Rooms with more than just a view

The clear strategy defined by
Barcelona to develop as a quality
tourist destination is successfully
seeing a continuing flow of creative
developments and international investment,
says Xavier Junquera at Baker & McKenzie.

Barcelona continíºa
reforzando su reputación
internacional como destino
turí­stico de alta calidad,
por lo que sigue habiendo
la necesidad de un
desarrollo inmobiliario,
sobre todo dentro del
sector hotelero de lujo,
afirma Xavier Junquera, de
Baker & McKenzie.

Sin
embargo, la evidente
competitividad en el
mercado está forzando al
sector a idear nuevas
estrategias y más
creativas, para atraer no
sólo a clientes potenciales
sino también a las
empresas hoteleras y a
los operadores del sector.

'The policy to reserve the symbolic
locations of the city only for internationallyrated
hotel establishments is clearly paying
dividends. Among others, the next few years
will see a Mandarin Oriental, Raffles Hotel
and Four Seasons open in Barcelona.'

Nonetheless the city does not yet come close
to meeting either the current or predicted
demand for hotel space, says Junquera.

'There
remains therefore considerable interest among
chains in managing hotels in the city – under
lease or operating agreements – and from
investors in purchasing symbolic buildings that
can be adapted to the needs of major
international chains.'

But despite such demand the hotel sector
has not however proved immune to the
prevailing caution within the banking sectors,
he notes. Nonetheless, the long-term prospects
of quality developments can open up
alternative sources of finance, including
project finance initiatives, and through unit
sales.

'Another way to obtain alternative
financing channels is by means of
condominium hotels, by which individual
rooms are acquired by private investors, who
assign the operation to a prestigious chain in
order to obtain annual profits.'

It is a model, he says, that has proved
successful in urban and coastal areas across
the US and Caribbean and which has now
arrived in Barcelona. The dramatic rise in
competition within the Spanish hotel sector in
recent years is prompting greater creativity,
towards the guest profiles being targeted and
in how businesses operate.

'Companies are adapting both their hotel
and guest services towards niches, while also
evolving the 'ownership' concept: by selling
the individual units, the shares in the
company that owns the hotel, or by assigning
specific rights of use to each hotel unit – there
is a constant drive for imagination.'

Rooms with more than just a view

Garcia-Sicilia

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