Check in! – latest hotel highlights from across EMEA

The Blue Swan Daily brings you a round up of some of the latest hotel news from across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

  • Accorhotels adds 84 more hotels to its portfolio as it acquires Movenpick Hotels and Resorts
  • Airport City Manchester to include Holiday Inn and Ibis Budget properties
  • Cost is first consideration when selecting accommodation in the Middle East and is more important than hotel location, classification or rating
  • UK serviced apartment sector sees occupancy levels slip as last year’s record year influences comparisons
  • ‘First class hotel industry’ attracts TUI into UAE’s Ajman
  • Eurostar introduces new hotel collection platform to broaden its offering to train customers
  • Dubai hopes to attract Saudi arrivals with health and wellness holidays
  • Marriott makes first moves in West Africa with new airport property in Accra

Accorhotels adds 84 more hotels to its portfolio as it acquires Movenpick Hotels and Resorts

French group Accorhotels continues to play a major role in the consolidation of the hotel sector after formalised a CHF560 million (USD567 million) deal to acquire Movenpick Hotels and Resorts. The deal, which should be completed during the second half of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals, will see it add 84 more hotels to its inventory as well as a pipeline of 42 additional properties (around 11,000 rooms) that are scheduled to be opened by 2021. According to Accorhotels CEO Sebastien Bazin, the acquisition will consolidate its “leadership in the European market” and “further accelerating growth in emerging markets, in particular in Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific”.


Airport City Manchester to include Holiday Inn and Ibis Budget properties

A 280-bed Holiday Inn and a 262-bed Ibis Budget will be delivered in Airport City Manchester located immediately adjacent to Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport, which forms part of the wider GBP1 billion Transformation Programme at the northwest UK airport. The two properties mark the initial stage of a planned GBP180 million hotel district at Airport City Manchester. The Holiday Inn will include standard, twin, family, executive and accessible rooms across six floors, with the southern corner of the sixth floor removed to create a terrace for guests, overlooking the airfield. An additional seventh floor will feature a canopied terrace and crew lounge which will look north over Airport City towards Manchester’s City Centre. The Ibis Budget will also have seven levels offering double, triple, twin and accessible rooms. A full planning application has been submitted with construction targeted to start in early 2019 with completion scheduled for Q1 2021.


Cost is first consideration when selecting accommodation in the Middle East and is more important than hotel location, classification or rating

The search for value plays a crucial role in how today’s Middle East travellers research, compare and book their journeys, reveals a new study developed by InsightOut Consultancy. The ‘Middle East Consumer Travel Report 2018’, co-sponsored by Amadeus, explores the searching and planning habits of the region’s travellers in a digital era and was unveiled during the recent Arabian Travel Market 2018. The report acknowledges that the Middle East travel market is incredibly diverse when it comes to travel patterns, yet cost is a shared consideration across countries. Cost is cited most often by travellers (50%) as the first consideration when selecting accommodation — more important than hotel location, classification, or rating. Interestingly, the study shows that travel packages are generally not seen as an attractive way to find value when booking.


UK serviced apartment sector sees occupancy levels slip as last year’s landmark year influences comparisons

The serviced apartment industry has been rapidly expanding worldwide, as more travellers, both business and leisure, see the benefits of this dynamic sector. But, latest figures from trade body The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) and benchmarking specialist STR show that average occupancy for the sector was down -1.5% year-over-year in Q1 2018 to 74.9% in a challenging first quarter of the year. On a positive note average daily rate (ADR) rose +3.5% to GBP133.87, resulting in a +1.9% growth in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to GBP100.31. ASAP remains upbeat as comparisons are being made with what it describes as “a landmark year,” especially in the first half when there was a “spike in arrivals after the devaluation of pound sterling following the 2016 Brexit Referendum”. After coming off a record-breaking year, Edinburgh serviced apartments recorded the sharpest occupancy decline for any UK city in Q1, down -10.4% to 65.1%, with a more marginal -0.5% decline in ADR. Birmingham, on the other hand, posted the highest RevPAR growth (+9.1%), with occupancy up +6.9% to 82.2% and ADR up +2.0% to GBP85.50. London’s occupancy performance was more in line with the national average, down -1.8% to 77.4%, although RevPAR fell more marginally at -0.4% to GBP134.25 due to a +1.4% ADR growth to GBP173.39.


‘First class hotel industry’ attracts TUI into UAE’s Ajman

Tour operator TUI Deutschland has entered into a marketing partnership with Ajman Tourism to position the small emirate as a tourist destination for the German market starting from winter 2018/2019. Ajman, one of the seven Emirates that form the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located just to the north of Sharjah along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. “Ajman is a destination with great potential, not just because of its proximity to Dubai. As the smallest emirate in terms of area, it offers holidaymakers a very good infrastructure and a first-class hotel industry in the best beach location,” says Mahpar Azarpira, director of TUI affiliate marketing. Thanks to its central location, the Emirate of Ajman is seen as an ideal starting point for trips to the neighbouring Emirates or into the desert.


Eurostar introduces new hotel collection platform to broaden its offering to train customers

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service connecting the United Kingdom and mainland Europe, has introduced a new hotel collection platform, offering passengers access to special hotel rates when booked together with rail travel. Passengers are able to customise journeys within different themes and price ranges to facilitate bookings and hotel and travel options. These include culture and cuisine, relaxation, celebration, budget and family.


Dubai hopes to attract Saudi arrivals with health and wellness holidays

Emirates Holidays and the Dubai Health Authority’s Health Tourism Council plan to collaborate to offer a range of health and wellness holidays in Dubai. The parties are particularly targeting potential tourists from Saudi Arabia, which is a large market for tourists travelling for health and wellness purposes. Emirates Holidays will collaborate with spas, wellness centres and health facilities in Dubai to offer packages including flights with Emirates, a three to four day hotel stay, a selection of spa and wellness treatments and daily meals. The packages will be launched in association with the Dubai Health Authority’s ‘Dubai Health Experience’ brand. Emirates Holidays VP Robin Parry said: “We see the health and wellness segment as a significant growth opportunity for Emirates Holidays and Dubai as a destination”. Emirates Holidays is initially partnering with DNA Health at Madinat Jumeirah and Rayya Wellness Retreat at the Retreat Palm Dubai, M Gallery by Sofitel.


Marriott makes first moves in West Africa with new airport property in Accra

Marriott International has made its debut in West Africa with the opening of the Accra Marriott Hotel, located opposite Kotoka International Airport, the main gateway into Ghana and its capital city. Owned by African Hospitality Limite and set within an Airport City urban development, the property is also just a few kilometres outside of the central business district providing easy access to major corporate businesses, government entities and well known city landmarks. The hotel includes 208 rooms, three dining venues, 800 square meters of meeting space, a pool and a fully equipped fitness centre.