A ranking of European hotel groups for 2005 revealed this week that French chain Accor is still the biggest player in the EU market.
The group added an extra 9,000 bedrooms to its portfolio last year, strengthening its position as Europe's largest hotel group by a significant margin.
Results published by MKG Consulting, which monitors 6,000 corporate chain hotels in Europe, shows that Accor now has 2,159 hotels with 235,205 bedrooms - up 3.9% on 2004. This is substantially more than the second-ranking group, Best Western, which has 1,126 hotels and 73,455 bedrooms.
Marriott International suffered a dramatic drop of 35% last year, nearly halving its hotel portfolio from 280 in 2004 to 144, losing 16,079 bedrooms. This was due to the company giving up its holdings in Ramada International to Cendant last October.
Hotel consultant Melvin Gold said: "Accor is the largest player by far, but its portfolio is especially significant in France and Germany, where it is the largest player in each market. It will no doubt be keen to see its portfolio grow in other EU countries to similar levels."
MKG's results also showed that Whitbread's acquisition of the Premier Lodge budget hotel chain for just over £500m, heralding the fusion of its Travel Inn brand into Premier Travel Inn, made it the biggest economy hotel group in the UK. The brand is now sixth in Europe, with 27,678 bedrooms.
CAPTION: Accor's Novotel London West hotel