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.

  • End of the road for bathroom miniatures as IHG opts for bulk-size amenities to reduce plastic waste
  • New Mercure Kraków Fabryczna City set to welcome first guests in early 2021
  • A new platform hopes to ‘upgrade’ hotel stays for business and personal travel
  • A race against time – pressure is on to finish new Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone property for the 2020 British Grand Prix
  • Park Inn by Radisson opens its second hotel in the holy city of Makkah
  • ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’ – Travelodge searches for UK coastal properties
  • Latest industry news and developments

End of the road for bathroom miniatures as IHG opts for bulk-size amenities to reduce plastic waste

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) plans to remove 200 million miniatures from its estate each year as part of a project to switch its entire portfolio of  843,000 guest rooms to bulk-size bathroom amenities. Building on its efforts to reduce plastic waste as part of a broader sustainability agenda, this pledge makes IHG the first global hotel company to commit all brands to removing bathroom miniatures in favour of bulk-size amenities. The transition is due to be completed during 2021. This commitment builds on IHG’s pledge to remove plastic straws from its hotels by the end of 2019, and a number of broader waste reduction initiatives already in place. Whether for business or leisure, IHG says hotel guests increasingly want their stays to be more sustainable without any impact on the quality of their experience and several of its brands are already achieving this today, receiving positive guest feedback on the quality of product and the larger volume on offer.


New Mercure Kraków Fabryczna City set to welcome first guests in early 2021

A new Mercure property is under construction on the site of a former distillery in the Eastern part of the Polish city of Kraków, approximately 20 minutes by foot from the city’s market square and Kraków Główny train station. The Mercure Kraków Fabryczna City is part of an investment project which also consists of modern office buildings and residential accommodation. It will offer 3,500 square metres of conference facilities, include a swimming pool, underground car park, bar and two restaurants, one of which will have its own brewery. “This hotel will have an exceptionally attractive and rich offer for the MICE segment,” acknowledges Jacek Stasikowski, director of network development in the Orbis Group and Accor for Poland and the Baltic States. There are already 21 Mercure hotels operating in Poland, and another six will open by the end of 2022. The Mercure Kraków Fabryczna City will be the ninth hotel operating under one of the Accor group brands in the Royal City in Poland and the second address of the Mercure network in Kraków.


A new platform hopes to ‘upgrade’ hotel stays for business and personal travel

A new online system has been launched in Europe that could open the door to potential hotel room upgrades. Designed to act as the communicator between the customer and hotel, Upgradus is a free online service that allows hotel stayers, at any hotel in the world, to show an interest in an upgraded room at a heavily discounted rate. The platform allows hotels to offer upgrades direct to their guests in advance, during the ‘silent period’ between booking and arrival. This allows the customer to spend time on a full consideration of the offer in private, without the embarrassment of a public discussion at check-in. “Globally hotel occupancy is around 67%. Occupancy for premium rooms and suites is generally much lower, with some suites having occupancy rates of less than 25%. This means that most hotels have empty premium rooms for most of the year. Selling discounted upgrades to these rooms could easily add EUR1 billion euros to the EUR570 billion hotel market,” says Guy Ratcliffe, CEO and founder of the application.


A race against time – pressure is on to finish new Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone property for the 2020 British Grand Prix

Hilton has confirmed it is ‘on-track’ to open a new Hilton Garden Inn property that will offer views over the starting grid at the Silverstone racing circuit ahead of next year’s British Grand Prix. Buoyed by the recent agreement by Formula 1 owner Liberty Media guaranteeing to stage the British Grand Prix at the circuit until at least 2024, the five-storey, 197-room hotel will be connected to the existing Silverstone Wing Conference Centre via a footbridge crossing over the circuit. This continues a sporting theme for the Hilton brand, which already encompasses hotels at Wembley Stadium, the Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground and The Ageas Bowl cricket ground in Southampton.


Park Inn by Radisson opens its second hotel in the holy city of Makkah

Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson Hotel Group’s upper midscale hotel brand, has confirmed the opening of its second hotel in the holy city of Makkah, located in Aziziyah. The group’s fast-growing Saudi Arabian portfolio now consists of 43 hotels and more than 9,400 rooms in operation and under development and the property will meet the growing demand of religious tourism to the Kingdom and the Holy City of Makkah. The Park Inn by Radisson Makkah Aziziyah is located just 6km from Al Masjid Al Haram, the biggest mosque in the world and the holiest site in Islam and is also close to the holy sites of Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah – as well as Jabal Thawr and Jabal Nur. It consists of 355 rooms and suites, most of which overlook the holy city.


‘I do like to be beside the seaside’ – Travelodge searches for UK coastal properties

Supporting international demand and an increase in staycation breaks, budget hotel chain Travelodge says it is looking to grow  its coastal hotel network with a further 26 properties in seaside resorts and coastal towns in the British Isles. It is 20 years since it opened its first seaside hotel at Brighton on the south coast and has just opened its 36th in Rhyl in partnership with the Local Authority – supporting local regeneration. This coastal expansion programme would represent an investment of approximately GBP165 million for third party investors and would create around 650 new jobs. The Travelodge coastal development target list stretches the length and breadth of the UK mainland (and beyond). The list of coastal towns where itis looking to open a hotel comprises Aberystwyth, Bognor Regis, Bournemouth, Bude, Canterbury/Whistable, Deal/Sandwich, Eastbourne, Falmouth, Folkestone, Guernsey, Hove, Jersey, Lerwick, Looe/Fowey, Lowestoft, Newquay, Oban, Penarth, Penzance, Pwllheli, Shoreham-by-Sea, St Ives, Tenby, Truro, Western Super Mare and Weymouth.


News Briefs

Zagreb City Hotels has added a third Hilton property to its operation with the opening of the Hilton Garden Inn Zagreb in the Croatian capital. It adds to the DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb which opened in 2012 and Canopy by Hilton Zagreb which opened last year. The new midscale property has 153-guestrooms is within walking distance from main city attractions including Maksimir Park, Arena Zagreb Concert Hall and the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Aparthotels Adagio has outlined plans to quadruple its UK portfolio over the next four years as part of a strategy that will see its global portfolio double. Adding to its four existing aparthotels in Birmingham, Brentford, Edinburgh and Liverpool, a new opening is already planned in Leicester by the end of 2019, a complex of 136 apartments in Stratford, London scheduled to open in 2020 and a 162 apartment premise in Saint Enoch, Glasgow in 2021. It has also confirmed plans for a property in London’s East End at Whitechapel with 147 rooms made up of 112 studios and 35 apartments with two connecting rooms.

Moscow’s Government has recorded 12 million tourist stays at Moscow’s hotels last year. The city’s department of economic policy and development says Moscow’s hotel network has recorded a 65% or RUB36 billion (EUR511 million) increase in income since 2014, to the RUB91 billion (EUR1291.7 million) annual rate recorded in 2018.

As more and more travellers look to online travel agencies (OTAs) when booking accommodation, it is becoming increasingly difficult for hotels using direct booking to compete. OTA Insight, the cloud-based data intelligence platform for the hospitality industry, found in its Annual Hotel Parity Review that in Europe the price parity differs from 45% of OTA rates being cheaper at major chains to 53% at independents and local chains.

A historic 15th century property has been rebranded as the voco Oxford Thames as as part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) strategic partnership with Covivio to acquire 12 Principal and DeVere properties. The refreshed 104-room property brings the total of voco hotels in the UK to three in the last year.