A shot outside the 2018 Baselworld edition of the watch and jewelry trade show. The event’s organizers are working with hotels in Basel to keep down the cost of staying in the city.
Basel—Baselworld has announced a program designed to address one of the criticisms directed at it: the inflated cost of staying in Basel during the watch and jewelry trade show.  

Organizers of the event announced Wednesday the launch of a hotel partner program.

Forty hotels have signed on to become either “Official Partners” (26) or “Preferred Partners” (14), comprising about two-thirds of the hotel capacity in Basel and surrounding areas, they said. (The two-thirds refers to official hotels; it does not include alternative accommodations, such as rooms booked through sites like Airbnb.)

Official Partners fulfill the following four criteria.
 
1. Comply with the agreed maximum price per night for a double room including breakfast.
•    5 star superior: CHF 1290 (about $1,286)
•    5 star: CHF 990 (about $987)
•    4 star superior: CHF 750 (about $748)
•    4 star: CHF 650 (about $648)
•    3 star superior: CHF 600 (about $598)
•    3 star CHF 550 (about $548)
•    2 star: CHF 350 (about $349)
•    1 star: CHF 200 (about $199)
2. No minimum length of stay.
3. No price increase compared with 2018.
4. No obligations to book more services than just a room, i.e. minimum consumption of food or beverages during the stay on top of the room rate.

The official partner hotels include the Les Trois Rois, which is the city’s only five-star hotel, and Hotel Stücki.

Preferred Partners, meanwhile, only have to fulfill three of the four aforementioned criteria. A Baselworld spokesperson said it is up to the hotels which one of the four they skip; so far, all the partners that have signed on have opted to forgo minimum length of stay.

Hotels that have agreed to be Preferred Partners include Ibis Styles Basel City, Ibis Basel Bahnhof, Ibis Budget Basel City, Ibis Budget and Courtyard by Marriott.

Show organizers said program conditions apply for the Baselworld 2019 event and are retroactive for existing bookings, but also noted that accommodation at participating hotels is not guaranteed and is subject to availability.

Prices also are only guaranteed for bookings made directly through the hotels.

A full list of participating hotels can be found on Baselworld.com.

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The show created the program in collaboration with Basel’s Hotelier Association. The initiative is ongoing, and Baselworld organizers said they will continue to add hotels if they are interested in participating.

“We are very pleased to see that many hoteliers not only embraced but also contributed towards the success of this initiative. They have affirmed Baselworld’s importance, also for Basel as a city, and they want to contribute toward assuring the trade show’s long-term presence in Basel, which benefits both the city and its surrounding areas,” Baselworld Managing Director Michel Loris-Melikoff said.

The beleaguered watch and jewelry trade show’s attempt to control hotel prices comes after a rough  few months that included Managing Director Sylvie Ritter stepping down (replaced by Loris-Melikoff); Swatch Group announcing it was leaving the trade show; and the resignation of René Kamm, CEO of Baselworld organizer the MCH Group AG.

The hotel partner program is one of a number of planned changes announced in late July in response to Swatch Group’s announcement.

In addition to bargaining with Basel-area hotels and restaurants to not inflate prices during the show, other plans include the addition of a retailer summit that will take place in Hall 1.2; an exhibition about the art of watchmaking in Hall 1.1; and expanding and bringing the on-site catering into the middle of the show floor.

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