How Marriott and IHG Will Grow in Europe

Skift Take

Today’s podcast looks at hotel expansion in Europe, cautious flight plans in the Middle East, and Accor’s India ambitions.

Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, April 16. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Marriott and IHG have each announced plans to add 100 hotels to their portfolio in Europe, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

Marriott said it would add those roughly 100 properties by the end of 2026 through hotel conversions — deals where the owner of an existing hotel assumes a new brand affiliation — or converting existing buildings into hotels. Marriott already has more than 800 properties in Europe. 

As for IHG, the company is planning to team up with Novum Hospitality, one of Germany’s largest family-run hotel groups, to add a little more than 100 hotels to its footprint in Germany.   

Next, several major airlines are still taking a cautious approach to operating flights in the Middle East following Iran’s attack against Israel this weekend, writes Airlines Editor Gordon Smith. 

While the European Union Aviation Safety Agency said there’s currently no overflight risk for civil aviation, some airlines are extending route cancellations and diversions. Virgin Atlantic said on Monday it’s temporarily avoiding the airspace of Iraq, Iran and Israel, resulting in some flights from the UK to India being adjusted. 

Meanwhile, the Lufthansa Group said its flights to Lebanon and Iran will remain suspended until at least Thursday. 

Finally, Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin sees enormous room for growth in India. India Reporter Bulbul Dhawan delves into the reasons for Bazin’s optimism.

Bazin described India, where the company operates 62 hotels, as an untapped market. He noted that the top five hotel operators in India collectively have less than 1,000 hotels compared to 25,000 in China. In addition, Dhawan cited India’s rapidly growing middle class — a 2024 Skift Megatrend — as another reason for Bazin’s belief that business in India will boom. 

Bazin also said he saw a lot of potential in India’s secondary and tertiary cities, which are home to roughly 1 billion people. 

Presenter/Producer: Jose Marmolejos

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