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A fresh breeze for everyone

3rd "Spotlight Hotel Investment Poland": The entire CEE with good news

Spotlight Hotel Investment Poland 2016 Flaggen am Palast für Kultur und Wissenschaft
Currently, there is a fresh breeze throughout Eastern Europe.

Warsaw (July 1, 2016). "2015 was a strong year for Poland, and 2016 will be the same," Lukas Hochedlinger, Managing Director Germany, Austria, CEE at Christie & Co says. And he views the "basic trend" in other Eastern European countries to be "very positive", even in secondary locations. The discussion rounds at the 3rd "Spotlight Hotel Investment Poland" conference in mid-June confirmed the good "hotel forecast" by Hochedlinger. In the InterContinental Hotel Warsaw, over 250 high-calibre participants arrived for the conference - also a sign of the interest for (more) hotels and international investors. A first impression.

Of course the Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, Michal Olszewski, did his bit to plug his city and country in the opening speech kicking off the conference. He cited the "2015 Global Destination Cities Index" by MasterCard in which Warsaw ranked 8th in a list of "Europe's Fastest Growing Destination Cities by International Overnight Visitors (2009 – 2015 CAGR)".

  Spotlight Poland 2016 Panel CEE Moderator Hochedlinger Lukas
  At the conference, Lukas Hochedlinger moderated the first
discussion about the CEE markets. 

In fact: The data analyst STR Global was also able to back up the euphoria with respect to the Polish hotel industry with some concrete figures. Among the European cities, Warsaw is doing well - the city is still among the Top 16 cities covered by STR - even if RevPar is considerably lower than in other cities. Looking at this positively, this means Warsaw still has enormous potential.

Clear favourite: Poland

Whilst Ireneusz Weglowski from Orbis (AccorHotels) talked of the good dynamic in the first round of talks at the conference and referred to GDP growth of over 2% as a positive basis, the Polish regional director of Vienna House, Tomasz Piorkowski pointed out that they would rather have demand from economic growth and better infrastructure over the long term. "And we are not focussing exclusively on Warsaw, but are looking at secondary cities as well," he added.

Poland is currently the favourite of all those looking to buy and/or operate hotels in CEE. So much became clear in the discussions. "Poland is core," Sebastien Denier promptly confirmed, VP Operations Central & Northern Europe of Louvre Hotel Group: And the hotel subsidiary of the Chinese Jin Jiang Group also has the necessary spare change at the moment to invest in hotels. And it's exactly this that people want to do in Poland, Denier continued.

According to STR Business Development Manager Jakub Klimczak, Poland's key arkets are the following cities:

City Occupancy in % ADR in Zloty
Posen (Poznan) 56.0 274
Tri-City (Trojmiasto)* 59.9 259
Breslau (Wroclaw) 61.5 216
Krakau (Krakow) 65.3 254
Warschau (Warsaw) 70.2 275

*Tri-City = the cities Danzig (Gdansk), Gdingen (Gdynia) and Zoppot (Sopot)
Source: STR Global, figures from April 2016 Year-To-Date

In conversations with conference participants, two names were repeatedly mentioned as the most popular tourist destinations: Krakow and Gdansk. Just four weeks ago, the Austrian developer UBM presented its newest Holiday Inn in top location on Gdansk's Granary Island (hospitalityInside reported) and held out the prospect of further steady investment in Poland.

The chains have long since discovered Poland, this too was clearer than in previous years at the "Spotlight Hotels Investment" conference. Orbis/AccorHotels is currently pushing over ten hotels, mostly under the ibis brand and even announced that it would in future look at existing, privately-operated hotels.

Vienna House left the conference with numerous concrete enquiries, above all for its new brand Vienna House Easy. Hilton continues to invest in Poland, as do B&B, IHG, Rezidor and Marriott, which next year intends to open a 100-room Moxy in Katowice in the budget segment. Choice Hotels, Motel One, Meininger and Wyndham are still looking for their opportunities.

The lion's share of wishes are focused on the budget/economy segment and midscale hotels. But that doesn't stop Kempinski from continuing to look for a location in Warsaw. And consortia such as Worldhotels are working systematically on their network - in order to convince private hotels of the advantages of having an international brand on the roof.

Updraft also for other CEE markets

This year though, the discussion moved more quickly than in previous ones to other Eastern European countries, where all ratios are also moving up. According to STR Global, the entire region saw a +5.3% jump in occupancy to 54.1%, ADR climbed by +6.9% to EUR 64.93, RevPar increased by +12.7% to EUR 35.16. In terms of countries, the picture is as follows.

Country Occupancy in % ADR in €
Russia 49.1 64
Turkey 50.6 80
Lithuania 52.7 58
Czech Republic 57.9 69
Hungary 60.3 68
Romania 61.4 70
Poland 63.7 57

Source: STR Global, figures from April 2016 Year-To-Date

"Performance data from Budapest and Prague has been on the up since 2008," Lukas Hochedlinger from Christie & Co reports. "And demand from investors is rising for these destinations," he knows from experience in consultancy meetings. He also views the trend in Croatia positively, which will this summer benefit from changes in travel flows as a result of geopolitical events. In Croatia too, interest in transactions has been increasing since 2014 - "from the 5 to the 100 million deal". Smaller markets such as Zagreb or Sarajevo, another study conducted by Christie & Co found, may not be enticing international players, but they do appeal to local investors.

Whilst one could get the impression from the hotel conference that Polish banks would currently prefer to provide finance in Zloty as opposed to Euros, Hochedlinger remains relaxed: "Currency fluctuations for the Zloty remain within limits. Whether Zloty or Euro, this isn't a deal breaker for an interested investor," he says.

A further report on the 3rd "Spotlight Hotel Investment Poland" conference is to follow. / map

 

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