NH HOTEL GROUP
NH Hotel Group is a consolidated multinational operator and one of the leading urban hotel chains in the world. At the end of 2021, the Group was present in 30 countries, operating 353 hotels and 55,063 rooms in four continents (Europe, North America, South America and Africa).
The centralised business model allows NH Hotel Group to offer its guests an excellent service in the various hotels in the different regions and geographical areas where it does business.
The corporate head office and regional offices offer the hotels a wide range of functions such as sales, revenue management, booking, marketing, human resources, financial management and systems development.
This flexible operational and financial structure has allowed the Group to overcome the significant challenges of 2021, despite the low level of demand. Although the challenges continue in the first few months of 2022, the Group will benefit from the recovery of brand awareness, excellent locations and strong market positioning once the recovery in Europe is underway in the medium term.
BREAKDOWN OF THE PORTFOLIO
* Figures as of December 31st, 2021.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC AND TOURISM CONTEXT
During 2021, as a result of the start of the recovery following the economic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the world economy grew by +5.9% compared to a decrease of -3.1% the previous year.
Growth in GDP in 2021 was in line with expectations, reflected the ongoing adaptations of economic activity to the pandemic and the associated restrictions, as well as the continued support of institutions in many countries.
Although the recovery continues, it weakened at times throughout the year, hampered by the increase in infections caused by new variants and by interruptions in supply chains. At the end of the year, as a result of the omicron variant, many countries reintroduced partial lockdowns, impacting the recovery in the global economy.
The four countries that make up the bulk of the Group’s sales and results show growth rates in 2021: Spain (+4.9% in 2021 vs. -10.8% in 2020), The Netherlands (+4.5% in 2021 vs. -3.8% in 2020), Germany (+2.7% in 2021 vs. -4.6% in 2020) and Italy (+6.2% in 2021 vs. -8.9% in 2020). On the other hand, growth in Latin America is expected to be +6.8% in 2021 (vs. -6.9% in 2020), as all its economies have continued to suffer the consequences generated by COVID-19.
For the world economy, 2022 begins with some uncertainty in the short term. As the new omicron variant of COVID-19 progresses, countries have once again imposed restrictions on mobility. As a result of the increase in energy prices and disruption in supply, inflation is higher and more widespread than anticipated. Furthermore, the unexpected slowness of the recovery in private consumption has limited the prospects for growth.
Accordingly, the estimate for growth in worldwide economic activity in 2022 is +4.4% (+5.9% in 2021 vs. -3.1% in 2020). More specifically, in the Eurozone growth is forecast at +3.9% in 2022 (+5.2% in 2021 vs. -6.4% in 2020).
Worldwide tourism saw an increase of 4% in 2021, compared to 2020. However, international tourist arrivals remained 72% below the figures for 2019, according to the preliminary estimates of the UNWTO. These are figures that follow on from 2020, the worst year in the annals of tourism.
The rate of recovery continues to be slow and uneven in the different regions of the world, due to the different degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and consumer confidence. Europe and the Americas recorded an improvement in 2021 compared to 2020 (+19% and +17% respectively), but both are still 63% below pre-pandemic levels. By sub-region, Southern Mediterranean Europe (+57%) and Central and Eastern Europe (+18%), Central America (+54%) and North America (+17%) also exceeded 2020 levels.
The first issue of the UNWTO Barometer in 2022 shows that the increase in vaccination rates, combined with the fall in travel restrictions due to greater cross-border coordination and new protocols, have helped to release pent-up demand. International tourism showed a moderate increase in the second half of 2021, with arrivals for the six months 62% below pre-pandemic figures.
The recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant are going to disrupt recovery and affect confidence until the beginning of 2022, as some countries reintroduce travel prohibitions and restrictions for certain markets. At the same time, vaccine rollout continues to be unequal. A difficult economic environment could exercise additional pressure on the effective recovery of international tourism, with the rise in oil prices, the increase in inflation, the possible rise in interest rates, high volumes of debt and the continuous interruption of supply chains. However, the recovery of tourism that is taking place in many markets, especially in Europe and the Americas, together with widespread rollout of the vaccine and a significant coordinated lifting of restrictions on travel, could help to restore consumer confidence and accelerate the recovery of international tourism in 2022.
While international tourism recovers, domestic tourism continues to boost the sector’s recovery in a growing number of destinations, especially those that have large internal markets. According to the experts, domestic tourism and trips close to home will continue to shape tourism in 2022.
EVOLUTION OF RESULTS
Revenues in 2021 totaled 746.5 million euros, an increase of 39.2% (+210.3 million euros). Profit for the year attributable to the Parent Company amounted to -133.7 million euros compared to -437.2 million euros in 2020. This increase is explained by the increase in activity following the impact of COVID-19 during the financial year 2021.
With regards to the gross debt situation in this financial year, it decreased from EUR 998.1 million in December 2020 to 813.1 million euros in December 2021. The cash and other liquid assets position as of 31 December 2021 amounts to 243.9 million euros (31 December 2020: 320.9 million euros). This liquidity is supplemented by the syndicated credit line in the amount of 242.0 million euros (fully drawn down at year-end 2020) and credit lines at year-end 2021 in the amount of 25.0 million euros, compared to 25.0 million euros at 31 December 2020.
One day, whenever anyone contemplates a trip to a city for an overnight stay of a meeting, for business or pleasure, they will always ask themselves: “is there an NH Hotel at my destination?”.
NH Hotel Group places its focus on the guest; they are at the centre of all decisions. This approach allows us to evolve towards a vision oriented towards a culture of service, attention to detail at all times and corporate values that promote sustainability, innovation and responsibility, based on people.
NH Hotel Group wants to be consumers’ chosen destination, offering them memorable experiences that exceed their expectations and making them feel special. This vision, which is shared by all the people who make up the Company, serves as a performance and commitment guide, while at the same time seeking to make NH Hotel Group the best option for investors and owners who wish to grow with us, our global and flexible proposal, highly motivated and proud teams, efficient management tools and unique solutions. To maximise the return for shareholders who have placed their trust in NH Hotel Group, the Company offers its investors the best management opportunities as a leading operator in both the urban and business segment.
The NH Hotel Group culture, inspired on its vision and a clear commitment to customer service, is what has set the Group apart since it started operating in the industry.
The alignment of the Company’s culture with its strategy is key for sustainable growth. This culture has allowed the Company to evolve from a management model to a leadership one that incorporates the beliefs that guide the day-to-day activities of all employees, and which are:
- We are obsessed with delivering memorable experiences
- We are proud to serve
- We strive to be the best, even if we are not the biggest
- We are all responsible for our results
- We care for our people. Our people care for our guests
- We are active in the communities where we live
- We are young minded
- We enjoy what we do… and we do all this with a smile!
As a reflection of our Company values…
NH COLLECTION MADRID PALACIO DE ARANJUEZ
The team at the NH Collection Madrid Palacio de Aranjuez discovered that a young guest was a keen collector of hotel swipe cards. They managed to find the card she was missing and placed it in her room with a story that told the tale of a duck’s journey in Aranjuez. The girl’s mother afterwards sent them a letter of gratitude thanking them for their kindness and consideration. Thanks, team, for making the invisible visible!
NH HOTEL GROUP STRATEGY
COVID-19 has caused a drastic fall in demand linked to mobility restriction measures, which has led to a focus on efficiency.
Despite the positive effect of vaccination for the recovery of the hotel activity, there is a degree of uncertainty concerning restrictions to mobility at international level. The lifting and harmonization of restrictions to international mobility beyond the European Union is a key factor for the recovery of the hotel sector. The economic recovery in Europe will be key to recover pre-pandemic employment and consumption levels. The increase in the price of supplies and operating costs – most notably labour costs, energy costs and all CPI-linked costs, may play an important role in the profitability of hotel businesses.
Size will be a decisive factor in the recovery as economies of scale allow for greater efficiency in operational management. Fragmentation of the hotel sector in Europe continues to be high and therefore opportunities will arise during the recovery phase for the concentration of the sector to move faster towards more efficient and sustainable business and management models with greater economies of scale.
Minor Hotels and NH Hotel Group have integrated their commercial brands under a single corporate umbrella present in more than 50 countries around the world. Accordingly, a portfolio of more than 500 hotels has been organized under eight brands: Anantara, Avani, Elewana, Oaks, NH Hotels, NH Collection, nhow and Tivoli, completing a wide and diverse range of hotels connected to the needs and wishes of global travellers. Both groups currently share their knowledge base and experience in the sector with the aim of materializing short-term opportunities, leveraging the complementary nature of their hotel portfolios by defining a global commercial strategy, implementing economies of scale with a broader customer base, exploring ways to develop for all the brands across different geographies and with access to a shared talent base. With the entrance of Minor as shareholder at the end of 2018, a new phase of opportunities was opened through the creation of a global hotel platform with presence in six continents.
In 2022, once the Company has greater visibility of the recovery of demand, a long-term strategic planning process will be undertaken. The Company’s excellent performance in recent years (pre-covid) has been the result of a process of profound transformation of the Group.
In the first phase of this transformation, which began in 2014, the strategic plan focused on brand segmentation, portfolio optimisation, strong investments in repositioning and systems and a renewed pricing strategy. This took NH Hotel Group to a second phase, starting in 2017, based on the Company’s strengths and boosting the key levers of value creation in the business.
This Plan set out as priorities boosting the Company’s revenues, increasing its efficiency, while taking advantage of its strengths for new repositioning opportunities and organic expansion as an additional growth pathway.
Business traveller habits may be affected in the short and medium term, which means fewer trips for work-related reasons in light of the gradual adoption of digital solutions and hybrid arrangements, which are determining the evolution of certain segments of business travel.
During the first part of 2021, with the aim of adapting to the new trends in business travel, the Group launched a number of initiatives:
- Extended Stay, with discounts of up to 35% for stays of more than 7 days to work away from home during an extended period.
- Smart Spaces, a new B2B proposal with exclusive spaces to work and organise small business meetings, using all the benefits of our hotels.
- Hybrid Meetings, to boost the value of events by reaching a larger audience in different destinations combining in-person and virtual participants.
- NH+, a new approach of the corporate segment towards SMEs which are the first to resume their activity.
Digitalisation will be key in the evolution of the sector. Through technology and digitalisation, guests’ experience is enhanced, and efficiency is increased. The digital component will be key to respond to travellers’ safety needs and experience. Technology should be a facilitator that complements the work of our employees, freeing them from administrative tasks so that they can offer a more personalised attention to guests.
It should be noted that NH Hotel Group continues to be at the forefront of innovation. The Group’s digital transformation has brought efficiency to processes and systems, increased its capacity for differentiation from the competition, and continued to improve the Company’s basic processes. In this regard, one of the great achievements has been centralising all properties and functions in a single integrated system. This allows NH Hotel Group to have a totally integrated digital platform: NH Digital Core Platform. A pioneering technological solution in the sector which has enabled us to integrate the systems of all the Group’s hotels and has become the basis on which NH Hotel Group can expand its knowledge of guests, maximise efficiency and innovate on a large scale in all its value areas.
For the first time, hotel companies have encountered difficulties in finding workers, which suggests that the sector must manage to attract talent again through attractive career plans that boost training and work-life balance.
KEY STRATEGIC INITIATIVES IN 2021
1. NH HOTEL GROUP CONSOLIDATES ITS STRATEGIC COMMITMENT TO THE LUXURY SEGMENT
To grow in this high-end brand segment, we will leverage the Anantara brand (6 hotels in operation and one scheduled to open in 2022) and NH Collection (89 hotels in operation and 6 openings scheduled) seeking growth opportunities through strategic alliances with new hotel investors that are seeking to take advantage of the situation of financial weakness of small hotel chains. The incorporation of Boscolo, an Italian luxury company, has allowed us to bring this objective forward in 2020 and 2021 and serve as a lever to continue growing in this segment.
The crisis is forcing many small companies to sell. They will be taken over by funds, which in turn seek reliable managers they are familiar with and know to be specialists in certain types of hotels, and this is where NH is going to have an important opportunity in the future.
2. THE ORGANIZATIONAL MODEL EVOLUTION
The efficiency plans undertaken as a result of the exceptional circumstances following the onset of the global pandemic will be preserved in order to continue to ensure business profitability and sustainability, minimising costs and preserving liquidity. Always under the premise of maximum health and safety guarantees.
NH Hotel Group and its talent will be transformed by focusing on business and service delivery, thus achieving greater efficiency and profitability.
3. EXPANSION AND PORTFOLIO OPTIMISATION PLAN
NH Hotel Group highlights its position of financial strength, something that makes it face the recovery in 2022 with optimism. Our ambition as a Group is to continue to grow and to further strengthen our position in tourist destinations and our leadership in the urban sector.
During this financial year, NH Hotel Group has opened three new hotels, in Murano, Hannover and Copenhagen, the latter allowing the Company to enter Denmark for the first time, with a total of 589 rooms.
Looking ahead to 2022, the Company’s planned openings will boost the presence of its brands in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and reinforce its position in the luxury segment. The ten properties currently confirmed belong to the NH Collection (3), nhow (1) and NH Hotels (6) brands and reinforce the Company’s offer in Italy, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, China, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Chile.
4. COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION MODEL: BOOSTING BUSINESS ∞
The commercial strategy, based on the Customer Centric philosophy, is built on experience, specialisation and the close relationship that has been generated with customers over the years, to offer a service of the highest quality. With this the Company will manage to improve the capacity to evaluate the actual opportunity cost at each time, impacting the Company’s global strategy and the acceleration of its growth.
Since 2018 projects have been led for the Company’s commercial optimisation and development through the digitalisation of processes and new business approaches such as the acquisition and loyalty of B2B customers which have represented an important new demand channel. In line with this, NH Hotel Group continues with its digital transformation project in the B2B area, with the aim of improving profitability and generating additional demand.
Boosting Business is an opportunity to accelerate the Company’s business capacity which will guide the evolution for adaptation towards both future and present customers. It is focused on creating new digital tools, boosting growth and strengthening the connection with customers. Adapting the service to the digital era to create new processes, ways of working and identifying development opportunities will make it possible to improve efficiency and offer a much more personalised and quality experience in line with the new needs of customers.
The creation of an optimal model that will allow for the development of synergies (cross-selling) with Minor Hotels to develop more intersecting action plans, adapted to each market, drives the growth of NH Hotel Group in both new and traditional markets, increasing demand and reducing seasonality.
Thus, the cohesion between the service culture that characterises NH Hotel Group and the shift towards digitalisation increases the capacity to identify new opportunities and drive growth as professionals, as leaders and as an organization.
“For NH Hotel Group, being in the right place
at the right time is key”
From the start of the pandemic, we have analysed the different scenarios of government and/or local restrictions in the different countries in which NH Hotel Group operates, monitoring their evolution and adapting constantly to the timelines or phases of the restrictions.
Our main goal at all times has been to maintain flexibility both in individual and group bookings, adapting to the circumstances of force majeure in each country.
5. TRANSFORMATION PLAN
NH Hotel Group continues to believe in innovation and in 2021, despite being a year of great uncertainty, it has maintained the Company’s Digital Transformation Project as one of the initiatives of the Strategic Plan to bring efficiency to processes and systems, increase the capacity of differentiation compared to competitors and customer perception, and continue improving the Company’s basic processes to align teams, procedures and systems.
The foundation of the Company’s Digital Transformation is the “NH Digital Core Platform”. A pioneering technological solution in the sector that has made it possible to integrate the systems of all the Group’s hotels. It is the foundation on which NH Hotel Group can extend its knowledge of customers, maximise its efficiency and innovate on a large scale in all its areas of value.
Building on this technological foundation, in 2021, despite the uncertainty and limitations faced, we have continued to develop processes and functionalities that have increased the safety of our employees and guests. The response of our technological base has been assured, allowing access to and the correct performance of our systems under both remote and on-site working arrangements.
The most important aspects to highlight in 2021 are:
- Integrated data model that generates total flexibility in obtaining the necessary information to make decisions, such as the advisability of opening or closing hotels or the real demand of all our properties.
- The enhancement of the experience of guests and employees in the current global setting, as it allows us to utilize operational data and to develop and integrate new tools in a quick and straightforward way.
At NH Hotel Group we consider digitalisation to be a key tool in order to offer an extraordinary experience, but always as a complement to the work of our employees who, proud to serve, are those who really make a difference. They are the soul of the Company and digitalisation is a facilitator; and the fact that they go hand in hand is what guarantees the success of our business model.
SIGNIFICANT PROJECTS IN 2021
Guest Mobile Service
Digitalisation of hotel information and services on a Progressive Web App (PWA) that can be accessed from any of our guets’s devices (cell phone, tablet, laptop), offering them the possibility of having all the information on the hotel on their cell phone: from information on the hotel’s facilities and hours, to the possibility of ordering room service or booking a table in the restaurant, requesting additional amenities, etc. An initiative that in addition to supporting the Feel Safe at NH plan by eliminating interactions and guaranteeing information during their stay, generates benefits in terms of sustainability by digitalising all the information.
In 2021 the rollout of the solution in all the Company’s hotels was completed, and we have started to analyse the integration of some of the processes with our Hotel Management System with a view to improving our guests’ experience and internal efficiency.
Housekeeping Mobility App
NH Hotel Group has continued to implement and improve a Housekeeping app that optimises management of the department as well as the check-in process. As soon as a room is clean and ready, the hotel’s housekeeping staff can confirm this in real time using the app. This represents an optimisation of the check-in process, as the guest has access to the room earlier, with the resulting improvement in their experience. This also represents an improvement by allowing employees to manage room cleaning in an optimal and safer way; not forgetting the reduction in the use of paper and the resulting positive environmental impact. In 2021, in addition to implementing a number of different improvements aimed at enhancing real time communications between cleaning teams and front desk, the rate of rollout of the app has been increased and this feature is currently implemented in 64 hotels.
Tablets at reception
NH Hotel Group has launched a pilot project in several hotels to include terminals at their front desks, promoting a new check-in and check-out process with a tablet that allows guests to check their bill or even sign their consent without the need for any paper. A more efficient and sustainable process that also provides a digitally stored record of guest signatures and consents. In short, a project that will improve the guest’s experience, and the check-in and check-out process. In 2021, it has been implemented in 13 hotels.
Invoice generation by e-mail
In 2021, a solution has been implemented in all the Company’s hotels and locations that allows reception staff to send invoices by e-mail or directly not to print them when our guests tell us that they do not need a hard copy.
With this project, we aim to reduce our environment impact drastically, by eliminating thousands of invoice printouts and at the same time increasing the level of service to our guests by adapting to their needs.
Digitisation of reports
During this year, the project to digitalise emergency and safety reports in the Company has been completed and implemented. This means improving our environmental impact by eliminating millions of paper prints, optimising the control and supervision process of both hotel managers and the different audit teams (internal and external) as well as notably increasing storage security.
It is worth noting that, thanks to many of these initiatives, the Company has achieved an estimated saving of 14 million paper printouts, which is equivalent to more than 800 tons of paper saved. With the estimated occupancy growth and the deployment of some initiatives in more hotels by 2022, the Company estimates a saving of 20 million.
6. SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
The Sustainable Business pillar is an essential lever in
NH Hotel Group’s business strategy that allows it to advance towards a more responsible and sustainable hotel model that generates wealth for society.
To be recognized as a world leader in excellence and sustainability is the Company’s ambition. To achieve it,
NH Hotel Group takes a holistic view of sustainable business, and takes an integrated approach to ESG, thanks to its pillars which are NH ROOM4People, NH ROOM4Planet and
NH ROOM4 Responsible Shared Success, all of them framed under the premise of corporate governance and a citizenship mindset.
The commitments in this area and the improvement that NH Hotel Group has shown during this year have earned it, for the second year running, the Bronze Class award in the Sustainability Yearbook 2022 published by S&P Global.