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Austria trend : Austrian-style hospitality

The leader of Austria’s high-end hospitality segment, Austria Trend is pursuing expansion. The subsidiary of the Verkehrsbüro Group is strengthening its presence in major cities in the country by developing on the resort segment. The next stage should bring the chain outside the country’s frontiers.

Asubsidiary of the oldest Austrian business dedicated to travel, Austria Trend is backed by a very powerful group. Since 1917, when it was created, the Verkehrsbüro Group created an empire for itself in the Austrian travel universe. Its position as leader only grew stronger over the years. When it merged with Ruefa Reisen and Eurotours at the end of the 90s, the Verkehrsbüro Group found itself covering area that had a hint of tourism: supply and receptor travel agencies, restaurants and, of course, accommodations within the company Verkehrsbüro Hotellerie GmbH which has a very large supply ranging from camping to five stars and including mountain-top chalets.Although it is very concentrated on its local market, Austria Trend has vast knowledge of its neighboring markets, demonstrated by the confidence Motel One has shown in Verkehrsbüro Group for its development outside Germany. Thus Central Europe offers the chain new opportunities, while the brand remains strongly identified with its home country.But Verkehrsbüro was missing just one segment: economy hotels. And this leap was made last March. The Austrian leader has just entered into joint venture with Motel One, the German budget hotel specialist. The goal of this association: to develop the brand outside Germany, giving priority to Austria and countries in neighboring Central Europe. 3,700 rooms should display the German brand in the next five years. “In order to establish Motel One, the Verkehrsbüro group was the ideal partner,” congratulates Dieter Müller, president of Motel One.But within its development policy, the Austrian group remains loyal first and foremost to its own subsidiary: its upscale brand Austria Trend. With 4,124 rooms, nearly three-quarters of which are through leasing and the last quarter is through a management contract, the brand is the undeniable leader of the country’s hotel industry. In 2006, the turnover of the Verkehrsbüro Hospitality division (including youth hostels and campgrounds) was nearly 110 million euros. Whereas the Austrian hotel industry shows performance on the rise, the group benefited from this favorable trend and posted growth by 7.75% of its turnover with respect to 2005.With 25 hotels at the beginning of the year 2007, Austria Trend enjoys a solid network on the national territory and strong recognition on the domestic market as well as proximity. 24% of the properties’ clientele are local, 17% come from Germany and 8% from Italy. Nonetheless, the brand does not appear to have reached its critical size and still has a good margin for development. At a time when the country is preparing to host the Euro 2008 for football in association with its Swiss neighbor, the group is continuing to grow its upscale hotel supply. Austria Trend entered an expansion phase at full speed. With one priority: Vienna. This expansion begins with the grid system of Austria’s main market where the group is already the leader with 16 properties. It has the Astoria, one of Vienna’s oldest hotels, there in particular as well as an apart-hotel.At the beginning of June, Austria Trend Hotel Kahlenberg joined the collection. This new hotel is an exclusive design retreat at the top of a hill overlooking the Austrian capital. The twenty suites and thirty or so apartments, some of which have terraces, offer a breath-taking view of Vienna. Taking advantage of its favorable geographic position, the hotel also plans to attract local Viennese clientele to the restaurant Café for dinners and weekend brunches. The panoramic conference room and its two terraces are also among the property’s strong points, and it can accommodate large events: product presentations, seminars, weddings.In addition to this new construction, the Austrian group is preparing to complete the conversion of a former National printing house. In the center of the city, right near the embassies and the Belvedere Palace which houses the Klimt collection, the Austria Trend Hotel Savoy flag will fly on the façade which dates from 1892. Combining classic and modern, the property is resolutely positioned on the lifestyle segment. Organized around a gigantic atrium with minimalist design, the property could host a large number of local and international clients with its 309 rooms and its reception area of 1,050 square meters.Alongside Vienna, Salzburg is the hotel group’s other favorite playground. In May 2008, the fourth Austria Trend will open in the city, the Austria Trend Salzburg Mitte. This 97-room, threestar hotel will complete an offer that already includes the 4-star Hotel Europa and the 5-star Altstadt, whose management was given to Radisson SAS. The arrival of the new property will quickly follow the reopening of the Hotel Salzburg West next spring after renovation.In addition to development in the capital and Mozart’s homeland, the group Austria Trend is now working to complete its offer in Austria’s great cities. The brand is present at Linz, Sankt Pölten and Graz. In 2006, Austria Trend conquered Innsbruck when it put its brand on the Hotel Congress. “For us, this project is another piece of the success story of high quality urban hotels,” rejoices Franz Pasler, general ma nager of Austria Trend hotels. This 10.5 million euros project offers the group a privileged position between the congress center and the exhibition park. “This hotel will give a major boost to the city’s hotel business,” assures the general manager Hans Dieter Toth. The hotel addresses congress goers and businessmen first and foremost. Nonetheless, located at the heart of a region for skiing, the property also benefits a significant volume of leisure clientele.In fact, Austria Trend’s development strategy also addresses the Leisure segment. Until now, its resort hotel portfolio has not been very developed with only the Sporthotel Fontana and the hotel Schloss Lebenberg in Kitzbühel. And still, this latter property in the Mecca of Austrian skiing will remain closed until the end of next year. But the supply will soon flesh out with the Austria Trend Hotel Lambrechthof in 2008. Nestled into the Niederen Tauern massif, this property is near the Benedictine Abbey of St Lambrecht and promises to bring peace and rest to clients who come to refresh themselves in one of the 108 rooms in the summer and winter alikeThe Austrian hotelier has already taken over the operation of the Life Resort Loipersdorf. “We chose a destination that promises excellent long-term results,” supports Harald Nograsek, general manager of Verkehrsbüro Group. The hotel is positioned on a profitable segment: wellness and relaxation. Located at the heart of a thermal region, the hotel offers residents 77 suites and 16 double rooms and access to a state of the arts fitness center including, among others, two outdoor heated swimming pools, a Jacuzzi and a vast sauna and hammam space with a laconium, a gentler version of the Finnish sauna. The hotel will also benefit from the nearby 27-hole golf course.“With this ongoing expansion, we are nearing thirty hotels in Austria,” observed Harald Nograsek last July, “and we do not plan to stop there”. The general manager of the Verkehrsbüro Group was not joking. At the end of September, Harald Nograsek announced the brand’s first move outside the country. Austria Trend will, in fact, cross the Danube with the construction of a hotel in Bratislava this fall. The future property located at the center of the Slovakian capital will host its first clients in 2009. Positioned on the Leisure and Business segments, the upscale hotel will have nearly 200 rooms and 4 meeting rooms.Although it is very concentrated on its local market, Austria Trend has vast knowledge of its neighboring markets, demonstrated by the confidence Motel One has shown in Verkehrsbüro Group for its development outside Germany. Thus Central Europe offers the chain new opportunities, while the brand remains strongly identified with its home country.

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