Branded hotel groups are looking to Europe to expand their businesses and increase market penetration, according to a leading hotelier.
Michael Flaxman, managing director of Accor Hotels, northern, central and Eastern Europe, was speaking at the Managing Today - Managing Tomorrow conference organised by the Hotel and Catering International Management Association (HCIMA) in Manchester last week. He told delegates that Europe offered "very exciting" opportunities.
He said that Accor viewed the territory, which receives 60% of the world's international tourist arrivals yet has 79% of hotels under independent ownership, as the place for growth.
"It's a very interesting area to branded companies such as Accor, and the exact opposite of the USA [which is brand saturated]," Flaxman said.
Accor has 300 hotels in 15 European countries but as European wealth and leisure time increases it remains the "place of the future", Flaxman added.
The managing director tipped Spain, Bulgaria and Romania as the new hot areas for hotel investment. He also pointed out the potential for budget hotel growth in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former USSR, such as the Ukraine.