Kenneth Macpherson, IHG Hotels and Resorts

In the 22nd edition of the HM Industry Leaders Forum, HM invited leading hoteliers, tourism professionals and suppliers across Asia Pacific and the world to their insights into the hotel landscape and their outlook for the year ahead.

Here, IHG Hotels and Resorts Chief Executive Officer – EMEAA, Kenneth Macpherson, shares his optimism for what 2024 holds for the hotel industry, in Australasia and Pacific and around the world.

This time last year, I wrote in these pages about the ongoing recovery we were seeing in many markets. Fast forward 12 months and – despite the challenges that remain – it’s great to know that the outlook continues to be positive. Confidence in travel has returned across the globe, people are booking trips for leisure and business, and demand for hotel stays is surpassing 2019 levels in numerous destinations.

This feel-good factor is never something that we should take for granted, and at IHG Hotels and Resorts we have started 2024 focused on a strategy that’s seeing us grow our business and support those of our owners by making exciting investments that drive returns and deliver world-class guest experiences.

Elie Maalouf took over as IHG’s Global CEO in May, since when we have evolved our plans at both local and global levels, including across important markets such as Australasia and Pacific. We’re both very excited about our future in this beautiful part of the world, where we have superb properties, run by exceptional hotel teams, and collaborate with outstanding partners.

Of course, just as important as what you do is how you do it, and I’m proud that IHG’s commitment to responsible business will continue to shine through this year – just as it did over the past 12 months as we supported the victims of 14 natural disasters, including the Auckland floods, and made strong progress in all areas of our Journey to Tomorrow 10-year plan.

Leading our business in the region since 2018 has been my esteemed colleague and friend, Leanne Harwood. As many of you will know, Leanne [started] a new role within IHG as SVP, Managing Director Luxury and Lifestyle for the Americas on March 1 – a wonderful achievement of which she and her team should be very proud. It’s clear recognition of Leanne’s outstanding contribution to IHG while based in Sydney, from where her stewardship of our business has left us in a strong position to continue to drive growth in partnership with our owners.

The progress we’re making was also recognised at the HM awards at the end of last year, where I was honoured to be named APAC Hotelier of the Year – an accolade I consider to be a team award and recognition for everything my colleagues in the region are achieving. Thank you again for that, and my gratitude also to the Australian Federal, State and Territory governments, Accommodation Australia and the Tourism and Transport Forum for all of your ongoing support.

I look forward to seeing many of you at AHICE Asia Pacific in Adelaide this May, where it’s always a pleasure to reconnect with many friends and partners and support the AHICE brand, which continues to go from strength to strength.

Here’s to another year of collaborations and success in 2024.

Discover more insights from leading hotels in the 2024 HM Industry Leaders Forum.