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London will be city of M&A growth in hotel sector in 2014

London will be the city of M&A growth in the hotel sector in 2014, according to a report being launched by international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP).

The report presents the views of over 400 hotel industry professionals.
Karen Friebe, BLP hotels group partner and author of the BLP European Hotel Market Survey 2014, unveiled the research at Berlin’s International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF).
The survey found that 97 per cent of respondents are predicting growth in REVPAR in Europe in 2014, with over half citing hotels as having outperformed ‘traditional’ commercial property in the last five years.
Some 76 per cent of respondents believe London will see the most M&A activity in 2014, with Paris following at 49 per cent.  A number of respondents also expect to see an increase in private equity and High Net Worth individuals coming into the sector.
Friebe says: “This is an optimistic outlook for the industry, hence the title of our report – ‘Confidence in a recovering market’. That confidence could time out though, as there is a debate amongst our respondents as to how long the recovery will last. A number of people we spoke to predicted no more than 12-24 months for the current tailwind.
“In addition to the current buoyancy in the European market, we are definitely seeing increased movement in the wider emerging markets, notably Africa and South East Asia. BLP has also seen a surge of capital flows between Europe and the Middle East in the last few years.”
Other strong themes from the report include increasing efforts being made by hotel brands to attract the lucrative Millennials market, the attitude of the hotel sector towards Airbnb and other holiday rental online booking sites and the latest thinking on the impact of TripAdvisor and other online travel agencies (OTAs). Twenty one per cent of those surveyed say that their profits have increased as a result of appearing on TripAdvisor and similar sites. 
The report also contains personal predictions about the hotel market in 2014 and exclusive insights from four hotel sector leaders, from Patron Capital, InterContinental Hotels Group and Lloyds Banking Group.

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