PL

Poland Hospitality revives – in an inhospitable environment

Hotels
Another difficult year for the hotel market has come to an end – hotels were back in operation for only the last six months of the year, but the summer and autumn seasons were much better than in 2020. But the hospitality sector is resilient and always has the potential to bounce back – according to the ‘Hotel market in the largest cities in Poland. Annual report 2021’ by Hotel Professionals, which ‘Eurobuild CEE’ has been granted the exclusive rights to publish.

The entire report is available for download via the link at the bottom of the page.

Last year, multiple restrictions introduced “temporarily” disrupted the market and prevented any rational planning. The uncertainty and unpredictability of decisions made by the government have complicated both the planning work and organising events.

I have tried to redact this yearly introduction and forecast for 2022 at least five times in the past few weeks and abandoned every attempt, due to the fluid and daily changing of the Covid-19 developments. We have been producing annual hotel market reports for the last 15 years. Our previous end-year report (2020) certainly had some challenging conclusions, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 situation. Everyone in this sector is aware that we were presented with the same challenges when reflecting on 2021. The hotel and tourism industry has been battered over the past 20 months, and what is most concerning is we can’t see a clear path and forecast towards normalcy for our sector at anytime soon.
Alex Kloszewski, the managing partner of Hotel Professionals Management Group

There are now app. 2,900 hotels in Poland, with about 146,000 rooms. Around 44 pct of rooms are in the three-star (economy) segment). Rooms in the four-star category have the second largest market share (app. 31 pct), followed by two-star rooms. Five-star rooms constitute a small percentage of the total hotel room supply in Poland – about 7 pct. 34 pct of hotel rooms in Poland are marketed under a global, regional or national brand, so the Polish hotel market is dominated by accommodation that is not offered by any particular hotel chain. In 2021, around 25 new hotels were added to the hotel market in Poland, offering roughly 3,700 rooms, out of which close to 78 pct rare managed by a global, regional or Polish hotel chain.

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Warsaw

Three new hotels opened in Warsaw in 2021 and there are currently 112 hotels operating in the market, offering a total of around 18,000 hotel rooms. Most rooms are categorized in the 3-star segment - they account for 47% of all hotel rooms, of which exactly half belong to global chains. Rooms in the 4-star segment (21% of all hotel rooms) and 5-star segment (13% of all rooms) overwhelmingly, i.e. 85%, operate under the banner of global brands.

For the second year in a row, the Warsaw hotel market, along with Kraków's, was severely affected by the epidemic. City hotels recorded the lowest occupancy rates in both lockdown and holiday months. This was largely due to the lack of foreign business tourism as well as absence or great difficulties in organizing events and conferences. Since the city hotels resumed operation in the first half of May, occupancy rates grew slower than in tourist destinations. It was not until August that the occupancy rate rose above 50% and continued to rise with each passing month, reaching 59% in October. With ADR in October at 290 PLN, RevPAR reached its highest level of the year at 171 PLN for Warsaw. For comparison, in Tricity the RevPAR in October was PLN 182.

Three new hotels opened in Warsaw in 2021 and added over 680 rooms to the Warsaw hotel market. The most recent Tulip Residences Warszawa Targowa is also the first aparthotel opened in Poland under the Tulip Residences brand.

It is worth notifying the Crowne Plaza Warsaw Hub at the end of 2020, together with Holiday Inn Express Warsaw Hub, enhanced the Warsaw market by adding 430 additional rooms.

As a result of the epidemic situation, one of the major issues was the inability to obtain financing, hence many hotel developments were put on hold, or their planned openings were postponed.

Kraków

Kraków's hotel market 2021 grew by seven new establishments in 2021, to a total of 191 hotels offering approximately 12,679 hotel rooms. Majority of hotels there operate under private brands - it accounts for 53% of the room supply, of which most are categorized as 3 and 4-star (46% and 34% of all private rooms respectively). The second largest group are global chain hotel, offering 34% of the room supply. Among those, 36% of rooms are categorized as 4-star. Rooms in the highest, 5-star segment constitute 10% of the supply of all hotel rooms in Kraków, of which over a half is under the name of a global brand, 36% under private brand.

Despite being one of the main destinations for foreign tourists traveling to Poland, Kraków has recorded much lower occupancy rates than other major Polish cities due to the pandemic situation. Even during the summer holidays, domestic tourism has not delivered higher occupancies, and August was the only month the average occupancy rose above 50%. The average ADR of PLN 265 in August resulted in a RevPAR of ca. PLN 154, which was the highest for Kraków in 2021. From its position as the leader in average RevPAR among Polish cities in 2019, Kraków suffered the most and for the second year in a row recorded the lowest average RevPAR compared to other large cities in Poland.

Seven new hotels opened in Krakow in 2021, increasing the supply of hotel rooms by around 982 rooms. Four new hotels added to the 4-star segment, while three joined the 3-star segment. The largest hotel to open in 2021 is AC by Marriott, which with 300 rooms is currently the second largest hotel in the city.

Similarly, the epidemic situation (and particularly inability to obtain financing) caused numerous hotel development delays and adjournment

Tricity

In the Tricity, one hotel opened in 2021 and some establishments changed categorization. Currently, the local market consists of 95 hotels offering a total of around 8,176 hotel rooms. More than half of the rooms operate under a global, regional, or Polish brand. Three- and four-star rooms dominate and have a similar market share - they account for 40% of rooms in Tricity. In the 3-star segment most rooms are private-branded - as much as 59%; rooms belonging to global hotel chains represent 36% of the room supply in this segment. In the case of the 4-star segment, rooms in global hotel chains dominate – they account for 43% of the hotel room supply. Rooms in a 5-star category represent 12% of the total supply and operate in 2/3 under a global brand, whilst 1/3 operates under a private brand.

Tricity achieved the highest average monthly RevPAR in Poland in almost all months of the year. After months of closure, seaside hotels attracting domestic leisure travelers experienced a faster and stronger return compared to city hotels. During the summer season, Tricity hotels had the highest average occupancy rate among Poland's largest cities - reaching an all-time high of 85% in August. This was not only a record result in Poland, but one of the highest in all of Europe in pandemic reality. ADR in August was 467 PLN, resulting in RevPAR of 397 PLN.

In 2021, Arche Hotel Dwór Uphagen with 256 rooms in a 4-star standard was opened in Gdańsk. Compared to the previous year, the investment pipeline for 2022 is much more extensive. Nevertheless Hotel Professionals’ industry knowledge and network is aware of a significant number of hotel developments being put on hold at the planning stage and it is difficult to say when the projects will be completed.

WROCŁAW

Wrocław hotel market offers over 5,660 hotel rooms in 65 hotels. On the scale of the entire city approximately 60% are chain rooms. Three-star hotels dominate in Wrocław, accounting for approx. 40% of the supply. The second largest segment are 4-star rooms which account for approx. 32% of the supply of hotel rooms. The 5-star segment accounts for approx. 13% of the total room supply in the city.

Wrocław, for the second year in a row after the outbreak of the pandemic, was in second place (after Tricity) in terms of achieving average monthly occupancy levels throughout the year. Also in the most critical months, i.e. from January to April, Wrocław fared better than other large business cities. The Wrocław market was the only one to record in October an average price almost identical to that of 2019, i.e. PLN 268. In the months from June to October, Wrocław ranked second among the largest cities, with only the Tri-City recording higher occupancy during the summer months.

The best month for Wrocław since the outbreak of the pandemic was August, when the average occupancy rate was close to 78%, which at a rate of around PLN 267 resulted in RevPAR of PLN 208.

In early November 2021, the Wrocław Tourist Organization was established to promote tourism in the capital of Lower Silesia together with companies from the hotel and catering industry, non-governmental tourist organizations, as well as the academic community. Additional activities supporting the development of tourism in such challenging times will certainly contribute to improving the performance of hotel facilities in the city.

In 2021 one hotel facility opened in Wrocław, located by the Wrocław airport - Arche Hotel Airport with 117 rooms. In 2022, Q Hotel in Bielany Wrocławskie and Aparthotel Studio Plac Dominikański opposite DoubleTree by Hilton are scheduled to open. A major renovation of the Grand Hotel (soon to be Mövenpick), which began in 2017, is still underway. Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, and the revitalized hotel will offer 172 rooms. As in other parts of the country, some projects in the planning stage in Wrocław have been put on hold due to the current epidemic situation.

One of the highlights of the Wrocław hotel market is the rebranding of the closed down Sofitel Wrocław Old Town, which from 2022 will operate under the new Wyndham brand in Poland.

POZNAŃ

The supply of hotel rooms in Poznań amounts to approx. 4,214 rooms located in 64 facilities, 62% of which operate under the name of a global, regional or Polish hotel chain. In Poznań there is a clear advantage of 3-star standard rooms - they account for approx. 42% of all rooms in the city, of which about 33% are rooms with a global brand. In the second most numerous group, 4-star rooms, as many as 55% of rooms belong to international hotel chains. In the 5-star standard there are only 2 hotels with nearly 270 rooms.

In 2021 the Poznań hotel market ranked third in terms of average occupancy, outperforming Warsaw and Kraków. In June the market saw its first significant rebound this year - occupancy at around 45%, with ADR at around PLN 217. It is worth noting that the city achieved this result without the participation of trade fairs, one of the main demand generators. Poznan recorded the highest occupancy rate in September, which amounted to nearly 65%, with an average price of ca. 255 PLN. In October, Poznań, as well as Tricity, were the only markets whose average prices and occupancy rates were close to the 2019 results.

In 2021, one hotel opened in Poznań. However, the market recorded a decline in the number of rooms due to the discontinuation of 3 smaller non-branded hotels with a total of approximately 176 rooms. A small boutique hotel, Authors Boutique Hotel, is in the process of completion, while other projects in the pipeline are in the planning or early development stage, so some may be put on hold, postponed or not completed at all.

ŁÓDŹ

Currently there are 33 hotels in Lodz. Of the approximately 3,007 hotel rooms, approximately 58% belong to hotel chains. Łódź does not offer five-star standard hotels. The Łódź market is dominated by the 4-star segment which accounts for approx. 41% of the city's room supply, while the 3-star segment represents approx. 34% of the city's room supply.

Hotels in the 3- and 4-star segment recorded the highest occupancy rates in September and October, when they reached over 60%. The highest RevPAR was recorded in October - around 157 PLN, with the average rate just under 241 PLN. Lodz has gained in popularity this year as a destination chosen by couples, families and friends for so called "city-breaks".

The city of Łódź was also awarded in the "Sustainable Development" category in the global poll "Best of the World 2022" organized by National Geographic Traveler. This is a great distrinction and an opportunity to prsent the potential of the city to both domestic and foreign tourists.

No hotels opened in Łódź in 2021. Hotel Pietryna on 40 Piotrkowska Street is under construction - its opening is scheduled for Q1 2022. Hampton by Hillton Łódź City Center is also in the finishing phase - the hotel was supposed to open in 2021, but its opening was postponed to Q1/Q2 2022. Finishing works on the renovation and modernization of Grand hotel are in progress. Even before the pandemic, several other hotel investments in Łódź were announced, but so far their status has not changed and we are still waiting for new information regarding their realization.

KATOWICE

Katowice's hotel market is dominated by 4-star rooms, about 61% of all rooms are positioned in this segment. In total, at the end of 2021. In total at the end of 2021 there were 22 hotels operating in the city, which offered approx. 2,532 rooms. 2-star rooms make up the second largest segment, with approximately 16% of hotel rooms operating in this standard. 3-star hotel rooms rank third (about 14%). Chain rooms constitute around 80% of all hotel rooms available in Katowice.

The MICE and business sector of the hotel market in Katowice proved to be particularly difficult for the second year in a row. Hotels in the 4-star segment ended the year with an average annual RevPAR of approx. PLN 78, with an average ADR of approx. PLN 203 and an occupancy rate of approx. 38%.

The development of the hotel market in recent years has been mainly due to the new MICE infrastructure which has appeared on the map of Katowice and allowed the city to attract international events, such as COP24, the World Anti-Doping Conference or the European Economic Congress, as well as to create an attractive offer of smaller business and cultural events.

In 2022. Katowice will host the 11th edition of the World Urban Forum. The edition held in February 2019 in Abu Dhabi attracted 13,000 participants and 450 speakers from 168 countries and 133 exhibitors.

In 2021, two hotels opened in Katowice: Mercure Katowice City Center and the expanded Hotel Diament Plaza Katowice. Three investments were officially put on hold, but in the case of the Moxy project within Nova Silesia, the investor plans to restart the bidding procedure for the selection of the general contractor next year. Construction of R.evo by the Vienna House chain is scheduled to start in 2022.

***

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Condo market

Despite the lack of clear legal regulations, the Condo investment market (which includes condo hotels, condo apartments and aparthotels) has been developing dynamically, and in recent years it has reached its peak.

In the difficult pandemic period for the hotel industry, investments in nature locations this type are very popular in most countries in Europe, we noticed the growth in these products to be significant.

Where are the most projects located?

The supply of properties in the condo formula takes place mainly in holiday resorts (the coast and the mountains), however there are projects in less apparent places, which are not necessarily closely related to nature. Both investors’ and the hotel chains’ focus on resorts is growing, partly due to the fact verified by the pandemic, that hotels in resorts have done better than the previously favored urban business hotels.

Why do investors choose the condo format?

From the hotel investor’s point of view, choosing a condo formula allows for the funding of the investment, which due to the temporary suspension of financing by banks often becomes the only possible way of completing the project. Additionally, in many cases the sale of rooms/apartments allows the investor to conveniently exit the investment.

How do buyers view the condo market?

For buyers, on the other hand, the purchase of hotel rooms in the condo formula has become extremely popular mainly due to the attractive rate of return offered by investors, compared to the level of market interest rates, and thus bank dividends. Real estate is still perceived as a safe place to invest free funds, savings, especially with high levels of inflation, which grew starting the second half of the year. Buyers are additionally counting on property value growth in the long term. Apart from the pure economic reasons, the appetite for such apartments is also fueled by an increasingly strong trend of returning to nature, the need of escape from the city. This is clearly visible in the exceptional, as for pandemic times, results of the resort hotels. Moreover, many Poles “forced” by the pandemic circumstances to spend their holidays in the country have rediscovered the charm and potential of Poland.

Are all developments likely to succeed?

Whilst there is many new condo- and aparthotel developments, it is easy to determine those that have a great chance of success. Unfortunately, it is also possible to identify projects which might never achieve the desired success if they are ever completed at all in the intended format. This is mainly due to inferior location, poorly thought-out product, lack of adaptation to the local market, as well as overestimation of rents, additionally affected by a dramatic increase in construction costs.

What did apartment buyers expect?

It turns out that besides reputable locations in the most recognizable resort destinations in the country, one of the key factors was the experience of the investor and the hotel operator. This influenced the perception of the project as “safe” and has been of a key importance when choosing an asset to invest capital in. Another key aspect was the contract with guaranteed fixed rent, which many buyers even indicated as a required standard, without understanding pros and cons of such solution, especially in the unpredictable period of the pandemic. We do however see a Hybrid Condo acquisitions which only shares a part of the NOI of the operating Condo business. This gives a much safer format for both participants.

We also notice quality Condo developers now hiring third party hotel operators to insure the post development phase to be a substantiate business for all parties.

How will the condo investment market develop?

In our view, developers will seek to align the product with condo buyers expectations, understanding the coming trend, buyers will be making funds allocation for their investment as long term, and a family inheritance tool.

What are the forecasts?

Given the temporary lack of bank financing for hotel properties, we forecast continued development of condo investments. Demand from individual investors (apartment buyers) will depend mainly on the economic situation. The deciding factors will be the rate of inflation, the level of interest rates, and rates on bank deposits. Those, if they rise, may turn out to be an alternative to invest savings for some more cautious investors.

At the time of preparing this report, several thousand new condo apartments are being built and planned in Poland and we see this sector’s trend as growing in this decade significantly.

***

"These past two years have taught us how to adapt within the pandemic. Some of these changes within our industry includes, how to work from home, conducting our hotel operations with high degree sanitation for our guests and staff. The general managers learned how to reduce costs beyond limits to try to make a GOP at their properties. The Polish banks waited until this past July in getting back to the hotel current owners for serving their parked loans. To state that the last two years has been difficult is an understatement. The known ‘unknowns’ such as restrictions, lockdowns, homeschooling, inflation, interruptions in distribution channels, geopolitical relations, medical development all make it difficult to prognose the future. Globally we all feel overwhelmed, fatigued, and trapped in the conundrum, however the hospitality platform is resilient and always comes back. People need to meet, travel, discover, feel life as worth living. Humans are social creatures, and this will never change. These are the knowns!"

Alex Kloszewski, Hotel Professionals

2022 (OUR BEST GUESS FORECAST)

Poland occupancy for all hotels will be ca. 54 %. We forecast 4,5 % to 5% ADR growth. Most cites in Poland will see the above sentiment. The authors of the report believe that nature and vacation destination venues will surge in performance again.

"2022, will be a much better year, and we believe the beginning of the recovery will be felt by all participants: owners, investors, banks, guests, staff, and our families", they conclude.

***

The entire report in PDF format can be downloaded here.

The following hotel report covers the situation in the hotel market in Poland’s largest cities, and the performance data are based mainly on the results of categorized chain hotels.

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Hospitality revives – in an inhospitable environment

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