Baselworld has announced a new partnership with hotels in Basel and surrounding areas for next year’s fair, which includes capped hotel rates.

The deal comes amid pull-outs from the show by watch brands such as Swatch Group, Corum and Maurice Lacroix.

Forty hotels have been named partners of the show, which amounts to two-thirds of the hotel capacity in Basel and its surrounding areas. Of those 40 hotels, 26 are named “official partners” while the other 14 are “preferred partners”, depending on how many criteria they fulfil.

A list of four criteria needs to be met to become an official partner: a capped per-night rate for a double room including breakfast, no requirement for minimum length of stay, no price increase compared to 2018, and no compulsion for additional consumption. Preferred partners need to fulfil only three of the four.

Fall in Baselworld watch fair attendances after exhibitors’ complaints

“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,” says Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director of Baselworld.

Loris-Melikoff, who took over as managing director earlier this year in July, has been focused on reviving Baselworld’s reputation as a world-leading watch and jewellery fair.

The capped prices – per-night for a double room – for official partners are as follows:

5-star superior: 1,290 Swiss francs (US$1,280)
5-star: 990 Swiss francs
4-star superior: 750 Swiss francs
4-star: 650 Swiss francs
3-star superior: 600 Swiss francs
3-star: 550 Swiss francs
2-star: 350 Swiss francs
1-star: 200 Swiss francs

According to the list of hotels provided by Baselworld, only one hotel is categorised as a 5-star superior. Seven hotels are considered 4-star, seven hotels are 3-star superior, and 11 are 3-star. There are no official partner hotels in the 4-star superior, 2-star of 1-star category, all of which are populated by preferred partners. Noticeably absent from the list is Hyperion Hotel, the hotel that sits between Hall 1 and Hall 2, and also doubles as a place of choice for several independent watchmakers to use as an exhibition space.

While this may come as good news for attendees who are worried that their hotel prices may increase for next year, however, one should note that hotels only need to keep its 2018 prices which will be capped at each category. However, as any regular show attendee will attest, Baselworld prices are much higher than regular night prices.

Swatch Group, owner of Omega and Longines, ‘quits Baselworld fair’

To compare the newly introduced capped prices during fair dates to non-fair prices, we looked at prices for hotel rates just a week before the show dates (March 21 to 26, 2019) as an indicator of what the price difference could look like.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to see what the rooms actually sold for during the show dates, as they were already booked.

The price for a 5-star superior, which is capped at 1,290 Swiss francs per night, goes for 620 Swiss francs for a night’s stay at a deluxe junior room with Rhine river view. If you prefer having a two-bedroom experience, the double room on the city side is offered for 630 Swiss francs while 720 Swiss francs will get you a Rhine river view. All the prices noted here do not include breakfast and rates are for double occupancy.

But if your budget is as big as the fair’s capped price, you would be looking at a junior suite with a Rhine river view and complimentary breakfast for 1,115 Swiss francs per night.

Swatch Group just pulled out of Baselworld – what will happen next?

In the four-star category, Krafft Basel, is an 11-minute walk away from Messe Platz, according to Google Maps. This hotel would be required to cap its daily rate for a double occupancy room with hotel at 650 Swiss francs.

Its timeless double room on the city side is 210 Swiss francs including breakfast (170 Swiss francs without breakfast). The timeless double room with river view is 260 Swiss francs , including breakfast (220 Swiss francs without breakfast).

Two stars down is Hotel Wettstein, a 3-star superior hotel located in Kleinbasel, just 10 minutes away from the exhibition by foot, according to Google Maps.

This hotel would be required to cap its daily rate for a double occupancy room to 600 Swiss francs during fair dates.

The standard rate given for a comfort room with a breakfast buffet is 180 Swiss francs, while it is 210 Swiss francs for a superior room with breakfast buffet.

Baselworld bids farewell to Sylvie Ritter

The standard rate given by the hotel’s website for a night’s stay for two people on March 14 is 180 Swiss francs for a comfort room with a breakfast buffet. A superior room with breakfast buffet would cost 210 Swiss francs.

While some price increase is expected anywhere in the world during convention or show dates, complaints by attendees is that the prices go beyond what is reasonable.

Even if you happened to want to visit Basel during Christmas, the rates are actually reasonable and similar to rates offered a week leading up to Baselworld.

5 of Baselworld’s most impressive watches

If staying for one night one on December 24, Les Trois Rois has a bed-and-breakfast rate for 620 Swiss francs for its deluxe junior room with Rhine river view. The junior suite with complimentary breakfast is still 1,115 Swiss francs – same as the price for a night’s stay on March 14.

And at Krafft Basel, a night’s stay on December 24 at a timeless double room facing the city would go for 210 Swiss francs including breakfast, or 247.50 Swiss francs if you decide for the weekend special (but no breakfast).

Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter