Greece welcomes growth of brands

International brands are expanding their presence in Greece, as the hotel market develops the breadth of its offering, attracting a growing number of long haul leisure guests to the country

The Greek hotel market is undergoing a transformation, as it shifts from a family-owned, package-led business into a more dynamic market similar to other European hotel markets along the Mediterranean.

That transformation is seeing a new breed of professional investors looking to update and expand the country’s hotel offering, at the same time encouraging more international brands to grow their portfolios by entering Greece. And with a superior, branded accommodation offer, the country is attracting growing numbers of longer haul visitors, notably from source markets such as the USA.

Market update

A market report published in early 2024 by consultancy Travelworks shines a light on these changes, sharing an outlook on the changes due to take place over the coming three years in Greece.

Looking back, the report notes 2023 was a year of significant new hotel openings with Mandarin Oriental, One&Only and others entering the market. And over the next four years, Travelworks calculates more than 60 new hotel projects will be developed in Greece, of which around 40% will be operated under international brands.

Marriott is leading the charge of the international brands, with 33 Greek hotels open, and a further four due to open. Wyndham currently has 13 hotels, and is looking to add properties in both established and upcoming destinations. Hilton, which currently has eight hotels open across Greece, has six more properties signed, and has plans to launch its luxury Conrad brand in Athens. Accor also has eight hotels operating, and plans to double its portfolio in the country.

Adding in Athens

Radisson is pushing hard for growth with two properties coming to Athens: a 112 room Radisson RED, and the Radisson Theatrou Square, Athens. It is also preparing to open its fifth Radisson Blu property in Greece, Radisson Blu Resort, Mani. And Hyatt will launch its Zoëtry Halkidiki before the busy summer season, as it focuses on seeking out projects in islands including Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Paros, Corfu and Zakynthos.

In expanding across Greece, the international brands often work with local and regional hotel specialists. HotelBrain, the largest hotel Group in Greece, operates over 100 leased hotels and signed agreements for seven new hotels, at the start of 2024. It combines a portfolio of independently branded properties, while also working as a manager for international groups such as Radisson.

Regional player Brown Hotels has made a major play for presence in Greece, where it now has 12 urban and resort properties, and has now developed an operating relationship with Hilton. This year will see it open two Athens hotels, Brown Museum and Domino Brown, while in 2025, it will launch Villa Brown Sans Rival in Athens.

Other upcoming new projects are JW Marriott Crete Resort & Spa, due to open in 2025 and which will be operated by local specialist SWOT Hospitality. Designed by architecture firm Block722 it will feature 160 rooms and villas.