The hotel sector has evolved. A lot.
It is now a far cry from the coaching inn and the 'Mom and Pop' motel, and those who wish to own a hotel no longer have to be involved in its operation. There is no need to put a mint on the pillow, fill the ice buckets or even visit the property. If an investor so chooses, a hotel can remain a line on a balance sheet and no more. This apparent cut in complexity is not, however, reflected in the sector's legal demands.
While lodging nights in Switzerland have continuously increased in recent years, the overall number of hotels has slightly decreased. Nevertheless, the number of chain hotels has risen significantly in recent years. Swiss hotel chains contribute to about half of the growth of the chain hotel industry. In addition, foreign hotel operators already present in Switzerland have expanded and a number of foreign hotel brands have entered the Swiss market or have new hotel projects in their pipeline. Medical hotels represent a current trend and growth market in Switzerland. Hotel properties are the focus of real estate investors, which creates opportunities for hotel operators who expand or enter the Swiss market. Although the average room rates are higher than in the surrounding countries, hotel operators are challenged by relatively high costs, in particular for salaries and supplies.
New concepts such as Airbnb are expanding in Switzerland; the regulatory framework for such new concepts is relatively liberal in Switzerland, but nevertheless punctual legislative developments could be observed, mostly on a local level.
The 1st edition of the International Hotel Law Review was recently published by Law Business Research Ltd. and the chapter on Switzerland was co-authored by Dr Sibylle Schnyder, Certified Specialist SBA Construction and Real Estate Law. She was supported in writing the article by our lawyers Sarah Keller, Fabian Martens and Dr Dirk Spacek. The full article can be downloaded here.