International Brands in Negotiations with Croatian Hotels

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Well-known international brands are looking to expand to Croatian market.

In order to expand their portfolio, but also to compensate for losses suffered due to geopolitical situation in parts of Europe and Africa, hotel management companies have significantly loosened strict conditions of cooperation with hotel owners in the last few years, reports on February 12, 2017.

Instead of traditional management contracts, the companies are ready to offer franchise agreements which are slightly cheaper and allow more freedom to hotel owners, while at the same time they allow hotels to take advantage of various benefits, such as loyalty programmes or the introduction of higher prices. In such circumstances, in the past year there has been an increased pace of negotiations between some of the leading hotel companies and Croatian hotels.

Croatia currently does not have a lot of international hotel brands, with the majority of hotels being part of local brands. At the same time, hotels are faced with growing competition from once neglected private accommodation sector, which has become the main rival to the so-called budget hotels, thanks to websites such as Airbnb.

This accommodation segment can very soon expect new regulations to be introduced, given the demand from visitors to know what they can expect in their apartments. In the hotel sector, particularly popular are lifestyle hotels, a special kind of hotels which offer high level of service and personal approach.

However, there are those who do not think that franchise agreements are a good solution. For example, Paul Pisani from Corinthia Hotels said that his group did not want to offer franchise agreements because they wanted to protect the prestige of their brand and the high quality which guests expect from them.

Jason Wischhoff, who is in charge of introduction of four lifestyle hotel brands of the Dream Hotels in major cities across Europe and Africa, pointed out that his group was seeking different kind of hotel owners. “We are looking for new trends and owners who want to bring their hotels to a whole new level of service. Luxury hotels in the world are uniformed, and recently I was in a famous hotel in New York where I waited for a meeting and no one even asked me if I wanted coffee”, said Wischhoff.

Emphasizing the importance of the lack of regulation in the sharing economy in many destinations, Darren Blanchard from Carlson Rezidor admitted that in Zagreb he was staying in an Airbnb apartment, just like he did in Budapest a few days earlier. “I have to praise Zagreb since I had to give the landlord a copy of my passport so that he could register me, while in Budapest I did not have to submit anything and obviously I was not registered”, said Blanchard, who added that the categorization of private accommodation sector was just a matter of time.


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