A number of new hotel brands will enter the European market in the coming years, operators revealed at the conference.
Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) announced plans to take three of its North American brands to Europe in a planned 1,000-hotel expansion.
Tom Keltner, president of brand performance and development group at HHC, told delegates that the company planned to roll out its Hampton Inn, Garden Inn and Doubletree brands into Europe over the next decade.
"Looking at the Hilton estate in Europe, we need to have different price points, and we believe that we can bring our different brands over here and make them perform," he said.
"This is the first time in 47 years that Hilton is a truly global player, and our challenge is to take eight brands and to differentiate them from the competition and within themselves."
Arne Sorenson, president of Continental European lodging at Marriott International, said that the company was also looking to grow its hotel brands in Europe. "We have about 100-110 hotels open on the Continent, but we have probably only scratched the surface," he said.
Sorenson said that Marriott was now largely a hotel management business, and this change in its financial model had removed some of the barriers to expanding its brands in Europe.
Both executives said that slower economic growth in Europe in recent years was the main reason why the leading brands have not penetrated the European hotel market in the same way as they had in Asia and North America.
By James Garner