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The findings of this year’s Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey, produced by Lagos-based consultancy W Hospitality Group (http://w-hospitalitygroup.com), show that Hilton is leading the race to develop new hotels in Africa with 7,250 rooms in its pipeline, spread over 29 new properties, 18% up on the previous year. Hot on its heels is Carlson Rezidor, with 6,953 new rooms in development spread across 32 hotels. Marriott is in third place with 6,412 rooms in its pipeline spread over 36 new properties, 22% up on 2014.

If one creates a ranking not by number of rooms but instead by the number of hotels, Marriott would take the top spot with 36 in their pipeline, followed by Carlson Rezidor (owners of Radisson Blu) with 32 and Hilton with 29.

Best Western has 12 new hotels in its pipeline, but the average size of hotel is lower, at 93 rooms, and therefore drops out of the top ten when the pipeline is analysed by number of rooms. Both Kempinski and Fairmont focus on large, luxury hotels (Kempinski with their single brand, and Fairmont developing Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel) and have the largest average number of rooms in the survey.

If, instead of looking at the chains, one looks at individual brands, Carlson Rezidor’s Radisson Blu brand occupies first position in terms of the number of hotels and rooms in its development pipeline. Its sister brand, Park Inn by Radisson, is also in the top 10, whilst the Hilton brand and its “little brother”, Hilton Garden Inn, occupy second and fifth positions respectively. Marriott and Starwood each have two brands in the top ten, with Starwood achieving particularly strong growth for both brands, Sheraton and Four Points.

Marriott leads in presenting a multi-brand offer, with 10 brands available to developers, including four brands included for the first time since its acquisition of Protea last year. This multi-brand approach has become more commonplace as Africa’s markets continue to develop and become mature enough for multiple brands, catering to markets across a broad spectrum. Having led their market entry with their flagship brands, typically at the upscale level, several of the chains are now introducing their midscale and budget brands.
Kempinski has been signing the biggest deals, with an average 324 rooms per hotel, double that of Park Inn, and of all the chains in the survey has the largest hotel project in sub-Saharan Africa, the 451-room Grand Hotel Oyala Kempinski in Equatorial Guinea’s future new capital, Oyala.

The far larger average size of new hotels signed by Hilton, Kempinski and Marriott (Courtyard) is clear from Chart 5 below. Hilton’s and Courtyard’s largest deals are mostly in North Africa:

Hyatt and Kempinski are set to double their African presence through new deals signed, but in percentage terms it is the smaller chains (in terms of African presence) including those focusing purely on Africa, such as City Blue, Onomo and Azalaї, that have the highest percentage increase. Rotana, the Abu-Dhabi based chain, are making rapid inroads into the continent, with eight new hotels in the pipeline, as is Swiss International, with 16 new franchise deals, of which more than half are in Nigeria.

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