To weigh more, Brit Hotel strengthens its network – Le Journal des Entreprises
Brit Hotel has just exceeded the bar of 170 establishments in its lap, with the membership of a hotel located in Le Touquet, in the North. At the end of September 2022, he announced the gradual integration, by March 2023, of nine other establishments out of the thirteen that made up the Best Hotel chain. “It was Max Debosque (the founder of the Best Hotel network, editor’s note) who contacted us, announcing that he no longer wished, after the Covid crisis, to continue on this size of network. It was important for him to get closer of a larger group to be able to rely on it,” says Guy Gérault, CEO of SAS Brit Hotel Développement, which holds the Brit Hotel brand license (3.2 million euros in turnover, 28 employees; turnover from members of 90 million euros in 2021, including 74 million euros for accommodation and breakfasts, and 112 million euros in 2022). “It seemed to him that our brand corresponded best to his format. In his management as a good father, he wanted to support his members until the end.”
For the Breton channel, the interest of these integrations is twofold. First, they allow it to grow further, to weigh more on a market in concentration. “We want to become one of the leading hotel chains in France”, continues the manager. “The story began 30 years ago but growth has accelerated over the past seven years. The most important milestone was to exceed 150 hotels.”
Complete the mesh
These nine new establishments also allow Brit Hotel to complete its network. The network was not very present in the North, the South East and in the Paris region. “Nice, Lille and Paris are priority targets for us. But we have a little more trouble finding members there or developing projects there.” The Best Hotels in Lille, the Caen conurbation and the Paris region (Oise) will partially meet this strategic objective. “Symbolically, Paris intra muros is important but the prices are not the same as in the Provinces and the establishment must be profitable. We prefer a balanced but regular development.” Brit Hotel is getting closer to the capital, however, since the network integrated a hotel in Thiais (Val-de-Marne) at the end of 2021, while another with 70 four-star rooms in Rosny-sous-Bois, currently under construction, should open in June 2023.
Another difficulty, Paris is one of Airbnb’s favorite playgrounds. “The city is very impacted, like Saint-Malo or La Rochelle, for example”, notes Guy Gérault. “But this mode of housing existed, Airbnb is only a mode of distribution. The phenomenon has grown in tourist destinations but it has not prevented us from working properly.” However, the professional expects regulations to intervene for those whose activity it is 100% and who do not have the same requirements as hotel professionals, particularly in terms of taxation and security.
Brit Hotel, for its part, continues to move upmarket. Made up half of establishments in the economy range (two stars) and half of mid-range hotels (three and four stars), the network has undergone numerous renovations and additions of additional services. The emphasis is on “life style, decoration and comfort”. Several establishments have recently moved from the house terminology “comfort”, which includes two plus stars and three stars, to the “privilege” configuration (three plus stars and four stars). We can mention the establishments of Loudéac, which proceeded to an extension and the installation of a spa, but also Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine), Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), Limoges in Haute-Vienne whose works were completed at the end of 2022 and Bordeaux (Gironde), on which work has begun.
Brit Hotel Développement, headquartered in Loudéac, where its owner, the Couédic Madoré Holding group is located (90 million euros in turnover in 2021, of which 75% in industrial equipment, 560 employees), but whose teams are based in Chantepie, near Rennes, supports members in this move upmarket, for example by helping them in their search for financing or by putting them in touch with trusted architectural firms.
More broadly, the company has an important role in the marketing of rooms and services (seminars, restaurant, etc.) of the network. “One night out of seven is booked on the brithotel.fr site, representing a turnover of more than 10 million euros”, welcomes the general manager. The teams of the Breton company also deal with the markets of tour operators, coach operators, associations and the corporate market, as well as the loyalty program. On the operating side, Brit Hotel Développement is responsible for running the network and supporting members in the technical and quality fields, for example for recruitment or the catering part. A purchasing center was set up three years ago. In 2023, the focus will be on training, with a turnkey service, located as close as possible to the establishments, to retain teams in a difficult employment context. “More than 50% of establishments are looking for employees, on average 1 or 2 per hotel, where the teams are made up of six to ten people”, notes the manager.
The major energy project
But the big project this year will unsurprisingly concern energy. The chain’s energy framework contract was signed in 2019 and runs until 2023, at a rate of 43 euros per Megawatt. “Finding the best time to renegotiate the contract will be decisive. It will not be 43 euros, of course, but we have had proposals with a price multiplied by 4 this summer. would be more profitable.” In the meantime, hotels will have to save precious energy. “Heating regulation is a priority, we have partners to put it in place, for example to adapt the heating according to the presence or not of the customer in the room”, continues Guy Gérault, who assesses the energy cost between 5 and 10% of operating costs.
A program on M6
Communication is another strategic field for the Costa Rican company. Land that she begins to clear. And if it does not have the strike force of the giants of the sector, it does not lack ideas. The participation of its general manager in the program Patron Incognito, on M6, in September, is an illustration of this. A risky exercise but ultimately very positive for the brand. “The show had 1.8 million viewers and our site received over 200,000 visits during the broadcast. It brought a spotlight to the network. We wouldn’t have had the budgetary strength to finance such a publicity campaign.” The experience also revealed some improvements to be made in the day-to-day operation of the establishments. “Some hoteliers have finished being convinced to join us”, even confides the director.
Memberships, it will take others to achieve the goal of 220 hotels that the Breton brand has set itself over the next five years.