Home' Hotel Management : HM APRIL 2015 Contents T
he CEOs of Accor, Marriott, Best Western, Choice and Jumeirah
told delegates at this year’s International Hotel Investment Forum
(IHIF) in Berlin, Germany, they are expecting a solid 2015.
Marriott International’s President and CEO, Arne M Sorenson,
says he’s expecting 2015 to be a strong performing year for the company, on
the back of a solid 2014.
Speaking on the CEOs panel at the 18th International Hotel
Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, Germany, in early Match, Sorenson
said while 2014 was solid for the company, “2015 will be even better”.
“ There’s renewed optimism in places like India and there’s strong
RevPAR growth around the world,” he said.
Other members on the panel – Sébastien Bazin Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer, Accor; Stephen P. Joyce, President and Chief Executive
Officer, Choice Hotels International; David Kong, President and Chief
Executive Officer, Best Western International; and Gerald Lawless,
President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group – all
agreed, with a consensus amongst all participants that 2015 was looking
optimistic for the industry globally with lower oil prices and interest rates
contributing to this.
When the issue of whether Airbnb was a concern for Marriott,
Sorenson said “probably not ”.
“Even as it has grown, we are still putting up record occupancy
numbers,” he said.
“It’s primarily a leisure play and at a lower value... but it is bringing in
new travellers and it’s expanding the pie for all of us.
“ They haven’t had an impact so far, but we are watching them,”
Joyce agreed, saying new offerings like Airbnb were “big with millennials”.
“It is something the hotel business should be looking at as it is very
relevant for our customer set,” he said.
When considering China and the 300,000 of the global 1.3 million
rooms in the development pipeline coming from there, Bazin believes
that the partnership recently agreed with Accor, Huazhu and China
Lodging will be the key to their success in the region.
“I don’t believe in competing with the Chinese operators. You need to
be there, you need to be visible so the decision is to partner and then you
must decide who to partner with,” Bazin said.
On technology, Sorenson said he felt strongly that it is important
that people get value from booking directly with them and referenced
the recent move to provide free WiFi to all Marriott members when they
Lawless said if “technology is not helping to personalise the customer
experience, it is not working”. He said that converting the 10 million hits
on the Jumeirah website last year into as many direct booking guests as
possible was one of the company ’s priorities.
Kong strongly believes that “people are looking for experience when
they travel” and being able to provide this is a significant part of success.
AIRBNB FOCUSED ON ‘LOCALISATION
Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, Chip Conley, says
Airbnb is focusing on “localisation and experience” and he has tried to
bring “inconsistency” in his time at the company.
Conley, formerly the founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality,
was speaking on stage at IHIF and although he owns 18 properties, he
sees himself as a student rather than an hotelier or technologist.
When asked whether Airbnb was a hospitality or technology
company, Conley said he wanted to take the tech company that it
originally was and turn it into a hospitality company.
Over 20 million people used Airbnb during 2014 and Conley said he
sees the company as facilitating travel, especially in the developing world
where, for example, a hotel stay for a family of five would be unaffordable
and impractical but staying together in an apartment makes travel and
He said that the empty nesters are their fastest growing segment as
couples find themselves with two or three spare bedrooms and want to
experience “kitchen table diplomacy”.
Conley said his philosophy is to “stay humble, stay curious and
continue to learn”.
Prior to joining Airbnb, Conley was the Founder and CEO of Joie
de Vivre Hospitality, one of the largest boutique hotel operators in the
Positivity at IHIF and ITB
This year’s IHIF and ITB events in Berlin were full of positive energy, on the back of Europe again posting strong
travel numbers. HM was there and here are the highlights of two of the world’s biggest hotel and tourism events.
Wilson and the cast
of Les Miserables
32 HM The Business of Accommodation
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