The hotel industry is investing: 1 billion € will be spent on new hotel projects in major cities in Central and Eastern Europe next year, 400 million € in Austria and 4 billion € in Germany. 300 international hotel experts discussed current industry trends in Vienna.
Vienna, November 8th, 2019. Further growth in the hotel industry was the central theme of the INTERNATIONAL HOTEL INVESTMENT & DESIGN CONFERENCE in Vienna at the Hotel Andaz Vienna am Belvedere. On Thursday, November 7th, 2019, more than 300 representatives from the fields of design, architecture, investment & development, operations and consulting discussed current global industry trends and their effects on hotel investment. Participants included leading industry players from Hyatt, Accor, Oyo, GBI, UBM Development, Signa Real Estate, Fauchon Hospitality, Hilton, Christie & Co, Arbireo Hospitality Invest, Erste Group, Radisson and Louvre Hotels.
Keynote speaker Steven Kuhn, a decorated U.S. Army veteran and successful author and consultant, spoke about the importance of change based on his personal story during the Iraq war: “You can’t control the changes that are coming. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the potential for change.” His advice to executives: “You need to create space and trust for your team to drive your vision.”
The panel “Transforming Hospitality from a Global Perspective” was moderated by Marloes Knippenberg from Kerten Hospitality and discussed the major drivers of global change. “Disruption happens from the outside, so you have to become multidisciplinary”, emphasized brand strategist Matthias Huettebraeuker. Shine Khajuria, Product Manager of the Indian Oyo hotel brand, a leading example of driving transformation in the hotel industry, said: “Oyo is a hospitality company with a very strong focus on technology”. Oyo is currently the fastest growing hotel chain in the world without owning or operating hotels.
The importance of the wow moment
The architecture and design panel vividly discussed the importance of latest trends: “It’s all about the wow moment, the instagrammable moment,” said Ben Martin from HKS Advisory Services. Thousands of Instagram-Selfies posted by guests in the cool lobby, the rooftop bar or poolside can significantly relieve the marketing budget of a hotel. “It is important to create experiences for people’s memories, and for the guests to have instagrammable moments,” said architect Vitalija Katine from the London design firm Jestico + Whiles.
Projects in big cities
The investor panel showed that the hunt for the best deal is not just a bargain hunt in the growth region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Investors and hotel developers are concentrating on projects in big cities and “mature markets”, said Martin Löcker of UBM Development. These markets have the advantage of being liquid. “If people want to get out of their assets, in Poland this is possible. The Czech Republic is also a very good market”, he said. In addition to the investment magnets Warsaw and Prague, Bucharest and Budapest are more recently attracting a lot of investment. However, the Central and Eastern European market still offers a lot of space to develop: According to experts, the European hotel transaction market amounts to 20 to 25 billion euros per year, of which around 1 billion € is invested in the CEE region, 400 million € in Austria and 4 billion € in Germany according to Löcker.
A highlight of the dense conference program was the presentation of the Brand Award by the students of the Modul University Vienna: The Millenials chose Park Hyatt Hotels as the most attractive luxury hotel brand. The second and third places went to the Six Senses Hotel Resort Group and the Hotel Sacher.
“There was a strong interest in sustainability-related topics this year”, said conference organisers Brigitte T. Gruber and Tanja Millner. The experts on the Sustainability Panel were looking for solutions to improve energy efficiency of hotels. The industry’s goal is to reduce emissions by 60 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. “We have the technology”, said Willy Legrand, Professor at IUBH Campus Studies. Ricardo Moreira of energy consultant XCO2 advised how to communicate green initiatives: “Let’s trust the consumers. They are intelligent. Give them the data of energy consumption per room and benchmark that”.
The final point on the conference agenda: “The Making of Hotel Andaz” – from ground zero to full operation of Vienna’s new design hotel.
On the eve of the International Hotel Investment & Design Conference, the organisers welcomed their 60 sponsors and speakers at a very special place in Vienna. Hotel magdas is a successful social entrepreneurship hotel project. The 91-room hotel employs 35 staff members from 20 countries, including 12 apprentices. The majority of the employees have a refugee background.
At the end of the conference the date of the next INTERNATIONAL HOTEL INVESTMENT & DESIGN CONFERENCE was announced: 12th November 2020.
The INTERNATIONAL HOTEL INVESTMENT & DESIGN CONFERENCE was organized for the first time by M + G Eventorganisation GmbH. The two managing directors Tanja Millner and Brigitte Gruber have been members of the organizing committee for many years. This new structure guarantees an independent event platform.
The programme of this year’s conference was developed together with a top-class Advisory Board headed by Ben Martin from HKS Advisory Services.