Deep dive with André Pietz, development manager, Aspire Hotel Group

German chain Aspire Hotel Group is in the midst of a rapid expansion, so we caught up with its new development manager to see where it’s heading next.

André Pietz has joined the firm with a remit to offer its guests an even wider selection of first-class accommodation. as he reveals below.

What are your objectives in taking on the development manager role for Aspire Hotel Group?

In my role as development manager for Aspire Hotel Group my primary objectives are to achieve our collective goals and establish this emerging hotel management company in the market. We aim to expand our presence continuously and increase our influence within the industry.

How did the firm arrive at the target of 20 DACH openings by 2027?

Our target of at least 20 hotel openings by 2027 is based on the notion that this number represents an optimal size to effectively harness both internal and external synergies. A growing portfolio allows us to gain more recognition in the market and, in turn, lay the groundwork for further expansion.

Why did Aspire decide that this target would comprise 10 boutique hotels and 10 franchise sites?

Regarding the split between boutique hotels and franchise locations, we view this as flexible. Our main focus is on overall development, and we aim to establish excellent hotels, regardless of their exact category. If we end up with more than 20 promising hotels, we will be delighted.

How did the Hannover Novotel deal come about, and how will you update the hotel in preparation for rebranding?

The contact with the owner of Novotel Suites Hannover City originated through personal connections and continued to evolve. As a result, we were able to negotiate a long-term lease agreement within a few months. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Holtkott family for their trust and collaboration. The transition of the hotel to Aspire is scheduled for 1 June 2024. We are currently in the exploratory phase and are in discussions for a suitable franchise partner. Once these talks are concluded, and we have a clear understanding of the brand’s requirements, we will begin planning for a potential rebranding. It’s important to note that the hotel will continue to operate under an international hotel brand.

What does Aspire’s hotel pipeline currently look like?

Since Aspire Hotels is relatively new, and I assumed my role as development manager on 1 October I cannot provide detailed information about the current state of our hotel pipeline. However, I can assure you that we have an exciting pipeline, and in the coming months, we will be announcing additional contract signings.

Are you intending to expand beyond the DACH region?

Our primary focus is indeed on the DACH region, with Germany being our top priority. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities in the UK market, where we have already initiated discussions. Our strategy is to grow in a controlled and targeted manner within the DACH region and potentially beyond, to strengthen our presence in those markets.

What hotel segment do you see as currently having the most development potential?

Every operator may have their own perspective, but from our point of view, the classic inner-city three-star segment holds considerable development potential. This category, when viewed from various angles, offers significant growth opportunities.

Are you intending to launch any new brands or will you focus on bolstering the Aspire brand?

Our strategy is twofold. On one hand, we will actively develop the Aspire Hotels brand and focus on growth in the boutique segment, which we are excited about. On the other hand, we are also looking to expand in the franchise sector. We are already in discussions with strong partners and are on the verge of finalising an additional franchise hotel in a top German destination.

What criteria do you use to choose hotel project suppliers?

Given our many years of experience in the hotel industry, we have established a robust network of suppliers. When selecting suppliers for hotel projects, our most important criteria include quality, reliability, sustainability, and, of course, budget adherence.

What do you expect the Aspire portfolio to look like in 2027?

I anticipate that we will achieve our above-mentioned goals well before 2027 and establish Aspire Hotels as a significant market player. This is what we set out to achieve with Aspire Hotels, and we are eager to realise our ambitions in the coming months and years.