The luxury hotels that change the map of tourist Athens and the role of Airbnb

The areas that have their honor and the "battle" for a place in the sun

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Investing billions in news hotels in Athens are in progress following the trend that wants it Greek capital to be among the preferences of tourists for holidays.

The positive signs of arrivals, which enhance expectations, also contribute to the multiplication of the hotel potential of the capital. Developments are expected to continue next year with investors looking for opportunities both inside and outside Attica.

Apartment buildings are being converted into rental housing complexes, old buildings are being converted into tourist apartments and luxury large chain hotels are making their appearance by changing the image of the capital.

But what are these new hotels and which areas have their place of honor?

The luxury hotels that are included in the map of Athens

Its commissioning Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens in Vouliagmeni was announced shortly before Easter. The luxury hotel complex has 750 staff, 303 rooms, two thousand works of art in public areas, suites and bungalows, restaurants, bars, swimming pools, private beaches, basketball and water sports, kids club, spa and hydrotherapy.

Ready to open its gates to the Greek public next month, it is another hotel. The reason for Academy of Athens, Autograph Collection. The five-star hotel unit, at 48 Akadimias Street and Omirou corner, will include 63 fully equipped rooms and a roof garden overlooking the Acropolis.

The new and at the same time impressive accommodation that will adorn the center of the capital was leased by the Lebanese group Yazbeck, which came to an agreement with the Unified Social Security Agency (EFKA) for the rental of the building. The property may belong to the Naval Retirement Fund (NAT), but the jurisdiction was retained by EFKA.

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By the end of 2019, we expect the operation of the new unit of the Lampsa group in Syntagma. The group has leased the historic hotel King's Palace at the junction of Kriezotou and Panepistimiou streets.

In a very close distance and in 2019, the new five-star hotel of the Kokkalis group will operate in Constitution, in the three-storey listed building, owned by the Army Share Fund (MTS), which has been leased by Intrakat since the end of 2017. The new 45-room hotel, bar-restaurant with outdoor courtyard and spa, promises to be an attraction for the visitors of Athens.

A new kind of hotel, the Blend Hotel, started its operation in the center of Athens. Blend Hotel, owned by HOTELCO SA, is located at 2 Aiolou and Vyssis streets and offers accommodation with a minimal style and of course a unique view.

Under flag, an original concept makes its debut and another hotel, the Ergon House Athens. At 23 Mitropoleos Street, where the Spanish Cervantes Institute used to be housed, a boutique hotel is aimed at gastronomy lovers.

The new arrivals of Athens include Elia Ermou Athens Hotel, at Ermou 15-17, which has already started its operation on the homonymous street, just 150 meters from Syntagma Square.

At the intersection of Falirou Street with Syggrou lane, in Koukaki will open its gates and the Athens BC Hotel, the new modern hotel of COCO-MAT.

At the junction of Syggrou Avenue with Vourvachi Street, at the height of the Acropolis Museum, is the impressive Niche Hotel. The seven-storey office building has been converted into a 37-room hotel and is within walking distance of most of the most important historical sites in Athens.

Two new hotel properties in Greece were bought by Thomas Cook Hotel Investments strengthening its presence in our country. These include the company's flagship hotel, Casa Cook Kos.

The consortium has almost doubled its portfolio in one year, in nine locations, four of which are in Greece. He bought the 100-room Casa Cook Kos, which is the most efficient hotel unit under the Thomas Cook brand, according to customer reviews, as well as an area in Kos where the company intends to build a Cook's Club 250 hotel. rooms, for next summer, but also the Sunwing Arguineguin Hotel in Gran Canaria, which has 250 rooms.

TCHI was founded in March 2018, having five hotels, as a consortium in cooperation with the hotel development company LMEY and having agreed in advance to acquire a 300-room hotel in the Balearic Islands.

In the winter, TCHI invested € 7 million in the company's largest hotel in Greece, the Sunwing Kallithea in Rhodes, for its renovation, including the addition of rooms with pool in the hotel, to meet the demand for more luxury accommodation.

At the same time, a further plan for hotel acquisitions has been formed, according to the consortium's intention to have 10-15 hotels in the first two years of its operation.

Greece is filled with five-star and luxury hotels

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Blooming of the five stars and Luxury hotels in Greece captures research by Horwath HTL, a consulting company worldwide specializing in the tourism and hotel industry. The research is entitled "European Hotel & Chains Report 2019" and was presented in the context of the work of the International Hotel Investment Forum 2019 that took place from 4 to 6 March 2019, in Berlin.

Specifically, as mentioned in a relevant announcement, in 2018 the international chains or brands increased their presence in the Greek market by 15% in terms of capacity rooms and by 12.1% in terms of bed capacity, thus reflecting the upward trends in demand for Greek tourism in recent years, as well as the attractiveness of the Greek tourism product.

In addition, in 2018 they started their operation 150 luxury hotels thus reaching 550 5-star hotels and 1.581 4-star hotels, a size that corresponds to 21.6% of the total number of hotels in the country. At the same time, in Greece, which was included in the survey for the first time, Hotel Groups, Family Groups and Brands hold 8% of the total market and 12% of the room capacity.

Rise in arrivals, drop in hotel occupancy - The role of Airbnb and the concern of hoteliers

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In addition to hotel units, the second category of accommodation for short-term rental is developing rapidly and perhaps at a faster pace, through the well-known platforms of the type airbnb.

The most sought after neighborhoods of the center and the southern suburbs, such as Koukaki and Glyfada, are so saturated that landlords decide to rent their properties.

Of course, the fact that the available accommodation in Athens is increasing and multiplying is not necessarily combined with the best performance of the hotel units. According to the report of GBR Consulting, the level of rentals in hotels in Athens decreased by 6,8%, with room prices remaining at the same level compared to the previous year mainly due to oversupply from the rapidly growing housing sector.

Specifically, at the same time that international arrivals continue to move upwards, the hotels of the capital record a drop in occupancy and revenues of up to 30% on a case-by-case basis, according to the quarterly survey of GBR Consulting (SIX).

The performance of Athenian hotels, which are overall negative in the first quarter of 2019, confirms the fears of a bad image expressed by hoteliers since the beginning of the year, separating the increase in arrivals from the financial results of hotel units.

As they claim, a large part of the tourist traffic to the capital is diffused into anarchic hotel management and the sharing economy, which also remains largely out of control.

In particular, the data published by EXAAA show a decrease of 6,8% in occupancy, a decrease of 6,8% in revenue per available room (RevPar) and zero change (0,0%) in the average room rate (ARR) for the first quarter in 2019 for Athenian hotels. According to the monthly bulletins of EXAAA and GBR Consulting, the negative image is valid for each month of the first quarter.

January 2019 compared to last year in the same month "closed" with a drop of 8,7% in occupancy, 1,6% in the average room rate and 10,2% in revenue per available room (RevPar). February "closed" with a decrease of 1,9% in occupancy, an increase of 1,8% in the average room price and a decrease of 0,1% in the revenue per available room. March was negative in all three indices (-9,1%, -0,1% and -9,2%) respectively - compared to the corresponding period of 2018.

Increase in tourists

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It is worth noting that according to the international arrivals data of the airport Eleftherios Venizelos in Athens arrived in the first quarter of 2019 about 9,7% more foreign visitors than the corresponding quarter of 2018, while each month separately was positive (+ 8,7%, + 11,6% and + 9,1% ).

The Athens Hoteliers Association emphasizes that hotels are constantly burdened with a number of strict operating standards, with a number of taxes, regular and extraordinary contributions, etc., and estimates that "the signs of falling prices and revenues of hotels - which in some cases exceed 30% or even 40% - are not a good start not only for 2019, but also for the future ". The "unequal treatment" between hotels and other tourist accommodation (illegal, semi-illegal or "new type") on the one hand has "acquired provocative dimensions", on the other hand "poses a series of new problems (safety, work and employment, operating specifications, etc.) in our already burdened daily life "adds EXAAA.

Only 5,3% of tenants in Attica as Airbnb

In 150.000 houses for rent in Attica, 12.000 were made airbnb, that is, just the 5,3% of rental housing.

This emerges from the data presented at the joint event of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and POMIDA for the present and future of Short-Term Leases in Athens, held at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The discussion was prefaced by the president of EVEA Konstantinos Michalos who noted: "I believe that the sharing economy can, with proper management, create more benefits than risks."

According to the statistics concerning the short-term lease in Athens and presented:

Specifically, in April 2019, in the capital there were 8.989 active accommodations on the platforms, with the vast majority of them being entire houses while only 10% individual rooms. Short-term leasing has grown significantly in the last three years, contributing significantly to the overall tourist traffic. More than 340.000 τουρίστες thus visited Athens in 2018, leaving 89,5 million euros in the city.

According to market experts, Airbnb brought tourist decentralization, reviving abandoned neighborhoods of the municipality of Athens. The result is that many residents now want to return to the center but find it difficult to find a home, so some rush to demonize the short-term lease.

However, according to the data that came to light, in 150.000 homes for rent in Attica, 12.000 became Airbnb, ie only 5,3% of rental homes.

The conclusions that emerged from the meeting. according to the organizers, are:

  • Η short-term rental of real estate gives added value to the tourist product and "opens" tourist markets, attracting tourists who would not choose to travel to our country without this option. It strengthens local economies, creating new jobs and increasing entrepreneurship.
  • The imposition of restrictions on this activity would be a mistake and a blow to tourism, but also to society in general. Like any living economic activity, it must always be self-regulating based on supply and demand and the conditions prevailing. On the contrary, any restrictive measure in short-term leases carries the risk of exercising it in "gray" tax contexts.
  • This activity must be carried out in conditions of tax legality. Let there be inspections and let the prescribed fines be imposed on those who are still illegally on the platforms without full tax compliance (AMA, etc.).
  • Any proposal to consider short-term lease as mandatory for natural persons as a professional activity is unacceptable, with all that entails or to be charged a higher tax rate.
  • Finally, short-term rental is an activity that came to stay. In Athens, but also in many parts of our country, it has both present and future, for all those who have the appropriate accommodation, but also the appropriate qualifications.
Hotelier Battle - Airbnb for a place in the sun

The "hurricane" Airbnb continues to intensify and this has now alarmed hoteliers for good.

Hotels and short-term real estate leasing platforms are developing their own tactics and are fighting to retain and increase customers and revenue. At the same time, Airbnb is now aiming at the "foam" of the hotel clientele.

Next to the official tourism "pole" of the economy, expressed by traditional tourism businesses (such as hotels, rooms to let, travel agencies, etc.), a second one is formed which consists of companies that are associated with short-term rental accommodation.

Hoteliers and property owners working with digital platforms such as Airbnb were found in the trenches. An alternative "ecosystem" of Airbnb accommodation companies is already being developed, providing services to travelers but moving outside the "systemic" tourism sector, something that seems to be bothering them.