As of 2013, it seems the place to go for an affordable weekend break or business stopover is an Ibis hotel.
Ibis, owned by the Accor group, is now the largest hotel brand in Europe, having undergone extensive rebranding and refurbishment last year. Further, it currently seems to be competing with heavyweights Premier Inn and Travelodge in the race for best budget hotels.
With 1600 locations in over 55 countries, Ibis is now split into three different ‘sub-brands’ (Ibis Standard, Style, and Budget) and, outside Europe, is prominent in South and Central America, the Asia-Pacific and Africa.
Indeed, Ibis’s 100th hotel was the 332-room Bengaluru Techpark in India and the largest hotel in Asia-Pacific as a whole is Ibis’s Bandung hotel in West Java, which opened only last year and boasts 606 rooms. With 60% of the hotel market now of budget level in China, it is no wonder that a large part of Ibis’ expansion has been in the Asia-Pacific, another 550-room property having opened in Hong Kong Central West last year also.
Analysts predict that in just over a decade 26% of UK hotels will be budget level. It is thus undeniable that cheaper hotels are the way forward. This is what recession-weary customers want and Accor has realised that, even though Ibis is mid- to low-range, clients still expect the quality associated with the parent company. Compared with truly cheap hotels like Bloc (which has no restaurant, sending guests down the street instead) and Tube (which charges for absolutely any extra to the room, including towels and windows), Ibis’ descending graduation is a dream. From Standard’s 24-hour reception and 4am to midday breakfast, through Style’s ‘pizzazz, pep and personality’, to Budget’s promise of a simple ‘good night’s sleep’, every range aims to make the guest feel they’re still getting that ‘hotel’ kind of experience, even at a reduced price nearing B&B or hostel proportions.
Additionally, what makes an Ibis hotel stand out is its urban centrality, not succumbing to the tendency of some budget brands to state proximity to a city centre and then involve a rather lengthy commute in. Further, inclusive of last year’s refurbishment, the majority of beds throughout the three ranges had their bases, mattresses, pillows and duvets replaced so that, across the spectrum, an Ibis customer can have a universal quality of snooze.
With the ability to fly now as easy as driving or other terrestrial public transport, there is no longer any reason why travellers should later come across difficulty when choosing accommodation, all because of the price tag. EasyJet thought this and launched easyHotels. Ibis saw this, and split itself into three, though with a better design eye than easyHotels’ brand colour, orange.
Why should we be asked to pay a small fortune for a short stay? Yet, many top-end hotels still do, in cities worldwide. Brands like Ibis offer quality at a wallet-happy rate and, as Ibis knows, at the end of the day it’s the bed that really counts.