand.

“This resort is predicted to generate RevPAR that’s two occasions our portfolio common and a stabilized[net operating income[ yield of 8% to 8.5%],” she stated. [netoperatingincome[yieldof8percentto85%”shesaid

Year thus far, the corporate has offered two resort property, together with the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Denver North/Westminster, which happened within the quarter, for a mixed worth of roughly $49.9 million.

And whereas Hale stated RLJ continues to have a look at opportunistic gross sales, she expects the REIT to be web impartial this 12 months relating to shopping for and promoting.

The firm closed the quarter with $1.1 billion of liquidity, together with $511.5 million in unrestricted money, and Hale credited RLJ’s “robust steadiness sheet” to its capability to recycle capital into share repurchases. The firm repurchased 4.2 million widespread shares for $50 million.

“Tight operational controls” and a full-time worker base nonetheless a lot smaller than 2019 ranges led the corporate “to attain 91% of 2019 resort EBITDA, and EBITDA margins, which have been solely 60 foundation factors under 2019,” Hale stated.

Occupancy throughout the portfolio within the second quarter was 74.7%, or 90% of 2019 ranges. Average every day fee within the quarter of $195.64 was 105% of 2019 ranges; and RevPAR was $146.05 — 92% of 2019 ranges and up 36% from the primary quarter, based on the corporate’s earnings.

At press time, RLJ’s inventory worth was buying and selling at $12.38, down 11.13% 12 months thus far. The New York Stock Exchange Composite was down 11.3% for a similar interval.

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