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Hanover's hotel industry reveals its latest innovations

A top destination for professional salons and other MICE events, to the point of attracting Barack Obama for his official visit to Germany, Hanover and its hoteliers experienced a few changes in the course of the year 2015, between renovations of flagship hotels and new branding.

Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony, in the north-west of Germany, is a dynamic city with 520,000 inhabitants. The chain hotel industry has had an ongoing interest in the city's market: nothing could be more natural for this key business destination that can brag about having one of biggest exhibition centers in the world. In the districts of Mittelfeld and Laatzen there are thirty or so halls and pavilions lined up, representing a total of close to 500,000 sq.m of space for hosting fairs and events. Several dozen exhibitions dedicated to professionals are organized there, in addition to many annual festivities that address the general public such as Spring Festival and Oktoberfest – these events bring together more than one million participants each. Some of the most important salons include Agritechnica (agricultural technologies), CeBIT (new technologies), Domotex (interior decoration), Hannover Messe (industrial technology), the IAA (automobile), and Ligna (forestry and woodworking industry). These events, which can each attract up to several hundreds of thousands of visitors, are clearly primordial for Hanover’s hoteliers. However, the assets of this city nestled in the heart of Germany are not limited to its appeal to MICE events organizers. Rich cultural and architectural heritage, top notch social and intellectual fabric woven by universities and centers for scientific research, and a dynamic arts scene all combine to guarantee steady arrivals in Hanover and at its hotels year round (for more details see the European Hospitality Report).

As far as concerns the development of the supply in 2015, it is impossible not to refer to the most remarkable change on Hanover’s hotel scene. The flagship property of Maritim, a 286-room property located directly across from the sumptuous Neues Rathaus, closed its doors last December further to being purchased by the group from Berlin Intown. Opened in 1965 as an InterContinental, it should receive a major renovation before welcoming new clients starting in 2018. Since last March, the hotel has temporarily accommodated 550 refugees, an operation that should last at least one year and aims to put the empty building and its high capacity to good use.

This is not the first time a hotel in Hanover has expressed solidarity in such a way: the 100-room Ramada Hotel Britannia, also closed for renovations, hosted close to 133 Syrian refugees for two weeks last September. And that was not the first time, as the chain previously made a display of hospitality by taking in a hundred or so families at its hotel in Frankfurt an der Oder. The Ramada Karlsruher Straße, located at the exhibition site, should reopen in the course of the year to host visitors to the main fairs and exhibitions organized in the city.

On the other hand, a new opening has stepped in to reinforce the hotel supply near the exhibition grounds. Operated as a Copthorne hotel prior to renovation, the address H4 Hotel Hannover Messe opened its doors to 222 rooms at the beginning of 2015.  It is the third property by the brand H4 in the Ferderal Republic; the new brand aims to combine four star addresses, especially for business clientele. The operator H-Hotels AG is the German partner of Wyndham for the development of the brand Ramada.

The chain Best Western added a fourth address to its portfolio in the conurbation. The Best Western Hannover – City, located near the central station and Leibniz Universität Hannover– has 54 rooms. In the economy category, a Première Classe hotel opened its doors in 2015, marking the arrival of the brand at the destination. The Première Classe Hannover, a 74 room property, takes over Motel One, further to Louvre Hotels’ acquisition of a portfolio of hotels in Germany.

Regarding new openings, the year should prove to be relatively calm for Hanover’s hotel business, although the Star Inn chain should make its arrival on the market with a 179-room property on Hamburger Allee, near the station. There should thus still be a bit of room for the city’s hoteliers to reinforce the local supply and work on their prices, while properties in the conurbation reported higher occupancy across 2015, with an occupancy rate up by no fewer than 1.9 points.

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