The trend is towards growing the hotel supply in Europe. Some chains have been able to reinvent themselves and are benefiting all the more from the economic situation.
The 2019 ranking of groups in Europe highlighted the rise of Asian players, which were able to develop rapidly through the acquisition of other hotel portfolios. This year's ranking of chains highlights another trend: the growth of economy chains.
Investments to improve in-room comfort and marketing campaigns to promote value, some economy chains have been able to attract their customers and investors... Faced with this new and more welcoming supply, are budget brands able to compete? Have the midscale chains that have faced the rise of Airbnb in city centres succeeded in reinventing themselves? What is the dynamic in Europe’s upscale market?
Find the ranking of the 50 most important hotel chains in Europe in our magazine 280-281
Transition period for budget chains
The budget segment has recently come to the end of an era and is in the process of entering a new one. Thus, hotels on the outskirts of cities, which have not been renovated, are suffering a significant loss of appeal.
Thus, between January 1, 2018 and 2017, the segment lost nearly 1,500 chain rooms in France. The brand hotelF1 chose to sound the death knell by reorganizing its portfolio and divested 27.4% of its fleet. 4,917 rooms are thus leaving its network, some of which will be used for social housing. In 2018, hotelF1 recorded a new dynamic with a fleet that resumed gentle growth (+1.9%). The brand, which now consists of "motels à la française", is working on a new promotional approach and targetng a more leisure oriented clientele. Thus, road trips related to music festivals are offered on its website. This is an opportunity for travellers to discover the company's assets that are under renovation.
Accor also expects to ride the wave of hostels with its brand Jo&Joe, which has opened its first property (98 rooms). These exclusively for-profit youth hostels, where single beds are sold in dormitory rooms, are expanding their supply tenfold across Europe. The market specialist, the German company A&O, saw its supply increase by 467 rooms in 2018, which can reach up to 8 beds.
Finally, Première Classe has seen its supply drop (-6.0%) and is modernising its properties by redecorating and adding free wifi.
A spirit of conquest among economy chains
Premier Inn, B&B Hôtels and Motel One are some of the economy chains with double-digit growth. While some aspects of their strategies may differ, they find themselves operating modernised facilities and promoting low rates. A winning strategy that attracts investors.
The British Premier Inn gained a place in the ranking and became one of the top 3 chains. It recorded growth of +11.5%, for more than 7,500 additional rooms. Management of its hotels has been revised in order to reduce the payroll expenditures per property, allowing, among other things, £300 million to be reinvested to develop 42 new assets.
The group B&B Hôtels, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, has since planted its flag far away from its native Brittany. With a gain of nearly 5,000 rooms (+13.7%), it is also continuing its marketing investments. Its recent advertising campaign on the German market saw the famous tennis player Boris Becker (in debt) rejoice in the hotels’ good value for money and received the Best Communication Campaign Award at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards 2018.
Motel One, which aims to offer "affordable design hotels", recorded growth by more than 4,000 rooms (+25.8%). In particular, the German group opened a new property in Paris (255 rooms) where the rates were set for the year: €79 per night for a single room and €94 for a double room. This is well below the average daily rate in the capital which is around 170 € per night.
Other brands are expanding rapidly, such as the new chain SureStay by Best Western, which is expanding to more than 3,100 rooms. Also noteworthy is the strong growth that could be observed at both Comfort of the Choice Hotels Group (+12.6% or more than 1,100 rooms) and Britannia Hotels (+9.9% or more than 1,000 rooms).
On the other hand, the Kyriad brand, which consists of 2, 3 and 4-star properties, saw its supply stagnate (-1.3%, i.e. a loss of 202 rooms).
Midscale: calm before the storm?
+0.3% growth at Sercotel, +0.5% for Novotel and +0.9% for Park Inn by Radisson... Some of them saw 2018 as a year of stagnation in supply.
Following Airbnb's success with Generation Y, Marriott International successfully deployed its young brand Moxy (launched in 2015). In Europe, it gained 14 hotels or more than 2,700 rooms. With rooms 17 square meters, they want to stand out by their design developed using new technologies: USB plugs, home cinema connected via AirPlay to the smartphone, 42'' LCD TV screen, etc.
Courtyard by Marriott also recorded double-digit growth, marking the American group's success this year in this segment. The channel for business travellers gained two places in the ranking with a +10.0% increase to more than 850 rooms.
It should be noted that the Dutch company Van der Valk has seen its supply increase by 5 properties - including the conversion of the Holiday Inn in Liège via a 22 million euro investment - increasing its total number of rooms by nearly 1,000 (+7.9%).
Tryp by Wyndham lost 16 hotels, a loss of more than 2,500 rooms (-20.6%).
Upscale: groups get out their checkbook
The Scandic brand is one of the Top 10 hotel chains in Europe. Its supply increased by 44 properties, or nearly 8,000 additional rooms (+29.5%). This increase is linked to the acquisition of the portfolio of Restel's 43 Finnish hotels. Mostly of them are operated by the Cumulus brand, but they are being converted to Scandic.
Crowne Plaza again recorded double-digit growth and gained more than 2,000 rooms (+12.7%) in 2018. Of note is the opening of a building operated by both this brand (304 rooms) and Holiday Inn Express at Terminal 4 of London Heathrow Airport.
Barcelo's supply grew by three properties, including the opening of a hotel in Lisbon (124 rooms) in Southern Europe - a market with which the group is familiar.
More generally, the Jin Jiang group is penetrating the upscale European market through the acquisition of Radisson Hotel Group. Its Radisson Blu brand held on to eleventh place, with +2.0% growth.
Finally, Marriott International is seeing Sheraton's appeal decline. The latter lost more than 1,000 rooms (-7.7%) in Europe. Its revitalization has become a “top priority” for Arne Sorenson, CEO of the American group, who announced that he is working on sound insulation in the rooms and the size of the bathrooms. In the United States, 25% of hotel owners have already committed to investing $500 million to renovate existing assets. This dynamic will be important to follow if the movement takes off in Europe.
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