Trends: Hotel development alongside visitor attractions
I was very interested to read Chris Moore, National Director Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels commenting “Hotel development is taking place, and more often in unexpected places. Very often, the justification for hotel investment lies in the marriage which occurs when a hotel proposition is blended with other activities and it is the diversity of those activities which are spawning new reasons for building hotel bedrooms.” He went on to say: “The relationship between hotels and the places we like to spend time is evolving and the association is such that partners working together are designing ever more effective and innovative ways of funding, sharing risk and preserving spend that might otherwise be lost outside the boundaries of their estate. When looking closely at the UK hotel development pipeline, improved technology will encourage closer co-operation between hotel owner and brand as cross-billing between different points of sale on diverse sites becomes smoother and more sophisticated. Successful partnerships will allow hotel concepts to be rolled out on both a domestic and global stage and as a result, by combining a hotel with key visitor attractions can bring to life to a facility and infrastructure, turning an attraction into a 24/7 venue.”
This approach has long been the norm at Theme Parks worldwide, with Disney being an exemplar and now other examples right across the theme park market ranging from Merlin’s hotels at Legoland and Alton Towers through to the massive hotel provision developed around PortAventura. Owners fully understand the advantages this brings to a large attraction, offering visitors the chance to extend their stay from one day to two or even more and of course, establishing a whole new set of revenue streams for owners. It also offers owners the chance to completely immerse the visitor in the attraction brand and providing the experience is a positive one, will strengthen their guests perception of that attraction experience compared to others they may know or have experienced. The end result? More repeat visits and recommendations.
One asset many medium to large attractions have is developable real estate and as we come out of the recession, I would fully expect to see this trend continue and accelerate as hotel investors seek new locations for their developments and attractions seek to strengthen and widen the appeal of their businesses. We’d certainly be interested in talking to attraction owners or to hotel investors about assessing the potential and matching one to the other.