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Analysis

Hotel consortia: Europe’s inventory grows slightly, France’s shrinks

In 2014, the trend to “clean up” consortia networks is no longer as evident as in previous years throughout Europe where the supply is growing, whereas in France the consortia supply is shrinking, which may be partly explained by concentrating growth in the other European countries.

Throughout Europe, the Spanish voluntary chain Hotusa experienced slight growth in its supply in 2014 (+2.3%) and World Hotels, third in the ranking, also gained thirty new members. Logis, 2nd in the ranking, saw its supply shrink due to its drop in France, while the group developed in other European countries.

Proportionately, Les Pieds dans l’Eau saw the strongest growth in its supply and climbed 4 rungs in the Top 20 ranking. While the network relinquished small and mid-capacity properties in France and Italy, it focused growth on Spain where it integrated a dozen high-capacity Iberostar resorts, which generally have more than 200 rooms.
Beyond growth in numbers, the professionalization of the primary voluntary networks continues through the improvement of member services, be it in terms of loyalty programs or even the strengthening of its digital tools. After the renovation of websites by several consortia, some are also developing by creating new applications for smartphones and tablets or through an increased effort around digital tools for quality follow-up, which Logis did in 2014.

The professionalization of consortia takes place through the evolution of their legal framework, which is no longer just a simple association of independent hotels. This is the case of Châteaux et Hôtels Collection, for example, whose change in governance (members must now enter into the group’s capital) explains the important drop in its supply during the year, but that will open new areas for action in terms of implementing the operational strategy.

Some consortia networks are thus looking more like chains in their form and through the multiplication of services they offer, particularly since corporate chains increasingly rely on franchise. There is thus an increasingly fine line between them, and certain actors, which have historically been consortias such as SEH, have characteristics that are increasingly similar to corporate chains.

Nonetheless, alongside this evolution observed at certain networks, others maintain their initial vocation which is to primarily provide a commercialization service. This is particularly true for upscale networks such as Leading Hotels of the World, Small Luxury Hotels or even Small Elegant Hotels.

In France, the major voluntary networks have seen their inventory shrink over the past year. The four French leaders have, in fact, tried to develop elsewhere in Europe, where the market situation was better. Certain networks such as Châteaux et Demeures Hôtels and Hôtellerie familiale also show strong shrinkage of their supplies in France. Nonetheless the trend is contrasted: the upscale network Relais&Châteaux, for example, experienced an increase in its supply both in France and in several European countries.

Finally, other players, such as Contact Hotels or Symboles de France also show an increase in their membership numbers.

This article is an extract of the 2015 European report

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