Hotel Consolidations to Play Out in 2017

In 2016, the global hotel industry witnessed another round of unprecedented consolidation, as the race for increased market share set off a stampede of high-profile mergers and acquisitions.

While the mega-merger of Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (completed in September and creating the largest hotel company in the world with 30 brands and counting) was undoubtedly the most watched and talked-about deal in the industry, there were several more that, while not as news-making, will certainly change the landscape of the hotel world as we move into 2017.

Here's a look at five deals to keep an eye on in the coming months.

• Earlier this month, Wyndham Hotel Group acquired Fën Hotels, a company with 26 design-led boutique hotels in leading Latin American markets such as Argentina (where Fën is based), Costa Rica and Peru for an undisclosed amount. The deal gives Wyndham immediate cache in the region's upscale market segment and grows its portfolio to 188 properties in Latin America. It also increases Wyndham's brand portfolio to 18 worldwide. Wyndham said it expects to add all Fën hotels to its Wyndham Rewards loyalty program in 2017.

AccorHotels plunked down $16.8 million this month for a 5 percent stake in Singapore-based Banyan Tree, which has a number of luxury resorts across Asia. That investment, which comes on the heels of Accor's $2.7 billion acquisition in 2015 of Toronto-based FRHI, the parent company of three major luxury brands, Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel, will give the company another significant bump in the luxury market. "We will bring scale to the network through our ability to develop and manage hotels under the Banyan Tree brands globally, strengthening our leadership in the luxury hotel space," said Sebastien Bazin, chief executive officer and chairman of AccorHotels in a statement announcing the deal.

• In April, Chinese company HNA bought Carlson Hotels, owner of Radisson and Country Inns & Suites, for an undisclosed sum. The deal also gives HNA Carlson's 51.3 percent stake in Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group, which has 1,400 hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. HNA has until Jan. 4, 2017, to decide what it will do with Rezidor. Analysts predict two choices: It will either sell down its stake or buy Rezidor outright, in effect consolidating Carlson and Rezidor. (In October, HNA bought a 25 percent stake in Hilton Hotels for $6.5 billion.)

• In September, Benchmark Hospitality International and Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, which announced they were merging in July, unveiled a new logo and a new company name. Now known simply as Benchmark, the Woodlands, Texas-based collective company has launched an expanded organization and portfolio, a new corporate identity and four distinct brands with a combined portfolio of 70 hotels and conference centers. Remarking on retaining the Benchmark name, Alex Cabañas, chief executive officer of Benchmark, said, "While the word is the same, how we use it in our branding and culture will be different and more powerful."

SBE Entertainment Group acquired Morgans Hotel Group earlier this month in a deal valued at over $800 million. The merger of the two boutique hotel operators brings Morgan's iconic Delano and Mondrian brands, along with 13 domestic and international hotel-management agreements, into SBE's portfolio, which includes Redbury and Hyde hotels. And it could result in a burst of new properties in the upscale boutique segment, as SBE management said it plans to accelerate its development pipeline. In addition to four hotels that will open in 2017, including the 270-room Mondrian Doha in Qatar, the company said it has an additional nine hotels slated to open in the next two years, which will bring its luxury portfolio to 36 by year-end 2018.