04 Dec 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Attractions Management
2018 issue 2

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Leisure Management - A new Hotel Genre

Editor’s letter

A new Hotel Genre

Attractions operators are discovering the profits that can be made from selling accommodation of all types – from hotels and resorts, to shared ownership. Early adopters have led the way and now the wider market is poised for growth

Liz Terry, Leisure Media

A recent visit to the wonderful Europa Park in Germany gave me serious pause for thought, as the scale of Roland Mack’s hotel aspirations became clear.

We did a hard hat tour of the park’s new hotel which is under construction, and it’s ambitious – the size of the project is such it seems Europa Park is pivoting to become a hotel operator with a theme park attached, rather than a theme park operator with hotels on the side.

This will be the park’s sixth hotel. Called Krønasår, it will open in 2019 and have 276 rooms and 28 family suites, as well as conference and banqueting facilities and restaurants. The entire place will be themed as a natural history museum.

The Mack family, who own and run Europa Park, have more land and early work is underway on a seventh hotel.

Hotels and attractions are becoming closer bedfellows and the trend is all positive. With their experiential skills and theming expertise, attractions designers are capable of creating the most amazing places to stay – as far removed from the dull, cookie-cutter monotony of your average hotel as it’s possible to get. Accommodation also adds significantly to the guest experience, as demonstrated by the occupancy rates being achieved by operators who have taken the leap.

The new AECOM/TEA Theme Index highlights this trend by logging important new hotel developments at Parc Asterix in Paris, Ocean Park Hong Kong and the Xcaret Park in Mexico, as well as the much anticipated Star Wars themed hotel at Walt Disney World Resort and Marvel hotel at Disneyland Paris.

Personally, I can’t wait for someone to create a Harry Potter hotel – can you imagine how amazing it would be to actually stay at Hogwarts? Occupancy would be 100 per cent year-round.

With such strong catalogues of IPs to use as the basis for themed hotels, attractions owners and operators are ideally placed to either go it alone and own, build and operate themselves, or to do so in collaborating with hotel investors and hotel operating companies. The opportunity is there within the industry to roll out a wide range of accommodation offers.

These could be in any kind of attraction which is regional, national or international in scale and has a suitable catchment area and available land with the right consents.

The hospitality sector is experiencing strong growth, and hotel operators and investors are looking for partnerships to bring new developments to market: the visitor attractions sector is a great fit, given it brings with it an existing clientele, marketing firepower, land and good travel links. Attractions operators also make great joint venture partners because they understand the service economy and have strong, consumer-facing brands.

Themed hotels already exist, but we think the experience and immersion can be taken to a new level with the next generation of properties to be built, to create a new genre of hotel.

Without serious accommodation portfolios, larger scale attractions will never fulfil their true potential, so building out this side of the business is the next stage in our evolution.

Originally published in Attractions Management 2018 issue 2

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