The 20th annual IHIF, Europe’s foremost hotel industry conference, was held in Berlin 6-8 March. Here, we take a look at some key findings from the conference, including: the performance outlook for the European hotel market, new work/stay lodging concepts, the growing importance of hostels and a major chain’s go-local campaign.

Peripheral Europe leads the pack

After registering the strongest gains in RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) in Europe during 2015, Dublin, Barcelona and Porto outperformed again in 2016 with year-on-year increases of 16.1%, 10.7% and 17.0% respectively, according to figures presented at the conference by PwC and STR, the leading provider of hotel performance data. The good news is set to continue, with positive RevPAR gains for 2017 & 2018. Meanwhile, Europe’s two biggest hotel markets, London and Paris, registered RevPAR declines in 2016 due to supply growth, in the case of the former, and fears of terrorism as regards the latter. Both markets are projected to achieve modest single-digit recovery in 2017 & 2018.

Work and holiday in the same four walls

A new lodging trend is taking hold which involves structures that provide sleeping quarters and workspaces for urban nomads. What’s particularly innovative about these concepts is that they allow young footloose professionals, working remotely, to travel without taking time off for a holiday. For instance, the Roam group now offers properties in four select locations, including central London, central Tokyo, downtown Miami and Ubud, Bali, the cultural and artistic centre of the island, with plans for expansion into San Francisco. Meanwhile, Amsterdam-based Zoku hotel offers loft-like rooms and several spaces to socialise: a bar, a kitchen, communal working and living spaces, a rooftop garden and even a greenhouse. Zoku, which means ‘family’ in Japanese, is designed to bring guests from all over the world together with city locals.

Hostels go mainstream

For the first time, hostels moved centre stage at IHIF. Eva Bachmann, Director of Acquisitions and Strategy at MEININGER Hotels, won the Young Leader Award, attributed jointly by IHIF and the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC). MEININGER is part of the innovative branded hostel segment which has developed particularly in German-speaking Europe. The first MEININGER property opened for business on Meininger Strasse in Berlin in 1999 and, since then, the chain has grown to include 18 operating hostels located in 12 European cities. The group aims to triple the size of its portfolio within the next 3 years.

A sign that the hostel segment has come of age, STR has begun to track the sector’s performance as they do for hotels. STR’s “Greater London Hostel Analysis” shows slow but steady demand growth for 12 branded hostel groups present in the city over the past 5 years.

London-based Generator hostels are a further example of the phenomenon. CEO Fredrik Korallus mentioned that the chain is primarily leisure-oriented, with less than 5% of guest travelling for business. The group currently operates 12 properties and generates revenues of over €70 million. With two more hostels in the active pipeline, Generator is targeting 20 more hostels by the end of 2018.

AccorHotels goes local

In recent years, the Paris-based AccorHotels has consistently been the most experimental of the major chains. In a short address to the IHIF general session, the group’s CEO Sébastien Bazin outlined a recent initiative to increase contacts between AccorHotels and their local communities to better serve their needs. According to Bazin, the services that hotels could offer locals include: food and beverages, dry cleaning, key service, luggage storage, or recovering a rental car. He sees the potential to grow this source of revenue by 20%-30% in the coming years, thus achieving a higher return on the chain’s real estate.

For more key findings and insight from IHIF 2017, check out our related posts here and here.

Macy Marvel is a freelance analyst at Mintel focused on the global hospitality sector. Also a consultant at Opus Hospitality in Geneva and an advisor to Lausanne Hospitality Consulting – a division of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Macy is a frequent presenter at international hospitality and tourism industry conferences.

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