HVS Report – The Rise of Third-Get together Resort Operators in Europe

  There’s an rising variety of resort administration corporations working lodges throughout Europe. Nonetheless, the depth of in-house sources and scale of operation and expertise can differ broadly.

A assessment of third-party operators and the way they examine to the presently extra prevalent model operators in Europe.



In broad phrases, there are two sorts of resort administration corporations: 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 parts 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 brand name administration corporations that function lodges along with offering the flag. This association doesn’t indicate, nonetheless, that each one of their properties are operated by the model; for instance, most have each brand-managed properties and franchised properties which might be managed by third-party operators or the house owners themselves.

Third-Get together Operators: Third-party operators (TPOs) are unaffiliated with the proprietor or the franchise model and are sometimes called White Label operators within the UK. This enterprise mannequin, which emerged within the USA, has gained important traction in Europe lately. Within the case of a TPO, house owners could get hold of 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 might be restricted service or prolonged keep. Nonetheless, this has developed lately with many homeowners selecting the companies of the extra skilled and credible TPOs for big company and luxurious lodges.

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

Chart 1 reveals 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 accordance with present bulletins.

Chart 1: Evolution of Third-Get together 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-Get together Operators Fueled by the Rise in Franchising

Over the past 20 years, most branded operators have moved from the operational administration of lodges to give attention to 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 assist instruments in trade for paying a franchise charge. This drive in the direction of franchise fashions by the most important manufacturers has arguably fuelled the rise in TPOs.

We current a comparability of the proportion of franchise agreements relative to the overall portfolios of among the greatest manufacturers in Europe for the interval 2008 to 2022. The entire main resort manufacturers analysed elevated the variety of franchised property relative to their whole portfolios throughout the interval. While this may occasionally additionally point out the proportional improve in restricted service and prolonged keep properties, the development is evident.

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

The Proportion of Franchised Hotels in Brands’ Portfolios in Europe

Sources: HVS; AM:PM Resorts

US Comparability – How A lot Additional May 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 most important world resort manufacturers and dwarfing the 372 lodges and 61,217 rooms managed by Hyatt Resorts, the biggest branded resort firm operator within the area. Highgate alone operates almost 10% of the overall market in Manhattan. HHM has a portfolio of greater than 135 lodges, all third-party-managed unbiased 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 change into more and more in style 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 courses, primarily based on the variety of properties, within the chart under. As could 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 Resorts

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 world attain, we’re prone to see a marked improve 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 Resorts, La Vie Resorts & Resorts and Vista Hospitality Group.

The Benefits of Third-Get together Administration

The expansion of third-party agreements displays an elevated need for flexibility from house owners and a recognition that TPOs could drive greater earnings and be extra aligned with proprietor targets. We offer a short overview of the benefits of such an association within the commentary under.

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 automated extension durations, 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, automated extension durations are comparatively unusual in third-party agreements.

Termination Rights

Branded working contracts usually embrace strict, typically expensive, provisions with regard to liquidated damages or termination charges. The method 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 price within the occasion of a change of possession. This significantly improves the liquidity of the asset as house owners can entice a wider pool of buyers by means of the prospect of an unencumbered asset.

Horizontal Administration Constructions

In our expertise, company groups creating 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 instances, these liable for creating annual funds professional formas would be the similar 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 comprise no approach for the proprietor to pressure the supervisor to change payroll, aside from in reference to the supervisor’s proposed annual working funds. This may result in misalignment between the proprietor, who could take into account staffing ranges to be overloaded, and the administration, who take into account staffing buildings essential for model requirements. Some third-party agreements that we’ve got seen embrace month-to-month or quarterly proprietor conferences, with owner-friendly approval rights, whereby house owners are in a position to touch upon staffing ranges and/or suggest the elimination of the supervisor when they’re moderately thought of 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 commonplace modifications would impose extra restrictions or prices on the proprietor. When TPOs are concerned, there’s the power to problem such steering to make sure that it’s in one of the best pursuits of the proprietor and never simply the model.

Additional, in contrast to model managers, TPOs will usually solely interact 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 steadily 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 in opposition to enterprise efficiency outcomes. The bottom charge is usually set in opposition to whole income, and the inducement charge in opposition to gross working revenue (GOP) or adjusted GOP (AGOP). The projected mixed whole of those remunerations throughout an working stabilised yr is a vital measure for the operator, typically set in opposition to a predetermined minimal worth.

The bottom charge is usually thought of as the fundamental charge for the availability of the model worth. That is the operator’s price of sources in assist of the supervision of the resort administration staff and is usually charged as a proportion of whole resort income (web after VAT). It usually ranges from 2% to 4% in brand-managed agreements and from 1% to three% in TPO agreements.

The motivation charge is taken into account a reward for efficiency, designed to inspire administration to regulate working prices and be extra acutely aware of profitability. The motivation charge is usually scaled inside bands of proportion 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 expenses inside model agreements serve to materially improve charge funds to operators. Such charges usually cowl companies akin to head workplace/cluster price allocations, accounting and audit prices, software program and assist 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 typically implies extra 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.

Give attention to Worth

Traditionally, HMAs have repeatedly demonstrated that house owners and branded administration corporations can have conflicting expectations with regard to their respective roles, obligations and targets. While each model managers and TPOs search to maximise income and profitability, TPOs are sometimes moreover focussed (and infrequently compensated) on the worth of the proprietor’s funding. This has led to a number of TPOs widening the scope of their companies, performing as an advocate of the proprietor in contract negotiation with manufacturers. In lots of instances, 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 instances, we’ve got seen TPOs keen to contribute ‘sliver fairness’ to a resort improvement undertaking, repositioning or newly acquired asset, thereby lowering the developer’s have to contribute fairness. Equally, the notion of ‘sweat fairness’ in third-party administration agreements has elevated in recognition lately. Operators could also be keen to trade decrease headline charges for a proportion 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 change into extra aligned on the worth of the asset in addition to underlying earnings.

Operational Benefits

There isn’t any clear development within the skill of TPOs to out-perform branded managers in terms of operational efficiency. Nonetheless, 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 circumstances. This consists of enterprise unbiased income methods (other than model cluster pricing) and selecting (as a franchisee) which model programmes to take part in. This entrepreneurialism permits some operators to assert overperformance relative to conventional model administration.

Equally, we’ve got seen instances whereby branded operators are solely in a position to enter into provide contracts or subleases which meet model approval. In distinction, many TPOs will supply competitively priced contract procurement that’s acceptable 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 could 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 monitor document, 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 in depth expertise of working unbiased lodges. The group provides a significant capital staff in-house which has overseen the undertaking administration and technical assist of fifty new-build lodges and 14 resort rebrands. As well as, the group gives 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 rising asset worth by means of such initiatives.

RBH has quite 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 way of a complete cost-saving plan, the operator elevated annual EBITDAR by greater than £14 million, representing a 5% improve in margin. The operator additionally achieved a notable improve in visitor satisfaction over the identical interval. The operator’s marketing strategy could be summarised into three key areas.

Payroll and Staffing

  • A complete assessment of payroll enabled a restructuring of key departments, offering higher 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 expenses;
  • 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 means of to HR accounting modifications, important financial savings have been recognized. Many of those financial savings have been higher than initially anticipated by means of 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 way 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. Consequently, 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 influence of a revenue and loss account underneath brand-managed and TPO eventualities. For the needs of this evaluation, we’ve got assumed a 200-room midmarket resort in a regional UK market.

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

As could be seen, this instance displays a better revenue margin underneath the TPO than the brand-managed state of affairs. 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 inside the TPO state of affairs. Nonetheless, these could embrace initiatives akin to optimised yield administration by means of 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, extra price 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


The benefits of HMAs are nicely understood. Equally, their pitfalls have additionally been nicely documented. While the pendulum of bargaining energy has swung towards house owners over latest years, the selection of operator shouldn’t be clear minimize.

It may be argued that the elemental focus of manufacturers stays the model’s success, and that this will battle with the pursuits of householders. The rising recognition of third-party managers is, in our view, because of the perceived alignment of pursuits, particularly relating to asset worth and profitability. Nonetheless, totally different house owners and properties require various responses. Understanding the tradition, capabilities, scale of in-house sources and expertise of every group is vital to making sure these priorities which might be most important to the success of an proprietor’s particular funding’s wants. A few of these elements could embrace native market information, undertaking section (underneath development, open, mature), and asset sort, 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, unbiased administration corporations have change into key to creating relationships between manufacturers and resort house owners on a big scale. This development is barely prone to improve shifting forwards, with an increase within the variety of credible and established TPOs.

The content material of this text is meant to supply a normal 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 Training. His predominant obligations at HVS embrace valuations of single property and resort portfolios, feasibility research, and market analysis inside the EMEA area. For additional data, 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 actual property business, 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 property, resort portfolios and improvement initiatives all through EMEA, Jon has suggested on nicely over €20 billion of hospitality property and buy-side advisory initiatives within the final decade. For extra data, contact: [email protected].

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