Accor, Orbis eye Romania growth

Swissôtel Bucharest
Romania's first Swissôtel will have 225 rooms across 18 floors. Photo credit: Accor

Strategic partners Paris-based Accor and Poland-based Orbis Hotel Group are casting eyes on Romania, looking to reach a portfolio of more than 20 hotels in the country with 1,450 guestrooms by 2022.  

Currently, the two companies have 11 hotels operating throughout the country under Accor brands, with another 10 in development. Last year, Orbis acquired the Mercure Bucharest Unirii for €11 million and earlier this year, Accor sealed a deal to open the first Swissôtel in Romania following the signing of a management contract with local partner and investor Business Hotels Investment, a member of the Niro Investment Group. With a reported investment of approximately €60 million, the project is due to open by 2021 and will become Bucharest’s tallest hotel.

At the time of the Swissôtel deal, Frank Reul, head of development for Eastern Europe at Accor, said Romania is a "quickly developing, very attractive market with huge potential and very good yields," with strong domestic demand for hospitality services from both locals and international visitors. 

Accor praised the "attractive yields" Romania offers hotel investors, noting the "low-risk profile and relatively high liquidity" of its market, especially compared to western Europe.

"Romania’s rising popularity and attractiveness for international hotel brands is fueled by positive economic perspectives of the country, by its rich history, beautiful nature and rich culture around food and wines," said Reul. "The competition [in] the hospitality market is growing and it’s part of the game but we’re happy to see that more and more local and international investors decide to work with one of the Accor brands.”  

Accor and Orbis

Accor's relationship with Orbis goes back more than 45 years. In 2000, the French hospitality giant acquired a 20-percent stake in Orbis, and acquired more than 50 percent of the shares eight years later. Last year, Accor announced plans to take Orbis' remaining shares for 1.9 billion zlotys ($501 million), a strong sign of the company’s interest in Central and Eastern Europe.

At the time, Accor Chairman/CEO Sebastien Bazin noted the company has been Orbis' largest shareholder for almost 20 years, and the deal would help Accor accelerate its development in the region and further implement its active asset-management policy.  

The Orbis Hotel Group portfolio currently has more than 130 hotels with almost 21,000 rooms and is the sole licensor of all Accor brands in 16 countries across Eastern Europe.

Co-working Collaboration

Accor and Orbis also are working to cater to growing "co-working" demand as a facet of hospitality. Accor has been investing in this space since 2017 as part of a joint venture with Bouygues Immobilier through the NextDoor product, which was renamed Wojo in March. The Wojo co-working concept comes in three modules: Wojo Spots (a light version of co-working spaces for hotels), Wojo Corners and Wojo Sites (standalone co-working concepts). 

Wojo already is established in France and development plans will open 1,200 Wojo spaces in Europe by the end of 2020. Accor expects some Wojo spaces established in Bucharest.