With the recent agreement between the Chandris hotel group and the French hotel group Accor, whereby Accor takes over the management of the Chandris group, the Greek capital’s major hotels are for the most part managed by multi-national hotel units. This is in stark difference to Greek hotels outside of Athens that are family-owned and family-run units.
But change is in the air. The world hotel industry is changing from a collection of individually-owned, family-run enterprises into one increasingly controlled by large, multi-national corporations, according to a recent report published by Travel & Tourism Intelligence.
The report says that more than a third of the world’s hotel bedrooms are controlled by the top 200 hotel companies in the world that employ thousands of people and generate millions in profits for investors.
The study earmarked the 12 leading companies that drive consolidation in the industry, and showed how their growth has quickened in recent years. In the three years from 1995 to 1998, these top 12 companies grew at an average annual rate of 4.2%. In the three years since, they have managed to increase that annual growth rate even further to reach 6.4%.
“The hotel industry is at last coming out of the shadows to be recognized for the industrial force it truly is,” writes the report’s author, Andrew Sangster. “For too long the industry has suffered under the misconception both by investors and would-be employees that it offers few opportunities. The evidence is now here to change that.”
Well-known brand names and the impact of new technology appears to be the main force behind the consolidation in the industry. The report highlights the impact these two key trends have on the industry.
“Brands have enabled hotel companies to charge customers a premium price against their unbranded rivals in return for offering guests a consistent quality of service and hospitality,” says the report’s author.
In addition, the huge potential of technology, particularly the Internet, offers hoteliers more effective ways to market and sell their product.
The high cost of this technology is accelerating the trend for hotel bedrooms to be controlled by fewer and fewer companies, explains the report in a dedicated chapter on the subject.
The growing internationalization of the industry is also clearly highlighted in the study. The most international company, Bass, owner of the Holiday Inn and Inter-Continental brand names, is present in 100 countries. On average, the leading 12 companies have operations in 56 countries each.
Eight of the top 12 companies in the hotel industry are based in the USA. However, the remaining four companies in the top 12 are European, such as Accor, and these groups are more than holding their own against their American rivals.