chang­ing rooms

Ben­jamin Coren spoke to three in­dus­try lead­ers to find out their plans and seek their views on the is­sues af­fect­ing the ho­tel sec­tor

The Business Travel Magazine - - Hotels -

Q. With con­sol­i­da­tion tak­ing place among ho­tel groups, what are your plans in this area and what are your views on con­sol­i­da­tion? Belinda Pote, Mar­riott Con­sol­i­da­tion in the ho­tel in­dus­try is a trend that is likely to con­tinue over the com­ing years. With or­ganic growth be­com­ing in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing, es­pe­cially in ma­ture mar­kets, the frag­mented na­ture of the ho­tel in­dus­try lends it­self to growth by brand ac­qui­si­tion.

Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional ac­quired Star­wood Ho­tels & Re­sorts in Septem­ber 2016, cre­at­ing a com­pany with 30 brands and more than 6,500 ho­tels. In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing fur­ther choice for guests, the com­bined com­pany has gained scale, pro­vid­ing en­hanced value and eco­nomic ad­van­tages for own­ers, more ef­fi­cient de­ploy-ment of cen­tralised ser­vice funds, plus greater abil­ity to in­vest in sys­tems that drive prof­itabil­ity.

dim­itris Manikis, Wyn­d­ham If there is a good deal out there, there is no rea­son why we wouldn’t be look­ing. In the last 18 to 24 months we con­cluded the pur­chase of a great brand called La Quinta, which has 900 ho­tels. The new brand will be com­ing in 2019. We are in the game and we’re pleased with this ma­jor ac­qui­si­tion. We’ve got a board that has proven it is open to new op­por­tu­ni­ties when they come along. We are not the only in­dus­try where con­sol­i­da­tion plays a big role, look at air­lines and travel agen­cies – it is a sign of the times. Chris roe, ac­cor It’s been clear that Se­bastien Bazin (CEO) has been on the in­vest­ment trail. We’re out there look­ing and we’ve not been shy on ac­quir­ing and op­ti­mis­ing busi­ness. The ac­qui­si­tion of Raf­fles in 2016 launched us as a player. That’s con­tin­ued with Rixos.

We have to look at what’s right for our busi­ness and what’s right for our guests. The ac­qui­si­tion of Raf­fles has con­firmed us as spe­cial­ists in lux­ury. I think it en­ables us to keep with the cor­po­rate mar­ket. If there is cost-cut­ting we can go up and down the food chain of brands.

Q. What about the pro­lif­er­a­tion of brands? What are your plans for ex­ist­ing or new brands? BP The di­ver­sity of our brand port­fo­lio is a way to tai­lor the ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence to our guests. We are con­tin­u­ally in­vest­ing in our brands to en­sure that they stay top of mind in to­day’s com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place. For ex­am­ple, last month we an­nounced our new vi­sion for Sher­a­ton Ho­tels & Re­sorts, re­vert­ing to the brand’s roots as the gath­er­ing place for lo­cals and guests. We are also launch­ing our brands in new mar­kets. In May, we de­buted Delta Ho­tels in Europe with the open­ing of Delta Ho­tels by Mar­riott Frank­furt Of­fen­bach. The Delta Ho­tels port­fo­lio now en­com­passes more than 50 prop­er­ties, with a pipe­line of over 30 signed projects in North Amer­ica, Europe, and Asia. dm We’ve got 20 ho­tel brands and all 20 of them fit a pur­pose and as a com­pany we have a duty to give ev­ery brand sub­stance and pro­vide sup­port.

From a new brands per­spec­tive I would use the ex­am­ple of Trade­mark. It’s a brand we de­vel­oped a year ago and there are 50 Trade­mark ho­tels al­ready. It’s a soft brand, so it al­lows in­di­vid­u­al­ity and al­lows cer­tain DNA to take ad­van­tage of what we do. Con­sumers dic­tate what we need but I think we per­fectly fit in the seg­ment.

With over 9,100 ho­tels it would be dif­fi­cult to say we’re miss­ing out any­where. We’ve got the Dolce brand for the meet­ings and events busi­ness and we pur­chased it be­cause it re­flected what our MICE and cor­po­rate clients want.

Cr Our fo­cus right now is on in­te­gra­tion. The next brand for us to in­te­grate is Moven­pick. It’s re­gion­ally very strong in the Mid­dle East and that’s the next one to go through – it gives us strength in mul­ti­ple Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries.

In the UK we like to chal­lenge and get un­der the skin of what the cus­tomer is look­ing for, leisure and busi­ness trav­eller alike. For ex­am­ple with Ibis brands, a frus­tra­tion for cus­tomers was check-in and check-out so in new ho­tels we are not putting in re­cep­tions, but in­stead hav­ing mo­bile check-ins with staff who have mo­bile de­vices and cus­tomers are checked-in by some­one who has a mo­bile de­vice. Check-in is now faster and there is no check-out, with the in­voice sim­ply emailed to cus­tomers. Q. Are there any par­tic­u­lar plans for ex­pan­sion this year and be­yond? What can you share? Bp In 2017 we an­nounced our 2020 vi­sion which in­cluded grow­ing our port­fo­lio by an ad­di­tional 90,000 signed rooms by the end of 2020. Fol­low­ing the Star­wood ac­qui­si­tion, we reval­u­ated and amended these goals and our fo­cus now here in Europe is to be ‘num­ber one where it counts’. We are al­ready the largest op­er­a­tor of lux­ury and up­per up­scale ho­tels in Europe, and we see great po­ten­tial to ex­pand our mid-mar­ket and life­style brands such as Aloft, Court­yard by Mar­riott and Moxy. Moxy is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing. We launched the first Moxy Ho­tel in Europe in 2014 and we now have 19 open across the con­ti­nent. And more than 50 Moxy ho­tels across 40 des­ti­na­tions are ex­pected to open be­tween now and 2020 show­ing the phe­nom­e­nal de­mand for this af­ford­able life­style brand.

DM We choose our lo­ca­tions based on a lot of facts such as ad­vice from de­vel­op­ers and own­ers. We speak to them to find out which brand would best suit them. It serves the pur­pose of our own­ers as it has a fo­cus – for ex­am­ple, brands fo­cus­ing on the MICE mar­ket. We would love for all our brands to be ev­ery­where. If you take on one brand af­ter the other in a city you can eas­ily have any num­ber of our brands. We buy brands for our cus­tomers to ex­pe­ri­ence them and for our own­ers to make money out of them.

Cr In May we ac­quired At­ton in Chile who have 11 ho­tels and in April we ac­quired a 50% stake in the South African Man­tis Group which has bou­tique ho­tels and eco lodges.

We’ve got the grow­ing Ada­gio brand and that ser­vices busi­ness trav­ellers who want an ex­tended stay op­tion. I think the chal­lenge it faces are that a lot of cor­po­rates stay away from pri­vate ex­tended stay op­tions but Ada­gio has maid ser­vices and meets reg­u­la­tions that cor­po­rates in­sist on. With project and con­sult­ing work, you see cor­po­rates mov­ing to­wards it. At the same time, Ada­gio is not a lux­ury prod­uct and I think there is a gap in the mar­ket there that One Fine Stay can fill. Q. How much of a threat is Airbnb and the shar­ing econ­omy, and how are you ad­dress­ing it? Bp We wel­come healthy com­pe­ti­tion and em­brace the chal­lenges it brings. It has cer­tainly been a dis­rupter in our in­dus­try and has prompted ho­tel com­pa­nies to think dif­fer­ently about guest needs and be­hav­iour.

In April this year we launched Trib­ute Port­fo­lio Homes – a six-month home-shar­ing pi­lot in part­ner­ship with Host­maker, a Lon­don-based home rental man­age­ment com­pany. We selected 200 ex­cep­tional homes across Lon­don and put in place a set of en­hanced re­quire­ments con­sis­tent with our com­pany’s over­all ap­proach to guest ac­com­mo­da­tions. This pi­lot has been an im­por­tant step in un­der­stand­ing the in­ter­sec­tion of hos­pi­tal­ity and home shar­ing, and how this type of ac­com­mo­da­tion can com­ple­ment our ex­ist­ing port­fo­lio.

DM The shar­ing econ­omy gives peo­ple the chance to travel. Airbnb has their busi­ness model and we’ve got ours. I think there is room for ev­ery­body. At Wyn­d­ham we have ev­ery­thing the trav­eller needs in the place they need it and at the time they need it.

Cr Airbnb and Home­away ser­vice a lot of the small mar­ket but the big cor­po­rates have very strict poli­cies in place for what their trav­ellers can stay in. Trav­ellers have to com­ply with these poli­cies and I think we’re bet­ter placed to ser­vice that go­ing for­ward.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.