Hotel industry expects further growth in Europe

The hotel industry is investing: 1 billion € will be spent on new hotel projects in major cities in Central and Eastern Europe next year, 400 million € in Austria and 4 billion € in Germany. 300 international hotel experts discussed current industry trends in Vienna.

Further growth in the hotel industry was the central theme of the INTERNATIONAL HOTEL INVESTMENT & DESIGN CONFERENCE in Vienna at the Hotel Andaz Vienna am Belvedere. Participants included leading industry players from Hyatt, Accor, Oyo, GBI, UBM Development, Signa Real Estate, Fauchon Hospitality, Hilton, Christie & Co, Arbireo Hospitality Invest, Erste Group, Radisson and Louvre Hotels.

Keynote speaker Steven Kuhn, a decorated U.S. Army veteran and successful author and consultant, spoke about the importance of change based on his personal story during the Iraq war: “You can’t control the changes that are coming. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the potential for change.” His advice to executives: “You need to create space and trust for your team to drive your vision.”

The importance of the wow moment

The architecture and design panel vividly discussed the importance of latest trends: “It’s all about the wow moment, the instagrammable moment,” said Ben Martin from HKS Advisory Services. Thousands of Instagram-Selfies posted by guests in the cool lobby, the rooftop bar or poolside can significantly relieve the marketing budget of a hotel.

“It is important to create experiences for people’s memories, and for the guests to have instagrammable moments,” said architect Vitalija Katine from the London design firm Jestico + Whiles.

Projects in big cities

The investor panel showed that the hunt for the best deal is not just a bargain hunt in the growth region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Investors and hotel developers are concentrating on projects in big cities and “mature markets”, said Martin Löcker of UBM Development.

These markets have the advantage of being liquid. “If people want to get out of their assets, in Poland this is possible. The Czech Republic is also a very good market”, he said.

In addition to the investment magnets Warsaw and Prague, Bucharest and Budapest are more recently attracting a lot of investment. However, the Central and Eastern European market still offers a lot of space to develop: According to experts, the European hotel transaction market amounts to 20 to 25 billion euros per year, of which around 1 billion € is invested in the CEE region, 400 million € in Austria and 4 billion € in Germany according to Löcker.

A highlight of the dense conference program was the presentation of the Brand Award by the students of the Modul University Vienna: The Millenials chose Park Hyatt Hotels as the most attractive luxury hotel brand. The second and third places went to the Six Senses Hotel Resort Group and the Hotel Sacher.

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