One of my favourite topics – but also one of my more frustrating topics – is Scandinavia, where Hyatt does not yet have a presence. We have now spent a lot of time in the region, learning about the market and getting to know influencers and developers and I am excited for 2019 and the opportunities for us to enter these markets.
Scandinavia is different from other European markets, posing high barriers to entry for international brands. Compared to other countries, it operates a lease-dominated environment that favours independent regional players while international brands have traditionally shied away from this model.
However, the opportunity is too good to ignore and there is the slow emergence of more international companies in Scandinavia. Understanding that a flexible approach is needed within a deal setting, be that for leasing or alternatively franchising, is key for a successful market entry.
From a Hyatt perspective, I believe our approach of working with hotel owners and investors to develop the right hotel in the right location will enable us to quickly identify the best opportunity to achieve the best mutual outcome.
Oslo remains high on our list of strategic cities, along with Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki, where we are closely looking at where our guests are travelling and which of our brands will complement the local environment.
We are also examining the possibility of franchising in the Scandinavian market, as this allows us to build relationships with existing operators in the marketplace who are deeply experienced in the local nuances, without taking on the balance sheet commitment that comes from leasing. Don’t know what that means but need to be rephrased
We have reviewed various projects but our approach to development is a sustainable approach. Through strong relationships, the right potential location, the correct branding, clever positioning and funding, all playing a part in our decision-making process.
As 2019 approaches, we look forward to building new business relationships and finally being able to introduce our fantastic brands to the Scandinavian market.