Town Hall of Madrid Approves Legislation to Close 10,000+ VUTs

27 March 2019 – El País

On Wednesday, the Town Hall of Madrid approved a special plan to regulate the licences required to operate tourist apartments (“viviendas de uso turístico” or VUTs).

To obtain a licence, a VUT must now have a separate access from the other homes in the building, which means, in practice, that 95% of the establishments of this kind in Madrid will have to close. More than 10,000 VUTs will be affected, according to municipal calculations. The legislation applies to those properties defined as VUT by the Community of Madrid, which are effectively those that are leased for 90 days or more per year.

The new legislation, which was supported by Ahora Madrid and the PSOE, will enter into force within the next few days. Non-compliance will trigger a process to cease the activity in that property, like in the case of a bar operating without a licence, rather than the imposition of a fine.

It was in January 2018 that the Town Hall of Madrid established that VUTs – homes that are leased for three months or more – represent an economic activity and, therefore, require a licence. At the same time, a moratorium was declared on the granting of licences whilst the new legislation was drafted, which has now been approved.

The impact on the more than 40,000 reservations that have been made in accommodation of this kind for the Gay Pride celebrations in July 2019 is far from clear.

Original story: El País (by Gloria Rodríguez-Pina)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Apple Leisure Group Debuts in Spain with its Purchase of a Majority Stake in Alua Hotels

23 January 2019 – Revista 80 Días

The US group is one of the largest managers of accommodation in the Caribbean. This purchase allows it to enter the vacation segment and the European market.

Apple Leisure Group (ALG), one of the largest hotel investors in the USA, has acquired a majority stake in the share capital of Alua Hotels and Resorts, the hotel group founded in 2015 by its main executives and the private equity fund Alchemy Partners. The amount of the purchase has not been revealed, although the joint operating result of the chain’s main hotels amounted to €6 million in 2017. Given that the properties are located in areas with high tourist demand and good forecasts, the amount of the operation could have exceeded €40 million, based on the multiples that are typically used for this type of transaction.

With this acquisition, ALG is entering the European market through the sun and beach holiday segment. And it is doing so in a country such as Spain, which receives more than 80 million tourists per year in search of that kind of offer. Alua Hotels has 11 hotels located in Mallorca, Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Tenerife, together with an apartment building in Ibiza.

In total, ALG will manage more than 3,000 4-star hotel rooms, focused on the type of tourist who wants a superior service to that usually found in the average accommodation establishments in beach areas. The US company is planning to undertake more acquisitions in the European market and has announced that it wants to become a reference player in the main destinations in the Mediterranean (…).

Apple Leisure Group is one of the most important investment conglomerates in tourism in the USA. It used to be owned by the investment fund Bain Capital (…), which sold it in 2017 to the funds KSL Capital Partners and KKR for an undisclosed sum. (…). According to data from the conglomerate, it manages 14 brands and handles more than 3.2 million passengers per year (…). Its turnover exceeds USD 3 billion per year (…).

Original story: Revista 80 Días 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Beds for Tourists on Costa del Sol Grew by Almost 20% during YTD August

10 October 2018 – Diario Sur

At a time when international tourism demand is cooling, the supply of beds in regulated tourist accommodation, in other words, in hotels, apartments, campsites, country houses and tourists apartments, grew by almost 20%  in Málaga during the 8 months to August, according to a report about the Tourist Situation on the Costa del Sol. Behind this significant increase is the boost from holiday rental homes, which caused the volume of establishments to skyrocket by almost 50% during the first eight months of the year. In other words, during this period, 9,500 new businesses to house tourists have been put on the market, which have added 52,431 beds so far this year. With this rise, the Costa del Sol now has the capacity to accommodate 321,374 visitors each day, whilst in August 2017, that figure amounted to 291,000.

These figures warn of a greater dynamism in the registration of properties destined to travellers during the peak months of the summer. And a report compiled by Costa del Sol Tourism about the evolution of the supply of accommodation in that destination shows that during the six months to June, the number of beds grew by 10% and the number of businesses grew by 25%. The destination ended the first half of the year with a supply of 26,424 tourist establishments with the capacity to house 308,288 visitors. Sources at Costa del Sol Tourism highlight that, during that period, the highest growth in beds was seen in rental homes dedicated to tourists, which saw an increase of 26,154 beds to reach a total of 112,294, up by 30.4%. They were followed by rural houses, with 1,744 new beds taking the total supply to 12,952, up by 15.6%; and apartments, with 1,002 new beds out of a total of 58,670 on offer, up by 2%.

The boom in holiday rentals has resulted in a complete transformation of the supply of accommodation along the Costa del Sol, in such a way that, nowadays, tourist homes account for the highest volume of beds, followed by hotels and apartments, accounting for 36.4%, 29.5% and 19%, respectively. The Director-General of Costa del Sol Tourism, Arturo Bernal, highlighted that holiday rentals “are a reality of the tourist sector that we must strengthen ties with”, urging people to work towards full regulation of the whole accommodation supply and to offer high-quality accommodation.

Original story: Diario Sur (by Pilar Martínez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Splendom Suites Opens More Luxury Apartments in Madrid

25 January 2018 – Expansión

Splendom Suites – a group specialising in the management of luxury tourist establishments – has opened a new high-end apartment building in the centre of the Spanish capital and is looking for new opportunities to grow in Spain through the purchase, management and rental of hotel accommodation in the country.

Splendom Suites, which was created more than a decade ago with its first property in Barcelona, has just opened a new establishment in Madrid, 450 m from Puerta del Sol. Specifically, 11th Príncipe by Splendom Suites is located at number 11 Calle de Príncipe.

The new apartment complex is located in a building that dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. It has a surface area of 1,700 m2, spread over six floors and houses 36 family apartments of varying formats containing 124 beds in total.

The company has invested €900,000 in the repositioning of this property – owned by four individual shareholders – including the refurbishment of the façade.

Plans

The group, which ended last year with turnover of €3 million, forecasts revenues of €5 million in 2018.

“We are in the middle of a growth phase. We are looking for buildings that fit with our business model in Madrid and Barcelona, where we already have a presence, and in other tourist capitals like Málaga, for example”, explains Santiago Torras, co-founder and director of the group.

Hotel services

Currently, the company manages three luxury tourist apartment buildings in Barcelona and Madrid. All of its accommodation options offer hotel services. Specifically, Splendom Suites opened Grandom Suites in Barcelona in 2006. That establishment contains 45 beds and is located in Plaza del Doctor Letamendi.

The firm arrived in Madrid in 2013, with Splendom Suites Gran Vía. That property has 94 beds and is located at number 5 Calle San Onofre.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: Hotel Prices Up By 17.7% So Far This Year

16 August 2016 – El Economista

The price of hotels and other accommodation increased by 17.7% during the first seven months of 2016, according to data published by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Nevertheless, prices in those establishments fell by 2.4% in July compared with the same month last year, after they had increased by 3.7% compared with the previous month.

On the other hand, the price of air transport in Spain decreased by 3.8% in July compared with the same month in 2015. Meanwhile, air travel prices increased by 5.2% with respect to June and by 6.7% cumulatively during the seven months to July.

In terms of road transport, prices rose by 0.4% in July compared with July 2015. With respect to June, those prices remained stable (0.0%) and rose slightly (+0.1%) cumulatively during the year to date.

Meanwhile, the price of railway transport rose by 0.3% in July compared with the same month in 2015. There was no change in railway prices compared with the previous month, and during the seven months to July 2016, the increase amounted to 0.1%.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Málaga Accounts For 53% Of Andalucía’s Holiday Homes

11 December 2015 – La Opinión de Málaga

The province of Málaga may account for more than half of the supply of holiday homes for rent in the autonomous region of Andalucía – specifically, 53% – at least, that is according to the calculations performed by the international firm Homeaway. The company is one of the market leaders in a segment that is causing a lot of controversy at the moment, with hoteliers, through groups such as Exceltur, accusing its participants of unfair competition given that they operate in a legal vacuum and are not subject to tax charges. The spokesman for Homeaway in Spain, Joseba Cortázar, who was speaking at a conference about the collaborative economy held yesterday in the Andalucía Lab de Marbella, said that the region, which has 14,600 properties advertised on its website (7,800 in Málaga) accounts for 16% of its total holiday rental supply in Spain (around 88,000 properties). Homeaway, together with Airbnb and Niumba, is one of the most representative companies in this sector, accounting for almost a quarter of all activity in Spain.

Homeaway, which cites that the Costa del Sol is one of its main markets, says that, at the global level, rented holiday homes have generated an economic impact of €793 million in Andalucía over the last two years, of which €761 million was spent on leisure and food during visitors’ stays, “impacting directly on businesses in the region”. The data is presented in a report compiled for the company by the Marketing Department of the University of Salamanca. In its conclusions, it says that rented holiday homes “are not competition, but are actually complementary to hotels, given that 81% (600,629) of the 740,000 visitors (resident in Spain and aged between 18 and 65) who leased tourist accommodation in Andalucía during the last two years, also stayed in hotels and only 19% (140,088) exclusively leased holiday home accommodation.

Homeaway’s report also says that the people who rented both holiday homes and hotels for leisure and holidays are the ones who take the most trips per year (6.57 times), a higher number than those that have stayed in a holiday home in Andalucía at least once in the last two years, independently of whether they have complemented their stay with nights in a hotel (5.84 times). According to this data, families (47%), couples (28%) and groups of friends (23%) are the main users of holiday homes in the autonomous region, whilst couples (49%) and families (34%) are most prevalent in hotels, with groups of friends taking a smaller share of the market (10%). For Homeaway, the report demonstrates the “complementarity” of the two accommodation types.

Cortázar did acknowledge that holiday homes in Andalucía are still in a “lawless” situation given the lack of specific regulation beyond that afforded by traditional rental guidance. (…).

On the flipside, Exceltur published a study in Málaga a few weeks ago, which showed that holiday homes do not represent a complementary offer, but rather are an invasive, substitute product, which offer no real capacity to attract new or different tourist besides the ones who typically use regulated hotels and apartments. Exceltur indicated that the majority of the visitors opting for that formula do so primarily for price reasons (…). Its report also denies that holiday homes can be defined as part of the collaborative economy: only 7% of homes advertised on digital platforms – the real driver behind the sector – involve free exchange and are offered in return for no payment. The rest, according to Exceltur, represent “a huge business”.

Original story: La Opinión de Málaga (by José Vicente Rodríguez)

Translation: Carmel Drake