Europe -  Brussels

The Brussels economy can be considered three dimensional because the city performs a threefold function as the regional capital, the national capital and the (unofficial) capital of Europe. As such, Brussels is home to more than 40 European and international organisations, including the European Commission, the European Parliament and NATO’s more than 1,450 international associations and 1,700 multinational companies, which generate a solid demand from both corporate and governmental sources. Brussels is also a culturally diverse city with a rich past and an architectural, artistic and culinary heritage.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks in November 2015, the number of arrivals to Brussels decreased significantly on account of the so-called ‘lockdown’ in the city, with security levels being increased to ‘high’. The bombings in Brussels on 22 March 2016 at Brussels Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek metro station, resulted in another steep decline in the leisure segment and in MICE demand. 2016 was one of the worst years for the tourism sector in Brussels with a double-digit decrease in RevPAR, mainly driven by a fall in occupancy as a result of the terrorist attacks and a general sentiment of insecurity. Thanks to several marketing campaigns orchestrated by the city, the Brussels hotel market bounced back and recorded an impressive RevPAR growth of approximately 20% in 2017, resulting in a RevPAR performance almost in line with 2015 levels which is somewhat impressive given the state of the market a year ago. 

Over recent years, there has been little growth in the overall supply of hotel rooms in Brussels. In March 2017, Carlson Rezidor opened its second Park Inn in the city in the airport area and the NH Hotel du Grand Sablon was rebranded under the NH Collection brand. Additionally, in December 2017, NH Hotel Group and Pandox AB signed two lease agreements starting 1 February 2018 for the Hotel BLOOM! and the Hotel Berlaymont. The virtual lack of future supply until the 126-room Corinthia (Grand Hotel Astoria) comes on stream in 2019 should help the city’s hotels to consolidate occupancy levels.

In 2017, the market witnessed a handful of transactions including the 212-room Silken Berlaymont for €33 million (€150,000 per room) and the 511-room Sheraton Brussels Hotel & Towers for €28 million (€55,000 per key). The latter has been closed since December 2016 after the operating company was declared bankrupt and asbestos-containing materials were found on the premises. The property is rumoured to be re-opening in 2018 and to include some serviced apartments. The Brussels economy can be considered three-dimensional because the city of Brussels performs a threefold function: as the regional capital, the national capital and, since 1992, the official capital of the EU. As such, the city is home to more than 40 European and international organisations, more than 1,450 international associations and more than 1,700 multinational companies, which overall generate a solid demand from both corporate and governmental sources.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks in November 2015, the number of arrivals decreased significantly on account of the so-called ‘lockdown’ in Brussels with security levels being increased to ‘high’. The 22 March 2016 Brussels bombings, which occurred at Brussels Zaventem Airport and at Maalbeek metro station, resulted in a steep decline in the leisure segment and also in MICE demand, with destination agencies relocating bookings out of concerns for personal safety, especially among those groups from outside the EU and who were therefore less familiar with the market. On a more positive note, a number of new direct airline routes to/from the city have been announced for 2017 including Mumbai, Hamburg, Madrid, Malta, Milan, Glasgow, Sofia, Toulouse and Timisoara.

Following a healthy RevPAR growth of around 3% in 2014 and a stable performance in 2015, 2016 was one of the worst years for the tourism sector in Brussels with a double-digit decrease in RevPAR, which was mainly driven by a fall in occupancy of over 15% as a result of the terrorist attacks and the general sentiment of insecurity. While hotel operators managed to somewhat maintain rates, they remain relatively cautious for 2017 and expect a very low growth until the second half of 2017.

The former Radisson Blu closed for three months to undergo renovations and most importantly be rebranded to Radisson RED, marking the debut of the brand worldwide when it reopened in April 2016. In addition, the former Hotel Cascade became a Hilton Garden Inn in 2016 and in March 2017 Carlson Rezidor opened its second Park Inn in Brussels in the airport area. The virtual lack of future supply until the Corinthia (Grand Hotel Astoria) comes on stream in 2019 with 126 rooms should help the city’s hotels to recover occupancy levels.

A few more hotel transactions took place in Brussels compared to 2015. The most recent sales include the 315-room Crowne Plaza Brussels Airport, which transacted in December 2016 for approximately €49.7 million (€158,000 per room), and the 224-room Hilton Brussels Grand Place, which was acquired by Pandox in September 2016 for €55 million (€246,000 per room). The 121-room Grand Hotel Astoria, the 169-room Sofitel Brussels Le Louise and the 267-room Wiltcher’s Steigenberger also transacted, although the prices paid for these assets remained undisclosed.

Change In Value For Market: (€Euro)

Legend
Significant Value Increase: Greater than +10%
Moderate Value Increase: Between +3% and +10%
Stable Values: Between -3% and +3%
Moderate Value Decline: Between -3% and -10%
Significant Value Decline: Less than -10%

Brussels RevPAR Change (€Euro)

Brussels RevPAR (€Euro)

For more information, please contact:

Sophie Perret, MRICS, MBA
[email protected]
  • +44 20 7878 7722 (w)
Simon Hulten
[email protected]
  • +44 020 7878-7775 (w)