IHIF 2014

A number of the world’s leading hotel CEOs revealed business is good at this week’s International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) being held in Berlin, Germany this week.

‘The World According to the Global CEOs’ panel, moderated by Michael Hirst from CBRE Hotels, featured Jim Abrahamson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Interstate Hotels and Resorts; Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Accor; Henri Giscard d’Estaing, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Club Méditerranée; and Michael Glennie, President and Chief Operating Officer, FRHI Hotels and Resorts.

Hirst opened the session by asking each panelist for their snapshot of 2013.

Abrahamson said that Interstate had seen an 8% increase in RevPAR in the US. They have 83 hotels in Europe, 13 in Russia and were seeing strong performance in the UK. Looking at the UK specifically, Abramson mentioned they were seeing good recovery amongst their UK provincial hotels.

Bazin stated that Accor had just reported a 6% increase in operating profit across the brand, but are still seeing weak operating in France. He also said that “one Ibis opens every three days around the world”.

d’Estaing said that whilst he would have preferred a “more sexy growth”, they were still seeing positive growth in Asia, including China, as well as in North and Latin America.

Glennie said that the US had seen a terrific rebound and that Asian performance was good.

Abrahamson announced that Interstate manages over 40 brands and that those in newer markets were performing the best.

Bazin stated that the leisure industry has a lot to learn when it comes to the innovations seen in the mobile phone technology market. He also questioned the need to form strategy alliances.

Abrahamson acknowledged that the “industry has been behind the times when it comes to technology”, and that revenue management and social media investment, research and development were priorities for Interstate.

Glennie stated that it was important to note that “the customer today brings their own content with them” and FRHI must be able to facilitate this.

The session concluded with Hirst asking what drives and motivates each panellist.

Abrahamson said it was the “passion for developing the future CEOs” and he was “constantly excited by the exciting changes taking place in the industry”. He strongly feels we are moving away from a “bricks and mortar culture towards a service culture”.

Bazin said he “is convinced that Accor has it all and can control its own destiny. We are the biggest hotel operator in the world by number of bedrooms and larger than the 2nd, 3rd and 4th operator put together”.

d’Estaing is confident that Club Med “has the ability to grow the company on an international level”, whilst Glennie responded that the “untapped growth potential is what is moving us forward. They are still small enough to really shape our brands”.

BA 777s
BA 777s

 HM flew to Berlin with British Airways. BA flies to Berlin via London and the author recommends flying in Club World (Business Class), which features flat-bed seats, hundreds of hours’ entertainment on demand, a great selection of wine and some of the best meals in the sky. For bookings, visit www.ba.com

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