Intervista a Martina Maly-Gärtner, Managing Director della società viennese Michaeler & Partner : le nuove sfide , e i rischi, per gli investimenti alberghieri in Europa centrale e SEE.

di Paola G. Lunghini


Michaeler & Partner, società di consulenza specializzata nell’ economia del turismo e nella lodging industry, ha recentemente effettuato una Survey  intitolata  “Challenges of hotel investments”.

Ne parlo con Martina Maly-Gärtner, Managing Director della Società.

Viennese, Martina vanta una articolata  esperienza nell’ industria dei servizi alberghieri.  Dopo il diploma a indirizzo economico conseguito nel 1994,  ha frequentato numerosi  corsi  di specializzazione  in turismo e  hotellerie,  in USA  , Francia e  Germania.

I primi passi li ha fatti nel ristorante di famiglia, a Vienna, mentre  ancora  studiava. Poi quasi subito  il balzo  oltre Oceano :  dal 1996 e per due  anni la troviamo impiegata  al Four  Season di New  York, 5 stelle, e poi per tre anni al St Regis ( 5 stelle, sempre nella Grande Mela) . Nel 2001  decide di andare  in Oman (  all’ allora Hotel InterContinental  , oggi si  chiama “ Al Bustan Palace”, ovviamente  5  stelle ) , da cui torna  nel 2004.

Da  allora , specializzatasi anche in valuation, entra nel sistema della  consulenza  di management  alberghiero, ricoprendo  incarichi  in alcune società sia  in Germania  che nella città natale. Nel maggio  2010  assume il ruolo che ricopre  attualmente. Tra le sue responsabilità, anche il “monitoraggio” del nostro  Paese.


(Nota :  L’ intervista è condotta in inglese).


Q. A short description of your Survey.


A. Within a Survey which was send to 500 bank contacts in nine different countries in Central- and Southeast Europe, our company  -Michaeler & Partner – examined challenges of hotel investments. Three main reasons were discovered: missing experience of project team, too optimistic and superficial business plans and over-leveraged financing.


Q. What  was the aim of  your  Survey ?


A. With this Survey we took a closer look at challenges during investments in the hotel and lodging industry. The aim was to stress again awareness of risks and success factors of touristic developments and their operation. The answers were not very surprising, but they vary from project to project.


Q. Which were the main-reasons for failure ?


A.  Around 2/3 of the bankers stated that missing experience of the project team is the most crucial and decisive point causing failure of a development. I can  confirm that having an experienced project team on board and focusing on a realistic business plan are the key success factors for a hotel development.


Q. Can you give me some figures?


A. Due to the fact that 70% of the consulted people were sure that most of the submitted business plans were too optimistic, they started to sharpen the requirements of documentation. Meanwhile 2 out of 3 enterprises even ask for a 2nd opinion and let external consultants check the area space program. Over-leveraging projects in their financing structure is very risky. At this point 81,9% claimed that over leveraging the financial structure often led to bankruptcy. Causing that equity requirements can go up to 60 % in the leisure industry.


Q.What the consequencies?


A. When instalments and interest rates are too high and at the same time the assumptions were too optimistic or even worse, when the hotel generates a negative cash flow, it is impossible to pay off the loan. This is a tremendous risk for touristic development . That is why hotel projects have to be thought through in a holistic way before they are executed.


Q. What do you mean for “holistic way” ?


A. All steps whether it is the concept and product positioning, the business plan including the investment calculation up to the organization of the project execution, all steps should be evaluated by an experienced team of experts. And the project development is not finished until you have considered the operating structure (whether local or international brand, lease or management contract) and have the operator on board that is able to generate your return!


Q. A few words about  your Company.


A.  Based in Vienna, Michaeler & Partner is one of the leading tourism services providers in the field of management consultancy, project development and project management. We are active particularly in the Alpe-Adria region. Within the last 20 years, we were able to successfully consult over 300 customers and were responsible for an investment volume of over 500 billion Euros. It does not matter from the conception to the finalisation or from the strategic consulting to the monthly performance management, we offer comprehensive Knowledge and  Know  How for banks, investors or touristy enterprises.


Pictured : Martina Maly-Gärtner