|Milan, Italy - Upscale hotel market.|
Tuesday, 10th July 2012
Source : Liliana Ielacqua & Sophie Perret
Milan is one of the key hotel markets in Italy, attracting both commercial and leisure travellers and given recent concerns over the Italian economy and the political upheaval, Milan could be considered a good indicator of the true strength of the Italian economy.
In this article we present recent tourist visitation trends in the Milan market and consider the upscale hotel performance for the last three years. We also present our performance forecast up to 2016 and discuss the current values of hotels in Milan.
Since 2003 domestic arrivals have registered a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5% with the highest increase in 2009 (12%) followed by a contraction of 4% in 2010.
International arrivals have constantly increased at an average of 3% per annum between 2003 and 2007 and, after declining by 3% in 2008, have registered a growth of 6% and 11% in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The proportion of domestic and international arrivals has remained practically unchanged since 2003 at a well balanced 50% each.
This demonstrates a strong and stable market which has proven to be resilient against the global economic downturn.
The total number of bednights grew by 1.8% between 2003 and 2010, mainly driven by a growth in international visitors while domestic bednights remained unchanged.
The average length of stay also remained unchanged over this period, at around 2.0 nights for both domestic and international travellers.
Figure 2 shows that total arrivals varied between different hotel categories; between 2007 and 2010 four‐ and five‐star hotels registered a combined CAGR of 4.6%, three‐star hotels of 0.9% while other hotel categories registered a decrease of 1.0%. This suggests a strong and growing demand for five‐star and luxuryaccommodation.
In 2010, arrivals from two of the main source countries, Japan and the UK, decreased compared to 2003, while arrivals from the USA and from emerging countries such as China and Russia tripled over the same period (albeit from a comparatively small base).
Foreign visitation to Milan has further diversified since 2003, as demand from various other regions – notably Central and Eastern Europe, Brazil, Australia and the Middle East – picked up. This demand still remains proportionally small, nevertheless. It does, however, demonstrate the wide appeal of the Milanese market.
More importantly, this diversification should provide further stability and increased demand going forward. Figure 3 shows the key changes from 2003 to 2010.
Demand Trend – Luxury Segment
Despite being mainly a business‐driven destination, Milan has shown a certain resilience to the global economic downturn in terms of hotel demand.
Demand for luxury and upscale hotel accommodation in the city has remained stable at an average of approximately 3 million arrivals between 2005 and 2008, reaching a total of approximately 3.5 million in 2009, an increase of almost 12.0%. Available data show an increase in overall arrivals at Milanese hotels of almost 6.0% in 2010.
Demand for hotel accommodation remained stable in Milan between 2004 and 2008 with a 9.0% increase in 2009.
Statistics available for Italy in the first eight months of 2011 also show a positive growth trend, albeit moderate, with an
increase in bednights of approximately 2.0% over the same period in 2010.
The seasonality of demand, depicted in the following graph, shows that domestic and international demand follow a similar trend although with some more pronounced drops in the summer for the domestic market and during the winter for the international demand.
As illustrated in the graph, Milan experiences the expected seasonality trend for a city that is the financial and business centre of the country, with high demand from February to June and from September to November.
Although domestic demand decreases during the summer season due to the slowdown in business activity, international leisure demand ensures that the level of arrivals remains at reasonable levels throughout July and August.
The total number of hotel rooms in Milan increased by 2% to approximately 38,300 between 2007 and 2010. For comparison, Rome has 47,000 rooms, Paris 77,000 and London 90,000. This increase is mainly driven by an increase of 19% in the four‐star category while the five‐star category was stable at around 1,900 rooms. Lower hotel categories registered a decrease of approximately 15%.
Consequently, the share of four‐star rooms has increased from 44% to almost 56.6% whilst the three‐star and other categories experienced decreases in rooms inventory of around 6% and 23%, respectively.
With the strong and steady visitor growth and the new source countries, the existing five‐star supply might not be sufficient for future demand.
In summary, demand across the market has risen by approximately 12% and supply by 2% for the period of 2007 to 2010. Demand in the luxury segment over the same period grew by almost 17%.
Supply Trend ‐ Luxury Segment
In regards to Supply, there had been no hotels added to this segment in recent years, but this changed in 2010 and further new supply is expected until 2014. New openings in 2010 included the 63‐room boutique hotel Maison Moschino (opened in March), the 250‐room Radisson Blu (opened in April) and the 62‐room Hotel Milano Scala (opened in July).
November 2011 saw the opening of the 78‐room second Armani Hotel (the first one being in Dubai). New supply in the fivestar and luxury market will continue over the next few years with the expected openings of the 76‐room W Milan (third quarter of 2012), the 104‐room Mandarin Oriental (end of 2012) and the 137‐room InterContinental Duomo (beginning of 2014). In addition, after being closed for renovation for two and a half years, the Grand Hotel Gallia is expected to re‐enter the market with 240 rooms at the beginning of 2013.
Such an increase of new supply to a reasonably static market will take some years to absorb, but given the increasing demand it should result in a strong market.
Recent and Forecast Upscale Hotel Performance
Our analysis takes into account the historical performance of a sample of upscale hotels in Milan totalling approximately 2,000 rooms. We analysed occupancy and average rate performance between 2009 and 2011. The additions to the room inventory have been considered in our forecast and are expected to have an impact on occupancy levels as well as on average rate growth.
Figure 8 illustrates the historical and forecast projections for the defined competitive market.
Even though average rate is not yet back to 2008 values, overall luxury hotel performance in Milan for 2011 showed clear signs of growth in occupancy and consequently RevPAR.
After decreasing in 2009, the growth of nearly 10% in both
occupancy and rate achieved in 2011 has resulted in an increase of approximately 18% in RevPAR.
Occupancy is forecast to decrease from 2012 to 2014 owing to the impact of new supply entering in the market while average rate is forecast to constantly increase. This results in RevPAR decreasing in 2012 and 2013 when the decrease
in occupancy is not offset by the increase in rate.
We note that the EXPO taking place in Milan between May and October 2015 is expected to have a positive effect on both occupancy and average rate in that year.
We consider a few more years will be necessary for the market to absorb the new supply expected to enter the market between 2011 and 2014.
Current and Future Values
As detailed in our European Hotel Valuation Index report (see Figure 9), the combination of hotel performance and investment appetite for the Milan market resulted in an increase in values per room of almost 4% in 2011, after four years of decreases in value.
Milan was therefore ranked as ninth in the 2011 European Valuation index at €286,100 per room.
Italy, in general, is relatively modest in terms of volume of transactions.
In 2011 no meaningful transactions were registered. There are approximately 33,000 hotels in Italy, but few of these even come into the radar of international investors as they are mainly owned by wealthy families who seldom put them on the market.
The constraints of the physical inventory might pose an additional challenge to international hotel operators. Lastly, the complexities of the fiscal and legal framework in Italy might pose, to some degree, a further barrier to entry.
We note, however, that three hotels are currently for sale in the suburban area of Milan: the 436‐room Crowne Plaza Milan Linate, the 142‐room Holiday Inn Linate and the recently refurbished 203‐room Holiday Inn Assago.
Milan is an established international market driven mainly by business demand, which nevertheless also attracts a share of leisure tourism, mainly for high‐end shopping purposes.
Although the pipeline of new supply, with almost 560 rooms in the upscale segment, is forecast to have a short‐term negative impact on market‐wide occupancy levels, the market is expected to recover by 2016, and to continue to hold its privileged position as Italy’s financial and fashion capital.
If the Milan hotel market is an indicator of the Italian economy as a whole, there would be a slow, steady recovery and growth due to strong demand from existing and new markets. We’re sure many Italian politicians and investors could accept that!
About the Authors
Liliana Ielacqua is an associate at HVS Consulting & Valuation in London. Originally from Italy, Liliana joined the company in 2008 after completing her Masters degree in Real Estate Finance and Investment at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Since joining HVS, she has conducted several feasibility studies, valuations and market research studies across Europe, and has written market and industry‐related articles on several Italian markets.
+44 20 7878 7754
Sophie Perret is an associate director at the HVS London office. She joined HVS in 2003 following ten years’ operational experience in the hospitality industry in South America and Europe. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sophie holds a degree in Hotel Management from Ateneo de Estudios Terciarios, and an MBA from IMHI (Essec Business School, France and Cornell University, USA). Since joining HVS, she has advised on hotel investment projects and related assignments throughout the EMEA region. Sophie is currently pursuing an MSc in Real Estate Investment and Finance at Reading University.
+44(0) 20 7878 7722