Three new hotels open, amongst others the first Zleep hotel in Sweden making up a total of 12 Zleep hotels. Deutsche Hospitality becomes co-owners of Zleep Hotels and new hotel projects are revealed. Together with Deutsche Hospitality, Zleep wishes to expand into central Europe.
Many new hotel projects are announced, hotel renovations continue, the breakfast buffet becomes more organic and investments in new IT solutions are made.
The majority of all hotels are renovated, and several hotels are expanded. Zleep reopens historic hotel in Roskilde, and the chain’s first franchise agreement in Denmark is made in Kalundborg
At the turn of the year, Zleep Hotels opens in Kolding, and during the summer, a new hotel in Kastrup is ready after a complete renovation. The hotel chain now counts seven hotels in Denmark.
The hotel previously known as Hotel Merkur is thoroughly renovated and opens as Zleep Hotel Aarhus. This is the beginning of Zleep’s new interior design and visual identity.
The financial crisis hits hard, but Zleep fights through and keep all agreements. The organization is restructured to ensure the future, which entails that two hotels are closed while two new open.
Like in the rest of the world, things are moving at a fast pace in Zleep Hotels. The chain opens four new hotels, one of which is a franchise agreement in Hamburg.
After a successful beginning in 2003, yet another Zleep hotel opens the following year. This time in Ishøj, perfectly located by the highway, the S-train station, and with a view of Ishøj harbor.
The first Zleep hotel opens on September 3rd, 2003 with the wish of offering low room rates, a great bed to sleep in, a TV with many channels and free WiFi access.
In the 1990s, many new hotel brands were developed in Europe and the USA. Particularly in the USA, special attention was devoted to the creation of the so called “budget hotels” or “limited service hotels”. These brands focused primarily on the core need of the journey, namely sleep. The hotel’s most important function was to provide a safe and sound place to stay overnight – with a well-known brand offering low price rates and good quality.
Zleep Hotels was founded in 2003 with these same basic ideas; low room rates, a quality bed to sleep in, a TV with many channels, free WiFi, private bathroom and a great cup of coffee for breakfast. The first hotel opened on September 3rd, 2003. The hotel was converted from a nursing home, located in Tårnby near Copenhagen Airport with 93 rooms available. This hotel quickly proved that Denmark and the Nordic countries are an extremely viable market for the “limited service hotels” concept. The hotel served as proof that affordable hotel rooms do not necessarily have to be bad. The hotel was expanded and renovated after just three years of operation.
The Brand Proves its Strength
(2004 – 2008)
From the starting point in Tårnby, it was always the goal to expand with additional hotels in both Denmark and the rest of Northern Europe. In the following year of 2004, Zleep Hotel Ishøj was added to the portfolio. The hotel was previously operated by the Municipality of Ishøj with conference facilities typical of a traditional middleclass hotel. After a small renovation of the rooms, the hotel was opened – exclusively focusing on room sales and breakfast.
Zleep worked with several business models but primarily with leases, management contracts and a few hotel real estate investments. The brand was launched in six different locations, including a hotel in Hamburg in 2007.
Survival through the Financial Crisis
(2009 – 2013)
In the period of 2009 and onwards, the financial crisis exploded, real estate investments were put to a stop, and banks froze much of their lending. This limited the opportunities for Zleep’s growth, with investors unable to find adequate sources of finance. The hotel industry was viewed as a less than attractive segment for bank lending, an attitude which largely persists to this day. Despite the crisis, Zleep was still able to comply with contractual agreements, and the portfolio of hotels was further strengthened and improved.
Age of Renovation
(2014 – 2018)
2014 was another key milestone for Zleep Hotels. Zleep entered a new phase in its expansion by taking over and renovating hotels in both Aarhus and Kastrup. The development continued in 2015 and 2016 with more renovation projects, hotel openings and Zleep’s first franchise agreement in Kalundborg, Denmark. Due to these renovation activities it was important to ensure consistency between the product quality and the communication of the brand. To this end a new logo, visual identity and website were developed in 2016.
As proof of the hard work to become a more sustainable hotel chain, Zleep Hotels was awarded the Organic Cusine Label in bronze, ensuring the breakfast buffet is at least 30 – 60% organic. Furthermore, in 2018, a self-service check in machine named Donya was introduced at all hotels. This new technology allowed for much more effective check in procedures, leaving all hosts to focus more on guest services and hotel operations.
Strong partner secures rapid growth
(2019 – today)
2019 started strong. In January, two new hotels opened, one in Upplands Väsby outside of Stockholm which became Zleep’s first hotel in Sweden, and later that month Zleep returned to Aalborg. In the beginning of the summer, Zleep Hotels opened their second hotel in Aarhus, this time in Skejby. The new hotels all have a modern and Scandinavian decor and the interior is of high quality. On top of this, a major change in the organisation took place. The German hotel operator, Deutsche Hospitality, became co-owners of Zleep Hotels in the beginning of 2019.
With almost 150 hotels in their portfolio, Deutsche Hospitality becomes a strong partner allowing Zleep Hotels to expand their horizons. At the end of 2019 it was announced Zleep Hotels will break ground in Southern Europe with a hotel in Spain just next to the international airport of Madrid, opening in 2021. This will be Zleep Hotels’ first hotel in Spain. Just a month later it was revealed Zleep Hotels will return to Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg, in 2022. Both hotels will be built in the same modern Scandinavian style that Zleep is known for today.
Furthermore, Zleep has taken additional iniatives in becoming a more green hotel chain. Amongst others, water stations are installed in all new hotels, reusable water bottles have been produced to reduce single use bottles, a lot of plastic packaging used in the breakfast buffet have been switched out for more sustainable materials and the breakfast selection itself is continuously offerig more organic products. The hotel buildings themselves are also becoming more sustainable with e.g. Zleep Hotel Aarhus Skejby being awarded the DGNB-certificate, a proof of a sustainably built hotel.
Thanks to the rapid growth the past few years and with the many projects planned in the upcoming years, Zleep Hotels was awarded the growth award “Gazellen” from Børsen in September.
The future of Zleep
As can be seen, Zleep Hotels is in fast development with new hotel projects quickly expanding the portfolio. By having Deutsche Hospitality as a partner, an expansion further into Europe and Scandinavia the next coming years can be expected.
Additionally, a greater focus will be on Zleep’s environmental profile where new ways to become a more green hotel chain are a constant priority. The environment continous to be a core value for Zleep Hotels.
Today, we are in better shape and more dynamic than at any time in our history. Zleep Hotels is able to document strong operating figures, high earnings for the owners of the properties as well as a stable growth and reliable development at each hotel. Zleep delivers record high GOP and RevPAR* figures compared to the sector average.
Given the ambitious plans for the coming years the future will surely be as exciting as the past!
*GOP is short for Gross Operating Profit, which is the surplus profit after all operational costs have been deducted. RevPAR is short for Revenue Per Actual Room and is calculated by multiplying the hotels’ daily average rate and their occupancy rate.