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

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

A evaluation of third-party operators and the way they evaluate 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 also be the administration firm. By signing a contract with a model operator, a resort investor can contract each of those specialised elements of a resort funding in a single settlement, reaping the advantages of a well known model and skilled administration. The usage of a model operator is historically most typical amongst bigger, full-service resorts.

Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Accor are examples of name administration corporations that function resorts 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-Celebration 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 vital traction in Europe lately. Within the case of a TPO, house owners could receive branding utilizing a licensing settlement between the proprietor and a resort model. The usage of TPOs has historically been most typical amongst small and mid-sized resorts, particularly for resorts which might be restricted service or prolonged keep. Nonetheless, this has advanced lately with many house owners selecting the companies of the extra skilled and credible TPOs for big company and luxurious resorts.

There’s an rising variety of resort administration corporations working resorts throughout Europe. Nonetheless, the depth of in-house sources and scale of operation and expertise can range extensively. Bigger corporations should not have a single resort model they function; moderately, they function a broad vary of resort manufacturers.

Chart 1 exhibits the evolution of the variety of resorts and rooms for main TPOs in Europe over the past decade. Since 2012, the variety of each resorts and rooms operated on this pattern grew by roughly 40% and is forecast to develop by an extra 5% by 2025, in accordance with current bulletins.

Chart 1: Evolution of Third-Celebration 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

Development of Third-Celebration Operators Fueled by the Rise in Franchising

Over the past 20 years, most branded operators have moved from the operational administration of resorts to deal with model growth and distribution. This has led to an increase in using franchising, whereby the enterprise proprietor can use the franchisor’s model title, mental property, reservation system and operational assist instruments in trade for paying a franchise payment. This drive in direction of franchise fashions by the main manufacturers has arguably fuelled the rise in TPOs.

We current a comparability of the proportion of franchise agreements relative to the overall portfolios of a number of 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 complete portfolios throughout the interval. While this will additionally point out the proportional enhance in restricted service and prolonged keep properties, the development is obvious.

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 Pattern Develop?

Within the USA, most franchised resorts within the midscale section and upwards are third-party managed. Texas-based Aimbridge Hospitality, as an illustration, manages greater than 1,500 resorts within the USA, considerably greater than any of the main world resort manufacturers and dwarfing the 372 resorts and 61,217 rooms managed by Hyatt Resorts, the most important branded resort firm operator within the area. Highgate alone operates practically 10% of the overall market in Manhattan. HHM has a portfolio of greater than 135 resorts, all third-party-managed impartial and branded resorts. These examples point out the sheer dimension 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 grow to be more and more in style transferring ahead.

Australia/New Zealand Comparability

Equally to European markets, resorts 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 resorts, a 3rd fall below 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 complete provide. Given the evolving investor profile within the area and the expansion of TPOs with world attain, we’re more likely to see a marked enhance within the TPO mannequin throughout Australia and New Zealand within the coming years. TPOs with an current presence within the area embrace Gatehouse Hospitality, 1834 Resorts, La Vie Resorts & Resorts and Vista Hospitality Group.

The Benefits of Third-Celebration Administration

The expansion of third-party agreements displays an elevated need for flexibility from house owners and a recognition that TPOs could drive increased earnings and be extra aligned with proprietor goals. We offer a quick 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 prepared to supply shorter phrases than that usually related to model administration. Whereas brand-managed properties sometimes require a time period of 20-30 years, excluding automated extension durations, typical agreements with TPOs are likely to vary from 5-10 years. Now we have, nonetheless, seen a lot shorter third-party agreements, with annual contracts often being awarded in turnaround-type situations. In our expertise, automated extension durations are comparatively unusual in third-party agreements.

Termination Rights

Branded working contracts sometimes embrace strict, usually pricey, provisions with regard to liquidated damages or termination charges. The method of most TPOs, however, is usually extra owner-friendly with regards to 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 traders by way of the prospect of an unencumbered asset.

Horizontal Administration Buildings

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 circumstances, these accountable for creating annual finances professional formas would be the similar regional operational personnel finally accountable 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 drive the supervisor to change payroll, aside from in reference to the supervisor’s proposed annual working finances. This may result in misalignment between the proprietor, who could contemplate staffing ranges to be overloaded, and the administration, who contemplate staffing buildings needed for model requirements. Some third-party agreements that now we have 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 removing of the supervisor when they’re fairly thought-about to be underperforming.

Difficult Model Place

While all events, whether or not TPO or branded operator, worth each model integrity and high quality stage, there are sometimes events when model steering or model normal modifications would impose further restrictions or prices on the proprietor. When TPOs are concerned, there’s the flexibility to problem such steering to make sure that it’s in the most effective pursuits of the proprietor and never simply the model.

Additional, in contrast to model managers, TPOs will sometimes solely have interaction in model initiatives that genuinely enhance the resort’s profitability, not these designed to bolster the energy of the model. As well as, whereas model managers will all the time adhere to all model requirements, third-party managers will often problem manufacturers and push again when these are deemed excessively pricey.


Charges inside most HMAs have a tendency to include each base and incentive charges. These operator rewards are set towards enterprise efficiency outcomes. The bottom payment is usually set towards complete income, and the inducement payment towards gross working revenue (GOP) or adjusted GOP (AGOP). The projected mixed complete of those remunerations throughout an working stabilised 12 months is a vital measure for the operator, usually set towards a predetermined minimal worth.

The bottom payment is usually thought-about as the fundamental payment for the supply of the model worth. That is the operator’s price of sources in assist of the supervision of the resort administration workforce and is usually charged as a proportion of complete resort income (internet after VAT). It sometimes ranges from 2% to 4% in brand-managed agreements and from 1% to three% in TPO agreements.

The motivation payment is taken into account a reward for efficiency, designed to inspire administration to regulate working prices and be extra aware of profitability. The motivation payment is usually scaled inside bands of proportion GOP. These bands are sometimes 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 prices inside model agreements serve to materially enhance payment funds to operators. Such charges sometimes cowl companies equivalent 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 sometimes streamlined or absent from most TPO agreements.

While using a TPO usually implies further general 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 stability of their favour.

Deal with 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 goals. 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 circumstances, the scope of third-party involvement can prolong to asset administration, funding administration and design and building consultancy sorts of roles, partaking with not simply house owners however wide-ranging stakeholders.

In some circumstances, now we have seen TPOs prepared to contribute ‘sliver fairness’ to a resort growth venture, repositioning or newly acquired asset, thereby decreasing the developer’s have to contribute fairness. Equally, the notion of ‘sweat fairness’ in third-party administration agreements has elevated in reputation lately. Operators could also be prepared 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 grow to be extra aligned on the worth of the asset in addition to underlying earnings.

Operational Benefits

There isn’t a clear development within the capacity of TPOs to out-perform branded managers with regards to 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 situations. This consists of enterprise impartial income methods (except for 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, now we have seen circumstances 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 applicable 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 observe report, having efficiently operated greater than 190 resorts and 26,000 bedrooms. It’s a key accomplice for IHG, Accor, Marriott and Hilton, but in addition has in depth expertise of working impartial resorts. The group presents a serious capital workforce in-house which has overseen the venture administration and technical assist of fifty new-build resorts 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 growth workforce. The group has expertise of materially rising asset worth by way of such initiatives.

RBH has a lot of examples of efficiently transitioning resorts from direct model administration to franchise. One such instance concerned the transition of greater than 20 massive resorts beforehand managed by a model. Most of the resorts have been reliant on MICE enterprise and lots of had in extra of 300 visitor rooms. Via a complete cost-saving plan, the operator elevated annual EBITDAR by greater than £14 million, representing a 5% enhance in margin. The operator additionally achieved a notable enhance in visitor satisfaction over the identical interval. The operator’s marketing strategy could be summarised into three key areas.

Payroll and Staffing

  • A complete evaluation of payroll enabled a restructuring of key departments, offering larger 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 prices;
  • Implementation of RBH coaching programmes, motivating and enthusing workforce members which improved engagement and, subsequently, productiveness.


  • By implementing RBH processes and procedures, from visitor provides by way of to HR accounting modifications, vital financial savings have been recognized. Many of those financial savings have been larger than initially anticipated by way of the renegotiation of current provider relationships and bulk-buying energy, given the elevated RBH portfolio dimension;
  • New key efficiency indicator (KPI) targets have been launched for all resorts, which resulted in materials financial savings in linen, printing and stationery, meals and beverage, worker relations {and professional} companies charges.

Income Administration

  • Via RBH’s business management workforce, the group recognized quite a few ADR alternatives throughout the portfolio;
  • The RBH Central Gross sales workforce refocussed the enterprise combine throughout the portfolio, focussing on elevated contribution from extra worthwhile company teams and incentives on the expense of current lower-rated company contracts with last-room availability. Because of this, within the first 12 months of managing the portfolio, RevPAR throughout the portfolio elevated by 4.5%.

Labored Instance

Within the following desk, we contemplate the impression of a revenue and loss account below brand-managed and TPO situations. For the needs of this evaluation, now we have assumed a 200-room midmarket resort in a regional UK market.

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

As could be seen, this instance displays a better revenue margin below the TPO than the brand-managed situation. While that is offered as an indicative instance solely, it does mirror our expertise of profitability below each situations.

Now we have not mirrored any potential revenue-enhancement measures inside the TPO situation. Nonetheless, these could embrace initiatives equivalent to optimised yield administration by way 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 current TPO company contracts. Additional, further 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


Some great benefits of HMAs are properly understood. Equally, their pitfalls have additionally been properly documented. While the pendulum of bargaining energy has swung towards house owners over current years, the selection of operator shouldn’t be clear reduce.

It may be argued that the basic focus of manufacturers stays the model’s success, and that this could battle with the pursuits of householders. The rising reputation of third-party managers is, in our view, as a result of perceived alignment of pursuits, particularly relating to asset worth and profitability. Nonetheless, completely different house owners and properties require various responses. Understanding the tradition, capabilities, scale of in-house sources and expertise of every group is essential 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, venture section (below building, 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, impartial administration corporations have grow to be key to creating relationships between manufacturers and resort house owners on a big scale. This development is barely more likely to enhance transferring forwards, with an increase within the variety of credible and established TPOs.

The content material of this text is meant to supply a basic information to the subject material. Specialist recommendation must 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 Larger Schooling. His most important 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: nmiljkovic@hvs.com.

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 growth initiatives all through EMEA, Jon has suggested on properly over €20 billion of hospitality property and buy-side advisory initiatives within the final decade. For extra data, contact: jcritchley@hvshwe.com.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles