On unknown paths - Continuation

Thoughts on hotel investments in the future.

In 2021 the Munich Oktoberfest was canceled for the second time in a row. This never happened for over 70 years. So far, the reasons have been wars and their consequences, the galloping inflation of the 1920s and cholera. Corona is a turning point of similar dimensions for social and economic life.

Before that, almost nine million people traveled to the Bavarian capital each year and led to an average hotel occupancy of 75 percent. The 6.3 million Oktoberfest visitors alone generated income of 500 million euros for the hotels. In 2020, sales in the hotel industry in Munich collapsed by a total of 47.5 percent. With this in mind, you don't have to be a fan of the “Wiesn” to understand the importance of the current cancellation of the world's largest festival. And Munich is just a particularly colorful and prominent example of the crisis that we are at the beginning of and the climax of which is probably still to come.By now, at the latest, it should be clear to everyone that the hotel industry can no longer carry on as it used to. However, the alternatives and new possibilities have long been open to us, and some of them are already being implemented. And they have nothing to do with the virus, but go hand in hand with a profound change in the economy, technology and society. In order to be able to take advantage of the resulting opportunities, one must first understand the “hotel” business model and then put it in a new context in a second step. Hotel can be defined as an offer for a temporary stay in furnished rooms, supplemented by numerous services. The boundaries between hotels and private living, but also for the commercial use of real estate, will become more and more fluid in the future.

An example of this brings us back to Munich. When the coaching star Pep Guardiola moved to Bayern Munich, he first bought an apartment in the Lehnbach Gardens. This luxury quarter, built in 2005, with offices, apartments and the 5-star hotel "The Charles" of the Rocco Forte Group has a special feature - only known to the initiated. The noble apartments of the "Max Palais" not only have their own concierge service, which offers the discerning residents services like in a hotel and fulfills almost all of their individual wishes. The house is also connected to the swimming pool and spa area directly, safely and securely protected from the view of the public via an underground corridor. These facilities are for exclusive use for the residents. Live in your own walls, but with the amenities of a hotel - this concept was implemented consistently and at the highest level with the Max Palais in Lehnbach Gardens. And it found its customers, as a second or third home as well as for busy personalities with a corresponding financial background, as in the case of Pep Guardiola.Another business model that is enjoying increasing popularity – positioned between hotels and private living - is the “long stay” concept. As the name suggests, these are longer stays by guests lasting from several weeks to several months. These serviced apartments are of course fully furnished and mostly also equipped with a cooking facility. Although they are used privately, the occasion is almost exclusively professional. This hybrid model of hotel and private living addresses to leading managers or professional athletes who have no place to stay in their new place of business, consultants for temporary projects or other people with a very mobile professional life. One example is the Luxury Loft of the traditional Augsburg Hotel Drei Mohren (today: Maximilians). This serviced apartment is located about 300 meters from the actual hotel on the top floor of a listed building on Fuggerplatz and offers everything you need to relax and enjoy on 260 square meters and a roof terrace. The concept of the boarding house is very similar. IT specialists, senior engineers, craftsmen, fitters or stand builders will find furnished temporary accommodation here to oversee their respective project on site. The prices and thus the equipment are, however, at a significantly lower level, as they are often charged to the client as expenses. Boardinghouses have the advantage that they are part of the business under license law and can therefore also be operated in areas dedicated to business.

Among the target groups for such business models positioned in the triangle of work, private and hotel, the term digital nomads has emerged in recent years. These are people who only need a laptop, a phone and a good internet connection to work. With the digitization of the last 20 years, this group of people has not only increased noticeably. The programmers, web designers, content developers, consultants, influencers or journalists have also discovered the freedom to work anywhere in the world. And they are now making ample use of it. This also offers hotels new opportunities. The first signs of this could already be seen in autumn 2020, i.e. during the respite after the first lockdown. Hotels in the Canary Islands that were not a risk area actively advertised this target group with the good argument that you could perfectly combine work and vacation in this way. Dubai immediately initiated an extensive YouTube campaign for its tourism industry to highlight the advantages of mobile work and its advantages in the desert state. The life and work model of “digital nomads” is likely to become more attractive, due to the broad experience with home office during the corona lockdowns. Employee departments of large corporations have already been concerned with how they can get tax and insurance law issues under control when their employees work abroad. Employers are interested in higher employee satisfaction and the cost savings through office space. Employees look forward to more flexibility and freedom. And hotels, with the right orientation, can benefit from this trend.

In addition to professional life, there will also be increased future demand for hotel-like accommodation and services in the life phase before and after. Lately, many student residences have been built with modern furniture that means there is no need for time-consuming relocations or the purchase of initial equipment. Hotel-like services could also be inexpensively integrated into the overall concept with a reduced concierge offer and supported by appropriate IT equipment. Something similar is happening when it comes to living in old age. Elderly people need significantly less living space (which in some cases they can no longer afford), but more support with their lifestyle. No permanent care, but special services that increase in importance with age: shopping, support with IT questions, household-related services such as cleaning living spaces, receiving mail, physiotherapy, outpatient care, food deliveries , Chauffeur services and much more can be done by a concierge or arranged or integrated into the structure as a facility. Here, too, are opportunities for mixed forms between hotel and private living in a special area.A project developer and customer of HotelInvest takes a completely different path. He does not specialize in a particular user target group, but rather combines supposedly opposing requirements and needs into a symbiosis. The concept consists of a neighborhood solution that brings young and old people back together and counteracts social isolation. The districts not only have age-appropriate apartments with innovative, digital security solutions, but also a diverse range of services, local supplies and health options adapted to size and needs. Classic old people and nursing homes are thus largely superfluous and are only reserved in the event of complete need for care. As one of the largest private property portfolio holders in Germany, Switzerland and England, this Family Office not only develops the quarters, they always remain 100% owned by the investing family. This ensures sustainable and high-quality planning and construction. For these projects, locations are sought in the vicinity of cities with at least 100,000 inhabitants in Bavaria and Austria and with sizes of at least 10,000 sqm.(You can find the exact requirements profile here).

Even older hotel properties have a chance for a profitable future in times of change given the conditions mentioned.