It’d be virtually impossible for any company to maintain the growth trajectory of Sonesta Hotels International in the past few years.
Spurred on by brands’ reluctance to pay minimum rents, hotel real estate investment trust Service Properties Trust began pulling hotels from management contracts with major hotel brands and putting those properties under their partially owned brand company, Sonesta, in 2019. Not long after, Sonesta bought the hotel franchising company RLHC and introduced a growth platform away from its affiliated REIT.
All of that amounted to Sonesta growing from a few dozen hotels at the onset of the pandemic to nearly 1,200 today. Sonesta’s Executive Vice President of Franchising and Development Keith Pierce said the stage is now set for another era of booming growth at the company.
“Three years after the acquisition, the Sonesta enterprise is the eighth-largest hotel company here in North America by a couple of measures,” he said while on the Hotel News Now podcast. “We’re off and running.”
Part of the reason Pierce is feeling so optimistic is the addition of several new brands and soft brands across the Sonesta portfolio, bringing its total offering to 15 brands. He said the brand offerings feel much more complete now, although Sonesta executives are looking into the possibility of adding something in the all-inclusive resort space focused in the Caribbean and Latin America.
While there is still some talk about whether the larger economy — and likely the hotel industry with it — could take a downward turn in 2024, Pierce remains confident. He said Sonesta’s growth platform is still so new and still has plenty of white space even if the environment grows more difficult. The company could also benefit from a newly unified loyalty program called Sonesta Travel Pass.
“It’s gonna be challenging, but again, we just have so much opportunity,” he said. “We can grow selectively; we can grow methodically. Our capital partners are well-capitalized. We will look to buy and they will look to buy more hotel locations at the right time and the right pricing. So we’ll have a really strong year, and I’m looking forward to it.”
For more from HNN’s conversation with Sonesta’s Keith Pierce, listen to the podcast here.
SOURCE: Hotel News Now