Although the COVID-19 pandemic deeply affected the hotel sector in 2020, causing hotel occupancy and group results to plummet, it did not prevent the world's leaders from continuing to develop their room inventory. But the dynamics of development are in fact quite variable depending on the players, leading to several changes in the rankings of the world's top 10 hotel groups.
2020 has brought its share of upheaval to the hospitality sector, but not to the top of the group rankings: the undisputed world number one remains Marriott International. The American champion, which recently lost its emblematic CEO Arne Sorenson, has certainly seen its growth slow down slightly compared to the previous year (almost +5%), but has posted a solid performance with a 3.1% increase in its stock and has passed the symbolic milestone of 1.4 million rooms.
Behind him, however, the ranking is changing. OYO, the Indian start-up that had burst onto the scene in a few years, has seen its customer base fall sharply, allowing its more traditional pursuers to regain a place.
The Chinese company Jin Jiang, known in Europe notably through the Louvre Hotels and Radisson Hotel Group, which were acquired in 2015 and 2019 respectively, is once again the world's number 2. In a context where China has begun its hotel recovery more quickly, it has achieved growth (+6.7%) higher than its Western rivals.
RANKING 2021 - TOP 10 HOTEL GROUPS IN THE WORLD
(*) preliminary data for 2021 (MKG Consulting estimate)
(a) excluding timeshares, excluding Design Hotels units distributed but not integrated into the group
(b) Excluding single distribution/affiliated rooms [=Hotels &Préférences, Tempting Places], WITH Radisson Hotel Group, for China, MKG estimate based on actual Q3 2020 vs. 31.12.2019, rest of the world: final data as of 1/1/2021)
(c ) excluding timeshares [=excluding Hilton Grand Vacations].
(d) MKG estimate based on actual Q3 2020 vs 31.12.2019, WITH Deutsche Hospitality, excluding Accor branded hotels
(e ) MKG estimate based on the census of active hotels on the platform for the hotel stock only, excluding OYO Vacation Homes / ex-@Leisure Group, Belvilla, Ferienwohnungen
(f ) MKG estimate based on actual Q3 2020 vs 31.12.2019
Hilton, now back to number 3, has shown the best growth among Western groups: +4.9%, i.e. a net gain of more than +47,000 rooms, higher than that of its rival Marriott. Above all, it has exceeded one million rooms: with Marriott and Jin Jiang, they are now three hotel groups in the world to have crossed this highly symbolic threshold.
Behind it, IHG regained a place and became n°4 worldwide, even if its offer rather stabilised (+0.3%) after a sequence of rather rapid development (+5.4% in 2019). While the group has continued to grow, it has suffered from the strategy of some of its property owner partners.
This is the case, for example, of Service Properties Trust, which has chosen to set up its own platform dedicated to hotel operations, enabling the Sonesta group (34% owned by SPT) to build up a portfolio of more than 100,000 rooms in operation under its brands in a few months.
The independence of certain owners, key partners for the groups, also affected Wyndham, which recorded the only annual decline in the number of rooms (-4.2%) in the world's Top 5. Behind it, Accor, which is once again the world's number 6, is closing in on the 750,000-room mark; its growth has been maintained at a steady pace (>3% in 2020 as in 2019).
The French champion recently took profits and reduced its stake in another Chinese group, Huazhu, which for its part recorded the strongest growth in the Top 10: +23%. It has both delivered very strong organic growth in China, where the economic impact of the pandemic has faded much faster than elsewhere, and finalised the integration of the German company Deutsche Hospitality (Steigenberger, Intercity, Maxx, Jaz in the City, Zleep, etc.), which it had announced it would acquire in late 2019.
This gives it a direct foothold in Europe, a market dominated by its capitalist partner Accor, which it now follows at world level with a 7th place in the rankings and above all remarkable growth, with an annual gain of more than +100,000 net rooms for the 2nd consecutive year.
Huazhu thus overtook the American Choice Hotels, which nevertheless grew by 1.2% and approached the 600,000-room mark worldwide.
Behind it is the Indian troublemaker OYO, which had disrupted the world rankings in a few years but suffered a sharp decline this year, losing more than half of its operating rooms and falling to 9th place in the rankings.
Rounding off the Top 10 is a third Chinese group, BTH Hotels, whose ranking remains unchanged but which has resumed a clearer development dynamic, with a 6.6% increase in the number of hotels over the year.