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Targeting Synergies and Opportunities of THE RETAIL AND HOTEL INDUSTRY

From fashion capitals selling luxury products to bustling marketplaces peddling local goods, the shopping available at certain destinations is a powerful draw for many tourists. Shopping and vacations have always been closely linked. In the same way, the retail and hotel asset classes have always been interdependent.

Retail tourism is here to stay. Travelers collectively spend billions of euros every year when they shop. They create jobs, providing income for retailers, craftsmen, and designers. Retail is one of the world’s most diverse industries, shaping every part of the travel experience, and retail tourism is playing a pivotal role in the recovery of the travel and tourism sector, which saw inbound tourism revenues surge by 82 percent in 2022, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Despite all the challenges brought on by the pandemic, retail tourism remains strong. Furthermore, if tourism and hospitality are to play an important role in the future of retail, then the presence and location of hotels is crucial, experts say. What, however, does the joint potential of the retail and hotel industry look like? This ACROSS cover story analyzes the synergies between the retail and hotel industries.

The retail and hotel asset classes are both geared towards the consumer, clearly benefit from tourism and are impacted by the “luxury vs. budget” polarization trend. Six months ago, Union Investment therefore decided to bring together its retail and hotel investment teams by establishing an Investment Management Operational department. The Hamburg-based investment and asset management company is targeting synergies and opportunities for its portfolio in the two property categories and considering acquisitions. Andreas Löcher, Head of Investment Management Operational, and Roman Müller, Head of Investment Management Retail, discuss the megatrends affecting both asset classes, highlight other similarities and identify locations of particular interest.

Shopping tourism is on the rise again. International cases have proven that shopping and overnight stays can constitute a profitable symbiosis. Nevertheless, this profitable combination of hotel and retail is still in its infancy in Europe. Christian Buer, Professor of Business Administration and Hotel Real Estate & Financing at Heilbronn University and Founder of the consulting firm Nemis, explains where and how the combination of hotel and retail has the potential for success and why we should focus on the outlet and luxury sectors in particular.

Retail and the hotel industry – is this a new and innovative topic? Certainly not, but it is always worth rethinking and keeping in mind, says Klaus Striebich, Managing Director of RaRE Advise and Head of the ACROSS Advisory Board. From a traditional real estate point of view, placing a hotel next to retail and vice versa has always been the norm. There has always been enough space on site or on the upper floors and demand from customers has always existed.

Shopping centers and hotels have increasingly become complementary assets that together, particularly in city-center locations, form a mutually reinforcing symbiosis. Both asset classes are characterized by a variety of offers, service qualities, and experience factors. When combined, the result is an even better mix of uses and, therefore, a win-win situation for everyone involved, explains Torsten Kuttig, Director Hotel Development at ECE Work & Live.

It is beneficial for real estate developers, investors, retailers and hoteliers alike to explore the potential for collaboration between the retail and hotel sectors, explains Lars Jähnichen, CEO of IPH Group. Some players have already shown how one can benefit from the growth of the other. “Das Gerber” in Stuttgart is an excellent example of the successful revitalization of a former single-use shopping center in the midst of ongoing operations. Today, it features 11 different types of use under one roof – including a hotel.

Tourism and shopping belong together – this is most visible within the outlet industry. Many outlet centers are located in leading tourist zones and traditionally work together with the tourism authorities. Outlets and tourist destinations understand and present themselves as a unit. This means that the outlet industry is one step ahead of the shopping center industry, but there is still a lot of potential here, since 10% of the European outlet centers have hotels at their sites.

In recent years, the intertwining of retail and hospitality has emerged as a crucial factor in the attractiveness of destinations. By integrating shopping opportunities with accommodation options, innovative concepts are created that offer unique experiences for tourists and locals. Thomas Mark, President of MK Illumination, explains how recent developments have set new standards for retailtainment.

The commercial benefits of accommodating multiple uses in one development are clear: If the offer and environment are tailored correctly, footfall – and therefore turnover and rents – can be increased. Nevertheless, there is a great reluctance to create true mixed-use developments due to the inability to truly understand the different requirements of different user groups, according to a joint report by Pragma and Benoy.

In the ever-evolving hotel industry, there is one category that really stands out – hotels, explains Will Odwarka, Founder and CEO of Dubai-based Heartatwork Hospitality Consulting. The hotel landscape is changing on a global scale as hotels seek to attract and cater to a more diverse and international clientele with their F&B and retail offerings. It is a fact: Hotels, gastronomy, and retail go together.