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HVS Report – The Rise of Third-Social gathering Resort Operators in Europe

A hotel room
  There’s an growing variety of resort administration firms working lodges throughout Europe. Nevertheless, the depth of in-house sources and scale of operation and expertise can differ broadly.

A overview of third-party operators and the way they evaluate to the at present extra prevalent model operators in Europe.



In broad phrases, there are two sorts of resort administration firms: branded operators and third-party operators.

Branded Operators: Within the case of a model operator, the branding firm can be the administration firm. By signing a contract with a model operator, a resort investor can contract each of those specialised elements of a resort funding in a single settlement, reaping the advantages of a widely known model and skilled administration. The usage of a model operator is historically commonest amongst bigger, full-service lodges.

Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Accor are examples of name administration firms that function lodges along with offering the flag. This association doesn’t suggest, nonetheless, that each one of their properties are operated by the model; for instance, most have each brand-managed properties and franchised properties which are managed by third-party operators or the house owners themselves.

Third-Social gathering Operators: Third-party operators (TPOs) are unaffiliated with the proprietor or the franchise model and are also known as White Label operators within the UK. This enterprise mannequin, which emerged within the USA, has gained vital traction in Europe lately. Within the case of a TPO, house owners might receive branding utilizing a licensing settlement between the proprietor and a resort model. The usage of TPOs has historically been commonest amongst small and mid-sized lodges, particularly for lodges which are restricted service or prolonged keep. Nevertheless, this has advanced lately with many homeowners selecting the companies of the extra skilled and credible TPOs for big company and luxurious lodges.

There’s an growing variety of resort administration firms working lodges throughout Europe. Nevertheless, the depth of in-house sources and scale of operation and expertise can differ broadly. Bigger firms wouldn’t have a single resort model they function; reasonably, they function a broad vary of resort manufacturers.

Chart 1 exhibits the evolution of the variety of lodges and rooms for main TPOs in Europe over the past decade. Since 2012, the variety of each lodges and rooms operated on this pattern grew by roughly 40% and is forecast to develop by an extra 5% by 2025, in line with present bulletins.

Chart 1: Evolution of Third-Social gathering Resort Operators 2012-22 and Forecast Pipeline – Pattern of Main Operators in Europe

Evolution of Third-Party Hotel Operators 2012-22 and Forecast Pipeline – Sample of Major Operators in Europe

Supply: HVS Analysis

Progress of Third-Social gathering Operators Fueled by the Rise in Franchising

During the last twenty years, most branded operators have moved from the operational administration of lodges to concentrate on model improvement and distribution. This has led to an increase in the usage of franchising, whereby the enterprise proprietor can use the franchisor’s model identify, mental property, reservation system and operational help instruments in alternate for paying a franchise price. This drive in direction of franchise fashions by the foremost manufacturers has arguably fuelled the rise in TPOs.

We current a comparability of the proportion of franchise agreements relative to the whole portfolios of among the largest manufacturers in Europe for the interval 2008 to 2022. All the main resort manufacturers analysed elevated the variety of franchised belongings relative to their whole portfolios throughout the interval. While this may increasingly additionally point out the proportional enhance in restricted service and prolonged keep properties, the pattern is evident.

Chart 2: The Proportion of Franchised Motels in Manufacturers’ Portfolios in Europe

The Proportion of Franchised Hotels in Brands’ Portfolios in Europe

Sources: HVS; AM:PM Motels

US Comparability – How A lot Additional Would possibly This Development Develop?

Within the USA, most franchised lodges within the midscale phase and upwards are third-party managed. Texas-based Aimbridge Hospitality, as an illustration, manages greater than 1,500 lodges within the USA, considerably greater than any of the foremost international resort manufacturers and dwarfing the 372 lodges and 61,217 rooms managed by Hyatt Motels, the biggest branded resort firm operator within the area. Highgate alone operates almost 10% of the whole market in Manhattan. HHM has a portfolio of greater than 135 lodges, all third-party-managed impartial and branded lodges. These examples point out the sheer measurement and potential of the TPO mannequin.

We’re of the opinion that different European markets, arguably led by the UK, will emulate the USA in that TPOs will grow to be more and more common shifting ahead.

Australia/New Zealand Comparability

Equally to European markets, lodges in Australia and New Zealand are principally independently operated. Branded resort inventory has elevated markedly within the area lately, nonetheless, and now equates to round 1 / 4 of the resort inventory. Of the branded lodges, a 3rd fall underneath a franchise-model system with the lion’s share being brand-managed. We spotlight the variety of resort administration agreements versus franchises for various resort lessons, primarily based on the variety of properties, within the chart beneath. As may be seen, conventional resort administration agreements proceed to dominate.

Chart 3: Conventional Resort Administration Agreements vs Franchises within the Australian Resort Market

Traditional Hotel Management Agreements vs Franchises in the Australian Hotel Market

Sources: HVS; AM:PM Motels

The TPO mannequin is far much less established in Australia and New Zealand, accounting for lower than 1.0% of whole provide. Given the evolving investor profile within the area and the expansion of TPOs with international attain, we’re prone to see a marked enhance within the TPO mannequin throughout Australia and New Zealand within the coming years. TPOs with an present presence within the area embrace Gatehouse Hospitality, 1834 Motels, La Vie Motels & Resorts and Vista Hospitality Group.

The Benefits of Third-Social gathering Administration

The expansion of third-party agreements displays an elevated want for flexibility from house owners and a recognition that TPOs might drive increased earnings and be extra aligned with proprietor targets. We offer a quick overview of the benefits of such an association within the commentary beneath.

Time period

Competitors between TPOs to achieve entry to new house owners and markets has meant that many are keen to supply shorter phrases than that usually related to model administration. Whereas brand-managed properties usually require a time period of 20-30 years, excluding computerized extension intervals, typical agreements with TPOs are likely to vary from 5-10 years. We have now, nonetheless, seen a lot shorter third-party agreements, with annual contracts often being awarded in turnaround-type eventualities. In our expertise, computerized extension intervals are comparatively unusual in third-party agreements.

Termination Rights

Branded working contracts usually embrace strict, usually expensive, provisions with regard to liquidated damages or termination charges. The strategy of most TPOs, however, is usually extra owner-friendly in terms of the break of the contract, with many such agreements offering house owners with a proper to terminate at a comparatively low value within the occasion of a change of possession. This significantly improves the liquidity of the asset as house owners can appeal to a wider pool of buyers by the prospect of an unencumbered asset.

Horizontal Administration Buildings

In our expertise, company groups growing efficiency projections for TPOs are likely to have direct involvement in operations, with fewer administration ranges between ‘administration contract gross sales’ and on-the-ground groups. In lots of circumstances, these liable for growing annual price range professional formas would be the identical regional operational personnel in the end liable for overseeing efficiency. In brief, this typically improves reliability of projections and accountability for efficiency versus brand-managed operations.

Proprietor Engagement

Conventional model administration agreements include no method for the proprietor to pressure the supervisor to change payroll, apart from in reference to the supervisor’s proposed annual working price range. This could result in misalignment between the proprietor, who might take into account staffing ranges to be overloaded, and the administration, who take into account staffing buildings needed for model requirements. Some third-party agreements that we have now seen embrace month-to-month or quarterly proprietor conferences, with owner-friendly approval rights, whereby house owners are capable of touch upon staffing ranges and/or suggest the elimination of the supervisor when they’re moderately thought-about to be underperforming.

Difficult Model Place

While all events, whether or not TPO or branded operator, worth each model integrity and high quality degree, there are sometimes events when model steering or model customary modifications would impose further restrictions or prices on the proprietor. When TPOs are concerned, there’s the flexibility to problem such steering to make sure that it’s in the very best pursuits of the proprietor and never simply the model.

Additional, in contrast to model managers, TPOs will usually solely have interaction in model initiatives that genuinely enhance the resort’s profitability, not these designed to bolster the power of the model. As well as, whereas model managers will at all times adhere to all model requirements, third-party managers will continuously problem manufacturers and push again when these are deemed excessively expensive.


Charges inside most HMAs have a tendency to include each base and incentive charges. These operator rewards are set towards enterprise efficiency outcomes. The bottom price is usually set towards whole income, and the motivation price towards gross working revenue (GOP) or adjusted GOP (AGOP). The projected mixed whole of those remunerations throughout an working stabilised yr is a essential measure for the operator, usually set towards a predetermined minimal worth.

The bottom price is mostly thought-about as the essential price for the availability of the model worth. That is the operator’s value of sources in help of the supervision of the resort administration staff and is usually charged as a share of whole resort income (internet after VAT). It usually ranges from 2% to 4% in brand-managed agreements and from 1% to three% in TPO agreements.

The inducement price is taken into account a reward for efficiency, designed to encourage administration to manage working prices and be extra aware of profitability. The inducement price is usually scaled inside bands of share GOP. These bands are usually within the vary of 6% to 10% of GOP/AGOP in brand-managed agreements and 5% to eight% in TPO agreements.

Along with the above, particular person charges and system costs inside model agreements serve to materially enhance price funds to operators. Such charges usually cowl companies comparable to head workplace/cluster value allocations, accounting and audit prices, software program and help licences, journey prices and advertising and marketing prices. These prices are usually streamlined or absent from most TPO agreements.

While the usage of a TPO usually implies further total charges, as administration charges are payable along with franchise charges on branded properties, third-party operators would declare that enhanced income efficiency and streamlined operational efficiencies greater than tip the steadiness of their favour.

Concentrate on Worth

Traditionally, HMAs have repeatedly demonstrated that house owners and branded administration firms can have conflicting expectations with regard to their respective roles, tasks and targets. While each model managers and TPOs search to maximise income and profitability, TPOs are sometimes moreover focussed (and sometimes compensated) on the worth of the proprietor’s funding. This has led to a number of TPOs widening the scope of their companies, appearing as an advocate of the proprietor in contract negotiation with manufacturers. In lots of circumstances, the scope of third-party involvement can prolong to asset administration, funding administration and design and development consultancy sorts of roles, partaking with not simply house owners however wide-ranging stakeholders.

In some circumstances, we have now seen TPOs keen to contribute ‘sliver fairness’ to a resort improvement venture, repositioning or newly acquired asset, thereby decreasing the developer’s must contribute fairness. Equally, the notion of ‘sweat fairness’ in third-party administration agreements has elevated in recognition lately. Operators could also be keen to alternate decrease headline charges for a share of the fairness launched at exit. This can be within the type of a sale or refinance. On this construction, the pursuits of the operator and the proprietor grow to be extra aligned on the worth of the asset in addition to underlying earnings.

Operational Benefits

There isn’t any clear pattern within the capacity of TPOs to out-perform branded managers in terms of operational efficiency. Nevertheless, some bigger TPOs do profit from operational benefits. Much less restricted by model dogma and steering, TPOs can react extra rapidly to altering macro and property-specific situations. This contains endeavor impartial income methods (apart from model cluster pricing) and selecting (as a franchisee) which model programmes to take part in. This entrepreneurialism permits some operators to say overperformance relative to conventional model administration.

Equally, we have now seen circumstances whereby branded operators are solely capable of enter into provide contracts or subleases which meet model approval. In distinction, many TPOs will provide competitively priced contract procurement that’s applicable for the resort in query. TPOs may additionally be required to account to the proprietor for any reductions or advantages it receives in order that they are often priced into budgets or handed onto the proprietor. These provisions might assist keep away from the proprietor being overcharged for companies.

UK Case Examine – RBH Hospitality Administration

RBH Hospitality Administration is a number one third-party resort administration firm within the UK. The group has a 20-year observe file, having efficiently operated greater than 190 lodges and 26,000 bedrooms. It’s a key companion for IHG, Accor, Marriott and Hilton, but additionally has intensive expertise of working impartial lodges. The group provides a significant capital staff in-house which has overseen the venture administration and technical help of fifty new-build lodges and 14 resort rebrands. As well as, the group supplies asset administration companies to house owners, together with advising on capital expenditure initiatives supported by the operator’s design and improvement staff. The group has expertise of materially growing asset worth by such initiatives.

RBH has a lot of examples of efficiently transitioning lodges from direct model administration to franchise. One such instance concerned the transition of greater than 20 giant lodges beforehand managed by a model. Most of the lodges have been reliant on MICE enterprise and lots of had in extra of 300 visitor rooms. By means of a complete cost-saving plan, the operator elevated annual EBITDAR by greater than £14 million, representing a 5% enhance in margin. The operator additionally achieved a notable enhance in visitor satisfaction over the identical interval. The operator’s marketing strategy may be summarised into three key areas.

Payroll and Staffing

  • A complete overview of payroll enabled a restructuring of key departments, offering larger effectivity with out impacting visitor expertise;
  • Key payroll bills have been saved upon transition with greater than £800,000 of financial savings in model journey and subsistence cross costs;
  • Implementation of RBH coaching programmes, motivating and enthusing staff members which improved engagement and, subsequently, productiveness.


  • By implementing RBH processes and procedures, from visitor provides by to HR accounting modifications, vital financial savings have been recognized. Many of those financial savings have been larger than initially anticipated by the renegotiation of present provider relationships and bulk-buying energy, given the elevated RBH portfolio measurement;
  • New key efficiency indicator (KPI) targets have been launched for all lodges, which resulted in materials financial savings in linen, printing and stationery, meals and beverage, worker relations {and professional} companies charges.

Income Administration

  • By means of RBH’s business management staff, the group recognized quite a few ADR alternatives throughout the portfolio;
  • The RBH Central Gross sales staff refocussed the enterprise combine throughout the portfolio, focussing on elevated contribution from extra worthwhile company teams and incentives on the expense of present lower-rated company contracts with last-room availability. Because of this, within the first 12 months of managing the portfolio, RevPAR throughout the portfolio elevated by 4.5%.

Labored Instance

Within the following desk, we take into account the impression of a revenue and loss account underneath brand-managed and TPO eventualities. For the needs of this evaluation, we have now assumed a 200-room midmarket resort in a regional UK market.

Underneath the brand-managed situation, we have now assumed a base administration price of three.0% of whole income and an incentive price of 8.0% of AGOP (GOP after the bottom administration price). For the TPO situation, we have now equally thought-about typical price preparations, assuming a base administration price of 1.5% of whole income and an incentive price equating to six.0% of AGOP. As well as, as a part of the third-party situation, we have now accounted for a franchise price of 6.0% of rooms income and a pair of.0% of non-rooms income. We have now additionally accounted for potential value financial savings as mentioned all through this text throughout the TPO situation.

As may be seen, this instance displays the next revenue margin underneath the TPO than the brand-managed situation. While that is offered as an indicative instance solely, it does replicate our expertise of profitability underneath each eventualities.

We have now not mirrored any potential revenue-enhancement measures throughout the TPO situation. Nevertheless, these might embrace initiatives comparable to optimised yield administration by a full property administration system (PMS) improve, elevated flexibility to revamp and enhance meals and beverage ideas and/or any profit from entry to present TPO company contracts. Additional, further value measures such because the renegotiation of FF&E inside a possible franchise association have additionally not been mirrored.

Chart 4: P&L Comparability – Hypothetical 200-Room Midmarket Resort

P&L Comparison – Hypothetical 200-Room Midmarket Hotel

Supply: HVS


Some great benefits of HMAs are effectively understood. Equally, their pitfalls have additionally been effectively documented. While the pendulum of bargaining energy has swung towards house owners over current years, the selection of operator shouldn’t be clear reduce.

It may be argued that the basic focus of manufacturers stays the model’s success, and that this could battle with the pursuits of homeowners. The growing recognition of third-party managers is, in our view, because of the perceived alignment of pursuits, particularly relating to asset worth and profitability. Nevertheless, completely different house owners and properties require various responses. Understanding the tradition, capabilities, scale of in-house sources and expertise of every group is essential to making sure these priorities which are most crucial to the success of an proprietor’s particular funding’s wants. A few of these elements might embrace native market information, venture part (underneath development, open, mature), and asset kind, amongst others.

Third-party managers shouldn’t be perceived as solely a competitor to resort chains – certainly, they are often complementary. Owing to their shut relationship with franchisors, and the relative flexibility of the franchise mannequin, impartial administration firms have grow to be key to growing relationships between manufacturers and resort house owners on a big scale. This pattern is simply prone to enhance shifting forwards, with an increase within the variety of credible and established TPOs.

The content material of this text is meant to supply a common information to the subject material. Specialist recommendation needs to be sought regarding your particular circumstances.

About Nikola Miljković

Nikola Miljković is a Senior Affiliate with the HVS London workplace. Earlier than becoming a member of HVS, Nikola gained resort operational expertise in London and Zagreb. He holds a Bachelor’s diploma in Tourism and Resort Administration from VERN’ College in Zagreb and a Grasp’s diploma in Hospitality Enterprise with a specialisation in Actual Property and Finance from Glion Institute of Increased Schooling. His predominant tasks at HVS embrace valuations of single belongings and resort portfolios, feasibility research, and market analysis throughout the EMEA area. For additional info, please contact: [email protected].

About Jon Critchley

Jon Critchley, MRICS is a director at HVS Hodges Ward Elliott. He’s a professional Chartered Surveyor and has 15 years’ expertise in the true property trade, specializing in the resort sector for over a decade. He has beforehand held senior positions at Avison Younger, Knight Frank and CBRE. Having labored on single belongings, resort portfolios and improvement initiatives all through EMEA, Jon has suggested on effectively over €20 billion of hospitality belongings and buy-side advisory initiatives within the final decade. For extra info, contact: [email protected].

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