As the curtain closes on the 19th International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, we reflect on the mood, key themes and trends throughout this year’s event.
As has come to be expected, several prominent and significant deals were signed during the course of the event with new and exciting projects agreed. The ability to meet face to face, discuss, network and conduct business continues to be a driving force for many of the hotel investment community and their motivation for attending IHIF.
A capacity crowd gathered at the InterContinental Hotel Berlin for the three-day event packed with networking opportunities, insightful panels and presentations and an engaging exhibition showcases companies from across the global industry.
The main topic mentioned across nearly every session was Brexit, the possible result of the referendum and the impact this would have on the hospitality sector. Providing the economic overview, Roger Bootle said “there is a serious, serious chance that we will leave” and several analysts and commentators voiced concern of the unknown impact a vote to leave would have on the rest of Europe.
Transactions are agreed to be slowing, as often seen towards the end of an investment cycle but there are still opportunities across Europe.
The ever popular CEO panel covered most of the significant subject areas including loyalty schemes with an admission that they have historically been overcomplicated and inefficient at adding value to guests. Most of the brands represented on stage pointed to improvements their loyalty schemes were undergoing to address this and the understanding that communicating the promise of a lowest rate guarantee via the brand.com is an essential part of their marketing strategy.
On the subject of Airbnb and other so called disruptors entering the industry, the prevailing sentiment seemed to be to remain true to the hospitality element of a hotels function and to deliver this proudly and to a high standard to all customers and in doing so differentiate from a lodging provider such as Airbnb.
Asian investors seem largely indifferent to whether the UK remains or leaves the EU as discussed during the session focussed on Asian investors and the increase of their investment in Europe. Also of importance in this session was the significant budgets many of the Asian investment companies still have available to spend on hotel opportunities across Europe.
Source : IHIF