Hard-charging international hotel brands staking claim in U.S.

Hotel brands in the U.S. thought OTAs and Airbnb were their big concerns. Turns out, international hotels, many of which are now turning their gaze on U.S. shores, could prove even more burdensome, particularly as travel into the U.S. from abroad increases.

The influx has never been more real, and it's happening in gateway cities, where international travelers are prone to initially visit. Like Miami, which draws roughly half its overnight visitors from abroad, according to market-research firm Ipsos Research.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest project. The owner of the Shore Club in Miami's South Beach has selected Brazilian hospitality company Fasano to operate the site’s new luxury hotel and condominium, part of a redevelopment of the resort, which is still currently run by Morgans Hotel Group. HFZ Capital Group paid $175 million for the 309-room property last year.

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International Incursion
For Brazil's Fasano, which currently operates four hotels, all in Brazil, including one in São Paulo, it will be its first hotel outside South America. (According to its website, Fasano has an additional four projects currently in development in Brazil, in Salvador, Trancoso, Belo Horizonte and Angra dos Reis.) The Wall Street Journal reports that Fasano also has plans for a hotel on Manhattan’s 57th St.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, the Fasano inking is the latest sign of an internal hotel brand invasion. Not surprisingly, it's the Latin American-influenced Miami that is getting the first taste—a destination heavily visited by travelers south of the border.

“What’s driving this is the growing middle class in South America,” Scott Smith, a hotel analyst at PKF Consulting, told WSJ.

But Fasano isn't the only hotel brand digging its heels in. Last August, Chile's Atton Hotel Group broke ground in Miami, its first property in the U.S. The 275-room, 12-story Atton Brickell Hotel will be located downtown at 1500 SW 1st Ave. The hotel is expected to open in early 2016.

And it's not just South American-based brands. Hong Kong's Swire Hotels will soon open an East-branded hotel at Miami's $1.5-billion mixed-use development Brickell City Centre.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s COMO Hotels and Resorts opened its first U.S. hotel on Miami Beach last year.

The new hotels will certainly give overseas travelers more choice, while at the same time advancing Miami's supply. According to Lodging Econometrics, Miami has more than 12,000 hotel rooms in the construction pipeline, or, as The Wall Street Journal points out, nearly one-quarter of the existing hotel room count. “That’s likely to lead to some pressure on room rates, thought it will be offset somewhat by continuing growth in demand,” J.P. Ford, SVP at Lodging Econometrics, told The Journal.

Miami isn't the only market with non-U.S.-based hotel brands. Spain's NH Hotels Group has a project in New York, while China's Wanda Group will open hotels in Beverly Hills, among other key U.S. markets.

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The debuts consist of a Hampton Inn, a Tapestry Collection and a Homewood Suites and total 410 rooms.

DTZ Investors has purchased the property along with other real estate for more than £70 million.

The company will sell an approximately 5 percent stake in the Shanghai-based hotel operator and franchisor for a nine-figure sum.