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.

  • IHG brings its Hotel Indigo brand to Venice
  • Hilton Garden Inn boosts its footprint in Africa… and there is much more to come!
  • Passenger satisfaction rates at US hotels drops, as ACSI reveals they have ‘deteriorated in almost every aspect’
  • Autograph Collection Hotels marks its Kenyan arrival with Sankara Nairobi addition 
  • Latest industry news and developments

IHG brings its Hotel Indigo brand to Venice

The opening of the Hotel Indigo Venice – Sant’Elena marks the debut of Intercontinental Hotel Group’s (IHG) high-end boutique brand in Venice, Italy. The 75-room property is a converted former 1930s monastery that is located in the heart of the iconic Italian city, next to the canal Rio Sant’Elena, one of the few neighbourhoods not overrun with the almost 30 million annual arrivals into the Italian city. Composed of two wings joined in the centre by a former chapel, the hotel boasts an interior courtyard and large windows with high ceilings, which is evocative of the local neighbourhood and existing architecture. The hotel also has a private garden, a rarity in Venice, where guests can sit and enjoy a refreshing cocktail and relax after a day of exploring.

Hilton Garden Inn boosts its footprint in Africa… and there is much more to come!

Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton’s midscale hotel brand is expecting strong growth in Africa in 2019. Already this year it has opened the Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone, its first property in Botswana, adding to established properties in Morocco, Kenya and Zambia. But there is much more in its pipeline. Hilton Garden Inn Kampala in Uganda and Hilton Garden Inn Mbabane in Eswatini will open this month as first-in-country properties for both Hilton Garden Inn and the Hilton enterprise. The pipeline also projects Hilton Garden Inn Windhoek in Namibia to open later this year, another first-in-country for Hilton Garden Inn. Other African countries with properties in the pipeline include Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. “We have positioned Hilton Garden Inn for success in Africa with a prototype developed specifically for the region,” says John Greenleaf, global head, Hilton Garden Inn, which has been curated “to meet the expectations of both travellers and owners throughout Africa”.

Passenger satisfaction rates at US hotels drops, as ACSI reveals they have ‘deteriorated in almost every aspect’

The latest annual travel report from American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) does not make good reading for the US hotel industry and is something properties across the world will be taking close notice of. It shows guest satisfaction slipped -1.3% to a score of 75 and especially worryingly have deteriorated in almost every aspect, according to guests. ACSI says that due to a rise in online brokers like Airbnb, travellers have more choices and traditional hotels are struggling to keep up. “This is a transforming industry,” says its managing director David VanAmburg. “If corporate hotels aren’t able to step up, they’re going to continue to slide.” Former leader Hilton now shares first-place with Marriott with a score of 80 – down 2% and 1% respectively. The two hoteliers continue to offer more upscale and luxury properties, better guest service, and higher-quality amenities than other hotel brands. Luxury hotel JW Marriott takes the top spot among brands with an ACSI score of 84. Hilton’s Embassy Suites and Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites tie at 83, followed by Hilton Garden Inn with a score of 82.  The brands with the lowest marks are all economy hotels: Days Inn (Wyndham) at 68, Econo Lodge (Choice) at 67, Super 8 (Wyndham) at 65, and Motel 6 (G6 Hospitality) at 63. The ACSI reports highlights the deterioration in performance. It may still easy to make a reservation and check in (each at 84), yet both scores are down from the previous year. Staff are less courteous and helpful (82), room quality has worsened (81), and call centre satisfaction has declines significantly (down 6% to 78) – the same mark as quality of in-room amenities.

Autograph Collection Hotels marks its Kenyan arrival with Sankara Nairobi addition

Marriott International’s Autograph Collection Hotels collection of independent properties is now spread into Kenya following the addition of the Sankara Nairobi to its portfolio of over 171 hotels around the world. Set in the heart of Westlands, Sankara Nairobi lies in the epicentre of the city’s commercial, retail, and entertainment quarter. It comprises 168 rooms, a choice of authentic and award-winning restaurants, destination bars, social and meeting spaces, and fitness facilities. The newly refurbished guest rooms including a brand-new Presidential Suite.

News Briefs

Amadeus and IHG reported in their ‘Drivers of Change in Hospitality’ study that hotel accommodation will need to adapt as 61% of global travellers state a preference for hotels to be priced in a way that allows them to add-on bespoke options. They say this will see the emergence of attribute-based booking, where guests pick and choose the individual components of their room, marking the end of traditional room types.

In line with its sharpened focus on aviation, Icelandair Group has confirmed “a decision has already been made to enter into final contract negotiations” on the sale of Icelandair Hotels and related properties, based on an already agreed memorandum of understanding. This will see Icelandair Group continue to hold a 20% share in the sold assets. The plan is for the transaction to take place before the end of the second quarter of 2019.

TUI Group is further strengthening its high-margin hotel segment. After opening ten new hotels on 01-May-2019, it will open a similar number more across eleven countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. Strong growth will be delivered, in particular, for the concept hotel brands TUI Sensimar, TUI Family Life and TUI Sensatori. The all-inclusive club brand TUI Magic Life will offer three new resorts this Summer, and the long-standing joint venture partners Riu and Atlantica will also expand their portfolios.

Following the debuts of the Grand Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort & Spa, Grand Palladium White Island Resort & Spa and Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza in Apr-2019, Palladium Hotel Group has confirmed BLESS Hotel Ibiza, the second property of the BLESS Collection Hotels brand, will open on the island in June, continuing its expansion in the luxury segment.

Zleep Hotels will open its second hotel in the Danish city of Aarhus in June, its 12th property. The Zleep Hotel Aarhus North is located right next to the super hospital in Skejby close to industry, offices and conference facilities and will have 100 rooms. The growth in Aarhus comes five years after the brand made its debut in the city. The new property will open its ground floor on 04-Jun-2019 and the remaining floors will also be accessible from the start of Jul-2019.