According to the latest Europe Hotel Construction Pipeline Trend Report from Lodging Econometrics (LE), analysts report that at the start of 2021, Europe’s hotel construction pipeline increased 5% by projects and 6% by rooms year-over-year (YOY). Europe ended the first quarter of 2021 with 1,928 projects/310,523 rooms, a record high project and room count for the region.
As the hotel construction pipeline remains strong in Europe, vaccination rates also continue to rise and European governments are beginning to ease restrictions on travel and tourism. On May 19, the European Union (EU) announced it has endorsed a proposal by the European Commission to allow quarantine-free travel for visitors from a list of countries considered to be safe. Pending final approval, countries in the EU will reopen borders to travelers with certificates of full immunization with an approved vaccine. Visitors who have not yet been vaccinated will also be permitted to travel with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. They will not be required to quarantine if their country of origin is on the approved list.
As of May 18, Malta had the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the region with 34.56% of the eligible population fully vaccinated and 31.09% partly vaccinated. The U.K. followed with 30.74% of eligible residents fully vaccinated and 23.74% have received at least one dose of an approved vaccine.
Following a year of isolation and the countries within the region being mostly inaccessible to outside visitors, the new proposal is just in time for the summer tourist season and a welcome change for the hospitality industry.
Rooms under construction are at an all-time high of 1,007 projects/164,041 rooms, an increase of 15% YOY by projects and rooms. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months closed Q1 at 482 projects/75,381 rooms, up slightly over the previous quarter. Conversely, projects and rooms in the early planning stage experienced a small drop in Q1, to end the quarter with 439 projects/71,101 rooms.
During the first quarter, 44 hotels/6,500 rooms opened throughout Europe. LE is forecasting another 331 projects/48,442 rooms to open by the end of the year and anticipates 440 projects/65,957 rooms will open across the region in 2022.
The U.K. leads the construction pipeline with a record-high room count for the country with 55,582 rooms/371 projects. Germany follows with 295 projects/54,340 rooms, then France with 177 projects/21,287 rooms. Next is Portugal with 130 projects/15,558 rooms and then Poland with 95 projects/14,366 rooms.
The cities in Europe with the largest hotel construction pipelines include London with 97 projects/17,435 rooms; Dusseldorf, Germany, with 55 projects/10,915 rooms; and Paris with 47 projects/7,119 rooms. Next is Lisbon, Portugal, at 38 projects/4,306 rooms, followed by Istanbul, Turkey, with 35 projects/6,719 rooms.
Accor Hotels leads franchise companies in Europe with the largest pipeline and record-high project and room counts, at 276 projects/39,500 rooms. Marriott International follows Accor, with 225 projects/37,097 rooms, then Hilton with 215 projects, a record-high project count, having 33,387 rooms. Next is InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 154 projects/23,838 rooms.
The leading brands in the pipeline are Accor Hotels’ Ibis hotels with 103 projects/12,707 rooms, followed by Hampton by Hilton with 86 projects/13,347 rooms, then Marriott’s Moxy brand with 63 projects/10,963 rooms. IHG’s Holiday Inn Express closed the quarter with 61 projects/9,541 rooms.