New research by W Hospitality Group, a founding member of Hotel Partners Africa, places Carlson Rezidor at the head of the race to open new hotels in Africa.
The annual Pipeline survey of the major international and African hotel chains reveals that more are opening in Africa in 2014 and they are growing their resource base in order to take advantage of the strong economies on the continent.
The survey is of 27 international hotel chains, with 60 brands between them, competing in Africa, with Carlson Rezidor and Hilton Worldwide out in front by a significant margin, each with over 6 000 rooms in development.
Marriott International is next, followed by Starwood, Mangalis and IHG.
Of the international chains, Starwood had the largest percentage increase, up 39% year-on-year, with developments planned in eight countries, four more countries than in 2013.
Marriott also recorded a strong increase, 34% up on last year.  Mali-based Azalaï has plans to become a dominant regional player, increasing its development pipeline with five more hotels and 679 more rooms compared to 2013.
A new entrant to the survey and to the African market, Mangalis, has stormed into the top 10 rankings.
Of its 15 Noom and Seen hotels, with 2 210 hotel rooms in the pipeline, 11 are reported to be on site and scheduled to open between 2014 and 2016.
Louvre Hotels Group, which has three hotel brands in Africa – Royal Tulip, Golden Tulip and Tulip Inn – reports that all of its projects are on site and that all but one are scheduled to open in 2014.
Having a closer look at the individual brands of those hotel chains, Radisson Blu and its sister brand, Park Inn by Radisson, occupy the first and third positions by number of hotels.
However, the rankings of the two brands individually, slip to the second and fourth positions, when considering the actual number of rooms planned, overtaken by Hilton and Marriott, with larger properties.
Future outlook
Trevor Ward, managing director, W Hospitality, believes that the chain hotel pipeline in sub-Saharan Africa will continue to grow and that more international players will enter the market.
This is because there is such a shortage of quality hotel accommodation in Africa.
This research was conducted before Marriott completed its acquisition of South Africa-based Protea so it will be interesting to see how this will change the market in Africa – in particular if Hilton, Carlson Rezidor and other international chains will follow Marriott’s example and seek to grow by acquisition,” he said.
Jonathan Worsley, chair of Bench Events, organiser of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) where this report will be discussed, says the main story of these findings is that more and new international hotel chains are seeking to play in Africa despite a relatively difficult operating market compared to Europe or China.
“It demonstrates that Africa, and especially the relatively untapped sub-Saharan Africa, is now being considered by the international investment community to offer attractive commercial returns,” he said.