Ibis, the international hotel brand under the ownership of Accor, has spread its net to include 1600 properties in over 55 countries after a complete rebranding and refurbishment last year. Originally opened in 1954 in Bordeaux, as of 2013 Ibis is now the largest hotel brand in Europe, offering customers a choice of Ibis Standard, Style, or Budget. Ibis prides itself on being an affordable, chic place to stay close, if not central, to the city centre.
It is the budget hotel business that is booming at the moment. One only has to look at the success of Premier Inn and the ever-expanding Travelodge to realise this, the two having left the likes of the Hilton in their wake. Ikea’s recent announcement that they plan to collaborate with the US Marriot group in opening 50 Moxy hotels by 2014 cements the fact. Further, although this sort of lower-end expansion has been more usual to Europe, Asia caught wind of developments and began seriously implementing accommodation for the more financially restricted traveller, also.
Indeed, thanks to the recession, gone are the days when the majority of leisure travellers would unthinkingly pay more than £100/night for a room. Of course, the top-end hotels in cities such as London still ask around treble this, but it is the budget chains that are cashing in on the average person’s need for a one or two night stay for a price which enables them to enjoy the location in which they’re staying, rather than being confined by their wallets to the purchased room.
As Rob Morgan of Bloc Hotels has said, “Customers are making an intelligent choice, rather than looking for a purely budget driven offer.” Certainly, Bloc Hotels is truly budget. For example, it doesn’t have a restaurant, electing rather to be centrally located, so that ‘around the bloc’ can be found eateries of a superior quality to that which could be possible in a cheaper hotel. The client benefits, the hotel benefits, and the local area benefits, too.
Another chain which takes this idea further is Tune Hotels, which itself takes a cue from easyJet airlines (and now, indeed, easyHotels), in that customers pay for every individual item that they might need beyond the obvious essential of a literal room (or flight). Under this premise, Tune can advertise rooms from £25/night because items such as a towel, a hairdryer, a TV, and even a window are priced as extras.
However, Accor wants its Ibis portfolio to retain its own renowned quality at the same time as offering affordability. Whilst Ibis Budget cuts back on essentials like 24-hour reception (not windows!), Ibis Standard serves breakfast from 4am to midday, and offers soundproofed and Wi-Fi-connected rooms. Recently, throughout the three ranges, all beds were replaced with new bases and mattresses, even pillows and duvets. Certainly, such attention to detail, in addition to the lauded colour schemes and suitability for families, have helped to make this company – deservedly – a market leader in travel accommodation in 2013. Rabbits love it…