Hybrid accommodation, which have been developed in the center of Athens in recent years, rank among the best performers in the tourism industry.
They are furnished apartments, which also offer hotel services, such as cleaning, laundry, breakfast, gym, while also having shared dining areas. At the same time, the rooms are essentially a complete apartment and not a hotel room.
According to international analysis, this type of complexes have withstood pandemic conditions better than standard hotels, because their common areas are limited and they offer more isolation than a unit of tens, or even hundreds, of rooms. In other words, they provide the possibility for a longer stay. The way they are promoted is also different, as several of these complexes are rented through short-term rental platforms and not through travel packages/agents, etc.
In the Athenian market of short-term leases, several such properties are currently operating and offer owners more options. For example, apartments can be rented exclusively through short-term leases, or alternatively like a typical city hotel, hence the term "hybrid".
Market sources note that these properties attract strong investment interest and are considered safer than a typical hotel unit, precisely because of the risk sharing. Such units can be found mainly in the historic center of Athens and specifically in areas such as Thiseio, Psyrri, Metaxourgio and Kerameikos. One of the most prominent examples of such properties is the K29 complex of Zeus International, located near the Wyndham Grand Athens Hotel.
K29 was developed with the philosophy of short-term rentals, wanting to attract younger travelers, something that is reflected in both the design of the apartments and their cost. The results prompted Zeus International to develop another space in a nearby property, in Karaiskaki Square, called Wyndham Athens Residence though this targets a different market, which demands a higher level of luxury.
In a recent analysis, Savills, one of the largest real estate consultants in the world, states that during the first wave of lockdown measures, many furnished apartment buildings remained open, offering hospitality services to professionals who were found to be in need of extended accommodation and those who were trapped and could not return to their place of residence due to travel and travel restrictions.
The reasons that Savills analysts believe that this model will have a significant impact even after the pandemic, is that they provide guests with maximum control of their living environment and minimal contact with strangers. At the same time, the owners of such complexes can benefit from lower operating costs. Room cleaning is less common, as guests tend to opt for longer stays, and there is less dependence on costly booking platforms. The number of employees is also smaller, as usually in these properties there is no restaurant provided.
Thus, in London, for example, properties that function as furnished apartments with hotel services, offer 13% lower operating costs compared to a hotel of a similar size.
Once travel is restored from mid-2021 onwards, this trend is expected to continue to spread, as the operation of such properties seems ideal, especially for cities such as Athens, where there is a plethora of such small buildings, suitable for conversion into furnished apartments. On the other hand, multi-ownership, which affects many such buildings, is likely to act as an obstacle to these sorts of investments.