HOSPITALITY HOUSE opens brand new hotel in THE BANKS.

Soon, Hospitality House and the well-known French hotel chain ACCOR will open a brand new hotel in the Brussels Canal Zone. For managing director Viktor De Maertelaere this new hotel is definitely not a test case. Back in 2008, he opened his first hotel in Aalter with Hospitality House and in 2013 he opened the Adagio Access Gent Centrum Dampoort. A good dress rehearsal?

“In a way, yes, because this is not the first time we have partnered with hotel group ACCOR, but the brand we operate under, is different. Here in Brussels, we choose a 3-star economy quality product. Pricing will be dynamic according to supply and demand, but we are aiming for an average price of 115 euros per night.”

WHY THE CHOICE OF THIS LOCATION?
“We invariably choose centre locations with a vision for the future and this neighbourhood fits in perfectly. Brussels is very undervalued in a lot of ways, in my opinion. There may still be work to be done, but I see progress everywhere. I also expect a lot from the canal district, which is undergoing a true metamorphosis. Other cities show that canal-side neighbourhoods have a lot of potential. You know, water gives oxygen to a city. I am convinced that within this and three years, this area will be really showing what it has to offer.”

DESCRIBE THE ATMOSPHERE YOU ENVISION FOR THE NEW HOTEL.
“Our focus is on price and quality: with us, you get a good bed and shower, a nice and soundproof room in a central location and a lively lobby. We are targeting tourists who want to discover Brussels, but also customers of companies or events on the Tour & Taxis site. We make our hotel a fresh, young place where working is allowed, as well as having fun. The rooms will have a timeless, modern design – nothing too special – and our lobby will be a bustling place where you can have a drink or a bite to eat. We will open that lobby, just as we did in Ghent, under our own brand Take In: a place where you can work, eat, drink, meet, play games and also a place that is not only accessible to hotel guests.”

WHY IS YOUR CONCEPT CATCHING ON?
“At Hospitality House, we operate hotels where both the staff and the customers feel welcome. The right hotel in the right place is very important to us. From a thorough market study and the right market knowledge, we look for the needs of our target group. We also give our hotels a personal twist. We like to combine an economy brand with a great experience. Within the mid-scale and economy segments, this is often overlooked. With us, the human approach is key.”

DOES THIS SET YOU APART FROM OTHER HOTEL GROUPS?
“Absolutely, we think that the human aspect is extremely important. We want everyone to be able to be themselves and develop themselves. We do this by giving our employees responsibility and involving them in important matters. Short decision lines and quick feedback allow us to respond to changes swiftly. In time, we want to grow to about 10 hotels in Brussels, Antwerp, Leuven and Ghent.”

YOU WORK UNDER THE HAT OF ACCOR GROUP. HOW SHOULD WE SEE THAT?
“We have a franchise agreement with Accor. That is, they give us a brand book with the look & feel of their hotel brand. In the rooms, we follow those guidelines up to about 90%. And that makes sense, because, after all, a lot of study goes into furnishing costs, efficiency, sustainability and look & feel. For the lobby, they usually give more guidance on what elements they consider important. Still, based on the success in Ghent, they agreed to do the lobby again in our own brand Take In. Accor is very enthusiastic about how we organised the lobby at Gent Centrum Dampoort. They are even calling us the flagship of their hotels in the Benelux.”

ALTHOUGH FOR THIS PROJECT, IT IS TRIPLE LIVING THAT IS IN CHARGE OF SALES, DO YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE OF SELLING HOTELS TO PRIVATE INVESTORS YOURSELVES?
“Absolutely. Spread across our hotels, we have already sold some 281 hotel rooms to private investors. We see hotel rooms as an ideal investment product. As an investor, you have no worries, but you can count on a fixed indexed return.”