5 October 2017 – Expansión
Axel Hotels, the gay-oriented hotel chain, has just opened its first hotel in Madrid together with HI Partners, the subsidiary of Banco Sabadell, and is now preparing to enter new markets in Europe, as well as branch out into the United States of America.
The firm, founded in 2003 by Juan Julià with its first hotel in Barcelona, has almost doubled in size in the last year, from four hotels to seven and from a turnover of €16 million in 2016 to €23.5 million, the forecast full-year figure for 2017.
Currently, the group has a presence in Barcelona, Berlin, the Canary Islands, Ibiza and Madrid and it expects to close four new projects this year.
“We are analysing the East Coast of the USA, which is currently our largest source market, as well as France, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy”, explains the President and founder of Axel, Juan Julià, to Expansión.
Specifically, the group’s expansion plans include adding ten more hotels to its portfolio over five years and reaching a turnover of €70 million by the end of that period.
Last year, the company welcomed the investment firm Aristaeus into its share capital; that firm, which is a subsidiary of Global Investment Holdings, injected €11 million and now controls a 35% stake. “In theory, we are not planning to receive any new investors. The contribution from our shareholder will allow us to open one or two hotels in first-rate cities and with the cash generated from those, we will have the resources necessary to strengthen our growth”.
Julià is also open to strengthening its relationship with HI Partners, with which it has signed a management agreement for the new hotel in Madrid. Located at number 49 Calle Atocha, this building, converted into a hotel, has 88 rooms and Sabadell’s subsidiary invested €9 million on its launch. To supply the gastronomic offer, the hotel restaurant has engaged Grupo Iglesias, owner of Rías de Galicia.
Axel’s business model includes closing rental and management agreements with the owners of hotels and implementing its “hetero-friendly philosophy”. “This is a niche business with great potential and we do not have any real competitors. According to data facilitated by LGTB Capital, gay tourism generates more than €6,300 million in Spain, almost 40% more than business tourism. It is a public that travels four times more and that also spends more than its heterosexual counterparts”, he explains.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake