Seville: A missed opportunity?

Seville, the fourth-largest city in Spain, ranks third in number of visits among Spanish urban destinations — behind only Madrid and Barcelona — with more than 1.9 million visitors in 2014. In terms of room nights, Seville passed the 4 million mark in 2014.

Seville has only 2.83 hotels per 10,000 inhabitants, 21% less hotel density than Barcelona (and 66% less Airbnb density than Barcelona). Yet Seville’s RevPAR grew in 2014 by 10.7% in 4-star hotels, and by 9.7% in 3-star hotels.

Accor, Marriott, Hilton and Starwood are already successfully established in the Seville market. The city center hotels are targeting the “individual leisure” market segment. No wonder. The city’s top three most visited iconic tourist monuments (Plaza de España, Giralda Cathedral and Real Alcazar) account for 1.5 million visitors per year each — 10% more visitors than in 2013.

Seville’s famous Giralda Cathedral
Seville’s famous Giralda Cathedral

From the point of view of airlift, arrivals increased in January by 10.4% (32.3% from the U.K. and Ireland), and the new airport schedule for 2015 is connecting the city with 165 destinations globally (only via Frankfurt — 30 Asian destinations are directly connected with Seville). Thirty-five additional profitable point-to-point destinations in Northern and Eastern Europe currently are being evaluated by Seville’s airport.

In my view, due to the shape of its historic buildings (and based on the performance data available), Seville constitutes a strong 4-star and 3-star hotel market. There is no reason international brands targeting the individual leisure segment shouldn’t be jumping at this opportunity. Meanwhile, domestic hotel players are operating at 50% GOP levels in the center of the city.