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Global hotel pulse: Europe news
August 27 2013

In this roundup of news from Europe: Performance is mixed; IHG shows so-so half-year results in Europe; and major brands announce multiple hotel openings.

Hotel News Now each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s compilation covers Europe.

Europe reports mixed performance in July
The European hotel industry posted mixed results in year-over-year metrics when reported in U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds for July 2013, according to data compiled by STR Global, sister company of Hotel News Now.

Highlights from key market performers for July 2013 include (year-over-year comparisons, all currency in Euros):

  • Athens, Greece, reported the only double-digit occupancy increase, rising 16.9% to 70.6%;
  • Istanbul, Turkey, fell 29.6% in occupancy to 50.5%, reporting the largest decrease in that metric;
  • Vilnius, Lithuania, rose 15.6% in average daily rate to €59.66 (+24.9% to $79.13), achieving the largest increase in that metric;
  • London, United Kingdom (-23.5% to €165.14, or -17.4% to $219.02), and Istanbul (-15.5% to €141.06, or -8.7% to $187.09), posted the largest ADR decreases for the month;
  • Six markets experienced revenue per available room growth of more than 10%: Athens (+15.2% to €66.50, or +24.5% to $88.19); Edinburgh (+14% to €101.54, or +23.2% to $134.67); Lisbon, Portugal (+13.7% to €60.07, or +22.9% to $79.67); Vilnius (+12.4% to €45.68, or +21.5% to $60.58); Bratislava, Slovakia (+11% to €31.83, or +20% to $42.21); and Copenhagen, Denmark (+10.5% to €79.76, or +19.4% to $105.78); and
  • Istanbul fell 40.5% in RevPAR to €71.29 (-35.7% to $94.54), reporting the largest decrease in that metric.

IHG bullish on half-year results
U.K.-based InterContinental Group Hotels  released half-year results to 30 June 2013 on 6 August. RevPAR growth in Europe was sluggish, coming in at only 0.4% (2.2% in Q2), although worldwide the company’s health was more robust. Global RevPAR growth of 3.7% (4% in Q2) put chief executive Richard Solomons in bullish mood. “Consistent with our long track record of returning value to shareholders, we announce a $350-million special dividend,” he said. “In addition, we are increasing the interim dividend by 10%, reflecting our good first-half results and the confidence we have in the future prospects of the business.”

IHG has 179,000 rooms in 1,098 hotels in its pipeline, with more than 40% in construction. It has also added 15,000 rooms in 108 hotels to the system, with more than half in the Holiday Inn brand.

Choice chooses four more European locations for 2013 opening
Choice Hotels International will open four properties in Europe by the end of 2013. The new properties will be the 46-room Clarion Collection Mackeney Hall Hotel in Belper, U.K. (near Derby); 34-room Clarion Collection Hotel NO13 in Bergen, Norway; 37-room Comfort Hotel Urban City Le Havre in Le Havre, France; and 97-room Quality Suites Lyon 7 Lodge in Lyon, France. Overall, the company said it opened 113 franchised properties, mostly in the U.S., in the second quarter and executed a total of 187 new domestic franchise agreements during the first six months of 2013, a 10% increase over the same period in 2012.

Dublin hotel market returns to form
Hotel performance in the Irish capital Dublin has rebounded with vigor, according to data from STR Global, sister company of Hotel News Now. Occupancy through the first five months of 2013 was up 6.4% following three successive years of mid-single-digit increases. ADR through May was up 7% to €86.72 ($113.21), while RevPAR had increased 13.9% to €62.07 ($81.04). North America has proven a significant driver of demand during the recovery, with Steve Cassidy, area VP, U.K. and Ireland for Hilton Worldwide, commenting “there has been a 4.1% increase in overseas visitors to Ireland in Q2 and a 14.8% increase in visitors from the U.S., providing a significant boost to the tourism industry in Ireland.”

July Europe pipeline
The Europe hotel development pipeline comprises 813 hotels totaling 133,797 rooms, according to the July 2013 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report. The total active pipeline data includes projects in the in construction, final planning and planning stages but does not include projects in the pre-planning stage. Among the markets in the region, Istanbul, Turkey, reported the largest number of rooms under construction with 4,273 rooms. Six other markets reported more than 1,000 rooms under construction: London, United Kingdom (3,715 rooms); Berlin, Germany (2,768 rooms); Moscow, Russia (1,955 rooms); Amsterdam, Netherlands (1,808 rooms); Vienna, Austria (1,632 rooms); and Madrid, Spain (1,242 rooms).

Premier Inn nears the magic 75,000 mark
Whitbread’s Premier Inn achieved new consents for six U.K. hotels, which will add 670 new rooms into its secured development pipeline. The company’s growth target is to have 75,000 Premier Inn U.K. rooms by 2018. The properties are the 120-room Exeter Southernhay (in the county of Devon); 60-room Exmouth, Devon; 140-room New Bailey Street, Spinningfields (close to Manchester); 120-room Maidenhead (in the county of Berkshire, just outside of London and Heathrow Airport); 80-room Farnborough (in the county of Hampshire); and 150-room Holborn (in London, between the capital’s City and West End districts). The new hotels are a combination of freehold and leasehold deals. John Bates, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants’ head of acquisitions U.K. & Ireland, said that the acquisitions “show we have what it takes to hit our 4,000 bedroom target for this year.”

Kiev soon to be Aloft in Ukraine
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced the signing of Aloft Kiev, which will mark the entrance of Aloft Hotels into Ukraine. To open in 2015, Starwood believes the hotel is set to shake up Ukraine’s mid-market hotel category. “Aloft is the perfect match for a vibrant city like Kiev, as it provides an entirely new, stylish and affordable approach to hospitality within the mid-market segment,” said Michael Wale, president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. The new-build, 310-room Aloft Kiev will feature high ceilings, oversized windows and walk-in showers with Bliss Spa products. The hotel will be Starwood’s third hotel in Ukraine following the 2011 opening of the Four Points by Sheraton in Zaporozhye and the Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection hotel, in Odessa, which is due to open in 2014. In 2016 the company will also open a hotel under its Sheraton brand in Kiev.

Wyndham to open two Turkish properties
Wyndham Hotel Group opened a new Wyndham Hotels & Resorts-branded property in Turkey through a franchise agreement with Özdilek Otel Turizm Isletmeciligi Ve Ticaret, part of the Özdilek Holding Group. With 219 rooms, the Wyndham Izmir Özdilek is the first Wyndham hotel in Turkey outside of Istanbul. Wyndham also announced it has signed an agreement with Özdilek Otel Turizm Isletmeciligi Ve Ticaret for the Wyndham Istanbul Levent, which is already under construction and due to open in 2014.

Carlson Rezidor also flies to Turkey and Germany
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group also announced a development in Turkey—the Radisson Blu Conference & Spa Hotel, Istanbul Tuzla. The 249-room property will open in the fourth quarter of 2013 as the company’s seventh hotel in Istanbul. The company has another four hotels throughout the country. Wolfgang M. Neumann, president and CEO, said, “Turkey, with its mega city Istanbul, is a focus country for our group. We see a considerable growth potential for our core brands Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson and aim to further expand our network together with established partners.” The company also announced a German property, with the fourth-quarter opening of the 114-room Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Göttingen. It will boost Carlson Rezidor’s portfolio in Germany to 52 hotels and more than 11,000 rooms.

Mercure falls for Iberian charm
Accor has announced that it has entered into franchise agreements with four properties in Spain, which will now fall under its Mercure brand. Three of the hotels are in the country’s Catalonia region—102-room Mercure Augusta Barcelona Vallès; 78-room Mercure Alberta Barcelona; and 94-room Mercure Atenea Ventura, due to open in October—while the last is in the historic city of Toledo, the 58-room Mercure Cigarral El Bosque.

London to have luxury Arch Hotel
One of central London’s most iconic buildings, the Admiralty Arch, is to become a luxury hotel, following planning permission being rubber stamped by Westminster City Council’s Planning & City Development Committee. The current owner, the U.K. government, leased the building to London-based developer Prime Investors Capital for 99 years last October as part of austerity measures to reduce government expenditure. The U.K. government, which claims its portfolio of office estate is now 16% smaller than it was in 2010, retained the freehold of the nationally important building. No opening date has been announced.

Compiled by Terence Baker

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