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  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • Success in the Sunshine State: Highlights from HFTP's 2018 Florida Regional Conference

    The beautiful Sarasota Westin Hotel — with its bright white facade, multitudinous windows and stunning rooftop pool area — made a very picturesque setting for the 2018 HFTP Florida Regional Conference, which took place July 25–27, 2018.

  • Annual Convention 2018: A True HFTP Experience in the Land of the Kentucky Derby

    On the bank of the Ohio River in the east south-central region of the United States looms Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville — home to the famed Kentucky Derby horse race, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Louisville Slugger baseball bats.

  • Members Only: IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

    By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems.

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'Optimistic with a hint of caution' was the sentiment at IHIF 2018

Questex ·16 March 2018
BERLIN -- Last week, over 2,300 delegates from over 80 countries gathered at the InterContinental Hotel in Berlin for the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF). This marked the largest delegation in the events 21-year history. This year also brought 70 sponsoring companies supporting and exhibiting during the event and over 800 companies represented across the conference.The theme for this year's forum; Reaching New Heights, was present throughout the conference programme and the exhibition space, including the new Tech Hub. The Tech Hub was created to reflect the consistently changing nature of the industry and provided an innovative space for the hospitality industry's leading minds to discover the latest in technology and data solutions to progress their business. The conference theme was also relevant to the news released throughout the event. This was dominated by Carlson Rezidor announcing a rebrand to Radisson Hotel Group and the launch of an ambitious five-year operating plan to position the business as one of the top three hospitality companies in the world. Further news released during the conference is available here. Inspirational key note speaker, Cathy O'Dowd delivered a captivating and emotional recount of her quest to, quite literally reach new heights, as she, having skillfully become the first woman to successfully reach the summit of Mount Everest from both south and north sides, then attempted a new route on one of the world's top 10 mountains - the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat.The conference programme was carefully curated to feature the most prevalent topics across the hotel investment community and the overall sentiment was one of optimism, certainly from a trading perspective as Robin Rossman, Managing Director at STR presented the Global Investment Outlook 2018 and noted that occupancies now are almost 10% higher than they were in the previous peak during 2008 and that "during 2018 we expect to see another year of 5%+ RevPAR growth across Europe." This was echoed by investors during a session discussing investor intentions in 2018 which opened with the following from Keith Lindsay, Managing Director, EMEA, CBRE Hotels who stated "there is a wall of money looking at the hotel sector at the moment" and noted that "2017 was a bout of frenzy and with all the capital formation happening at the moment, 2018 is likely to see more of that." The CBRE Hotels investor sentiment survey claimed that 37% of investors are looking for capital growth in 2018, against 24% in 2017.For all the positive current and forecast statistics, there was a note of caution throughout the discussions and presentations. Coley Brenan, Partner, Head of Europe, KSL Capital Partners, said "there are clouds on the horizon, a lot of industries will be impacted, ours included, but I remain positive" and this note of careful optimism was also noted by Megan Greene, Managing Director and Chief Economist at Manulife Asset Management who provided the economic outlook and noted that the combination of dangerous high debt levels, low productivity and low inflation mean that "secular stagnation is here to stay".As always, emerging talent and commitment to the hospitality industry was recognised and 2018 saw the IHIF and ISHC Young Leader award introduced by John Fareed, Managing Director of Horwarth and Chairman of ISHC and presented to Tina Yu, Senior Vice President at KSL Capital Partners and the IHIF 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Adrian Zecha, who was interviewed by Liv Gussing Burgess, Managing Director, Luxury Hotel Consulting.Alexi Khajavi, Managing Director EMEA & Chair of Hospitality + Travel Group, Questex said "as an event, we are never arrogant enough to assume that people will simply attend the event and work tirelessly throughout the year to create the best conference experience possible. This mirrors the hospitality industry's quest to constantly deliver new and unique experiences for its guests. We're delighted to have hosted the most successful IHIF in its 21-year history and look forward to receiving feedback and using this to shape the 2019 event."The ever-popular global CEO panel drew a crowded room to hear Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotels admit that he was wrong when "four years ago when I was here I thought that brands could matter less, but I was wrong. Brands are like a group of friends, for every occasion you can count on them for a different purpose and that's what clients want. They provide a short cut in a very crowded world and have enormous value". Keith Barr, CEO, IHG hinted at an "acquisition of luxury brand to sit above InterContinental very soon" whilst, turning to innovation, Bazin reminded us of the relative infrequency that hoteliers see their customers when compared to Amazon, Google and Facebook and that the challenge for the industry is to "increase the amount of times we interact with our customers". His point to well remember though is "Facebook, Amazon and others are missing the last mile as they never meet the customer. We do. They will never do it as it is capital intensive."The final day of the event focused on innovation, investment and new business opportunities. Salient and reoccurring points from the plenary sessions included the need for organisations to encourage experimentation in order to create a culture of innovation. Peter Verhoeven, Global Director of Partner Services at Booking.com said of experimenting within Booking.com "we need to accept that we fail more often than we succeed. Hopefully we don't make the same failure twice. That is how you go forward, slowly and gradually." He pointed to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning as ways of moving faster in innovation. Speakers from Expedia, NH Hotel Group and Village Hotel Club discussed the impact of Virtual Reality (VR), voice technology and block chain on the industry and widely agreed that these innovative technologies have the ability to better the industry, with the correct implementation and analysis.All of the final day sessions discussing innovation agreed that progress and development in this area had to be customer centric and investment in innovation should always be based on a consumer need.A selection of photos from the event can be accessed here.Continue to follow IHIF on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2018 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook, Instagram and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.IHIF 2019 will take place 4-6th March 2019.
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IHIF 2018 - Programme Overview

Questex · 8 March 2018
Gumas introduced Megan Greene, Managing Director and Chief Economist at Manulife Asset Management to provide the economic outlook. Greene opened with the view that "secular stagnation is here to stay", with "low growth and low inflations" being prominent contributing factors. She identified the differences between hard and soft data. The soft data indicators showed that businesses and consumers are feeling good in the US with manufacturing confidence at post crisis highs. However, Greene noted that "in 2017, every asset class was up - that's a warning sign. It shouldn't be like that." Looking at the hard data, the economic data, the picture was different, and globally, we are all suffering from over supply. Over supply of debt, over supply of regulation and, critically, over supply of work force. She noted that 2 billion people have been added to the workforce in 10 years. Persistently low productivity in the developed world is also a negative factor and Greene noted that although "AI may help productivity growth, I don't see any major growth in productivity coming down the line." Looking at debt levels, she noted, "every major economy has an increasing debt burden" and that "debt has only gone up since 2008." Greene admitted her current 5-year economic forecast for the US didn't currently include a recession but "that's not to say there won't be one." She also noted that business cycles are much longer than we have ever seen previously as central banks keep stepping in to support and rescue businesses in distress and that affects the natural cycle. Turning to Europe and the recent elections in Italy which would certainly result in a hung Parliament and France where people remain optimistic post Macron's election victory but he now faces backlash from French people as he tries to push through difficult reforms. This may mean he can't get to his European reforms which are on his agenda. On Brexit, Greene says it will be worse for the UK than the EU. Looking further afield to China, Greene notes the high risk here as public and private debt is well over 250% of GDP which she says is "dangerously high."Robin Rossman, Managing Director at STR presented the Global Investment Outlook 2018 and noted that occupancies now are almost 10% higher than they were in the previous peak during 2008 and "during 2018 we expect to see another year of 5%+ RevPAR growth across Europe." Turning to Asia and the Middle East, Rossman forecast another strong year with significant supply growth to continue in the Middle East and over 100,000 due to open before 2020 as Dubai maintains its position as the fourth most visited city in the world in the world. The year following the Brexit referendum saw a big boost in demand as the pound became cheaper allowing hoteliers to boost their rates. Occupancies have now turned negative with rate beginning to decline. Rossman said that "2018 will be challenging for London with 0-2% RevPAR growth." Looking at markets that had been affected by terror attacks, Barcelona, London, Berlin and Manchester saw no decline in RevPAR following with the only market that still hasn't recovered being Paris. The outlook for the Mediterranean was strong with city locations seeing a 40-50% RevPAR increase over last 4 years and resorts showing 50-60% growth.The IHIF 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award was then presented to Adrian Zecha, who was interviewed by Liv Gussing Burgess, Managing Director, Kuxury Hotel Consulting. When asked how he decided on new locations for his properties he said he has a "gut feel for new locations" and looks at factors including the natural surrounding and whether the place was as yet, undiscovered.Investors' intentions in 2018 and beyond was moderated by Keith Lindsay, Managing Director, EMEA, CBRE Hotels who opened the session by stating: "there is a wall of money looking at the hotel sector at the moment" and noted that "2017 was a bout of frenzy and with all the capital formation happening at the moment, 2018 is likely to see more of that." The CBRE Hotels investor sentiment survey claimed that 37% of investors are looking for capital growth in 2018, against 24% in 2017.During the session, Desmond Taljaard, Managing Director - Hotels, London & Regional said: "we're still trying to grow the Atlas business organically in the UK. People seem desperate to focus on the high labour aspect of the UK. Limited service still works and luxury is a good opportunity, despite the higher staff costs. I don't get the bit about the stuff in the middle."Coley Brenan, Partner, Head of Europe, KSL Capital Partners, said: "when we look across multiple cycles and look at consumer habits the UK remains super attractive. If you are here for the long run in resorts, you will see meaningful opportunities to exit in the next four to 10 years. If you looked 10 years ago hotels weren't core and now they are, so you can see that extending into resorts. It takes an institutional investor to show people why these are institutional classes." He added: "there are cloud on the horizon, a lot of industries will be impacted, ours included but I remain positive.Martin Bruhl, CIO and Member of the Management Board, Union Investment said: "What keeps us up and night is things like climate change. Do you not worry about sea levels rising? We've been successful building up a portfolio in Germany and in the US where we do operational leases. There is a lot of cap rate compression going on - we've tried to be ahead of the herd in development funding. There are so many operators that want to be asset light and there are certain regulatory restraints on both side which make it complex."Abhishek Agarwal, Managing Director, Real Estate, Blackstone, said: "we've made some investment in the resort sector, there seems to be an imbalance between the demand and supply side. To take an example of Spain, last year it saw 82 million international overnight visitors, it was the second most visited country globally behind France. That's huge. That's good for leisure business. If you look at European airline capacity and their order books - if you see where they're allocating in the future, Spain is growing by about 11%. If you look at secular demand drivers like people preferring experiences rather than goods, that's all driving demand. But if you look at supply, there is little. There is limited coastline in which to grow. The sector has not been invested as much as other areas have been. You have an opportunity to get the yield investing in underinvested businesses."The owners' view: increasing profitability was moderated by Jonathan Langston, Managing Director, HotStats in conversation with Cody Bradshaw, Managing Director, Head of European Hotels, Starwood Capital Group; Neil Kirk, Principal, Henderson Park; Anders Nissen, CEO, Pandox AB and John Ozinga, CEO AccorInvest. Nissen said, on OTAs: "now we have hundreds of distribution channels and just a few are held by brands. To get value you need to understand the OTAs and your own brand and the competitor set, and your local management and you need to work with all of that. We have a positive view of OTAs - they cost too much, but they create a lot of demand and they have introduced technology which we as an industry have not done ourselves. There may be so many more channels that the commission may come down and to call the OTAs the enemy is not right. They can deliver a revenue premium, but you have to work with channel managers, which is an expertise that the sector does not have. Kirk also noted the complexity with distribution channels and also said: "we need to work with the operators, the brand managers. We need to align ourselves with them, they have worked for a number of years with the same model - we can't just beat them up." Bradshaw said: "we're all students in this game and we're constantly learning, and part of our job is to facilitate the learning of best practice. There is a spectrum of asset management - on the one hand operators monitoring and the other is real in the trenches operations. Asset management is like peeling back an onion and you can go back a few layers and think you're gone quite deep or you can go even further back. You have to have your hands on it but do it in a collaborate way."Day 2The second day of IHIF 2018 opened with Andre Witshi, President of the Board of Governors at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne thanking IHIF for their continued support and noting 2018 marked 125 years since the school was founded in 1893. Witshi highlighted several areas of development for the school including a Village of Innovation which will open later this year and a Singapore Campus due to open in 2020.Russell Kett, Chairman, HVS - London Office then interviewed Federico J Gonzalez, President & CEO, Radisson Hotel Group and conversation inevitable centred around the announcement, during IHIF 2018, that the group were rebranding to the Radisson Hotel Group and setting out an ambitions 5-year plan. Kett asked whether the goals were achievable and measurable? Gonzalez replied that is was "not the number of rooms, but how you are recognised in the industry" and firmly believes that Radisson "have the conviction to deliver on these goals whilst creating memorable moments."The first panel session of the second day focussed on development trends and was moderated by Philip Ward, CEO Hotels and Hospitality Group EMEA, JLL. Joining the panel were David Etmenan CEO, Novum Hospitality, Raul Gonzalez, CEO, Barcelo, Thomas Magnuson, CEO and Co-Founder, Magnuson Worldwide, Pierre-Frederic Roulot, Chairman and CEO, Louvre Hotels Group and Michelle Woodley, President, Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Each speaker outlined their hottest development markets and gave the reasons why.Ward opened by highlighting that more than 50% of the 2.3million global pipeline is with the big four. Magnuson said: "we function best when there's times of struggle, because we help owners put cash back into their operation. There are some icebergs in the water like Brexit, Airbnb - and both vastly underestimated. We want to help the independent hotelier fight against the rise of the OTAs and the rise of the brands. In the UK and the US, we don't compete with the Hiltons or the Marriotts, we started at the grass roots, in the small towns. When you get outside the big cities that's the vast middle, where you get 80% of the hotel stock. We are excelling as a conversion brand. Magnuson believes there will be a place for the likes of the Hiltons and the Marriotts in 10 years' time, but it's going to be very different. It will not be the kind of top-down environment that started in the 1950s. It's going to get a lot more fragmented." Ward concluded the session by saying: "it's not a question of the hottest markets, it's the one that's are struggling the most."The IHIF and ISHC Young Leader award was introduced by John Fareed, Managing Director of Horwarth and Chairman of ISHC who reminded us that the award was created to recognise exceptional talent and celebrate excellence in the hospitality industry. The winner of the award, Tina Yu, Senior Vice President at KSL Capital Partners accepted the award and said she was "grateful for vote of confidence and to her colleagues who empower her". She said she was extremely excited to continue her career in this exciting industry.The final plenary session of the second day was the global CEO panel moderated by Andreas Scriven, Head of Hospitality & Leisure, Deloitte in conversation with Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group; Keith Barr, CEO, IHG; Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotels, Chris Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton and Patrick Pacious, President and CEO, Choice Hotels International.Nassetta opened with comment on the success of their recently launched Tru brand saying: "Tru is like a rocket, we have 20 open, with 50 scheduled to open next year and 100 more in 2020. The purpose of having multiple brands is to be able to serve any customer, wherever they are, with any need they have."Bazin said that Accor have 24 brands, half they bought and half they created. He also said that "four years ago when I was here I thought that brands could matter less, but I was wrong. Brands are like a group of friends, for every occasion you can count on them for a different purpose and that's what clients want. They provide a short cut in a very crowded world and have enormous value".When the panel were asked how sustainable brand growth is, Pacious suggested that "brands need to evolve and you need to take care of brand equity. There is a way to take your brand and make it relevant." Barr announced that IHG would be launching a conversion brand later this year and announcing the acquisition of luxury brand to sit above InterContinental very soon.Bazin noted that: "the problem with our industry is that we see our customers 3 or 4 times a year. Facebook interacts with customers 12 times a day, Amazon 4 times a week and we need to increase the amount of times we interact with our customers. However, Facebook, Amazon and others are missing the last mile as they never meet the customer. We do. They will never do it as it is capital intensive." Bazin said that he wanted AccorHotels to be at the top of consumers minds for anything service related.Barr feels "the industry is better at branding today than it was 10 years ago and uses owners in advisory role when creating brands. Companies that succeed the best, really engage with their owners and are always learning and focussing."Pacious was asked how Choice Hotels are leveraging technology and said that they had been a technology company for 30 year and "10 years ago they built a PMS system in the Cloud (which provided spectacular cost savings and time efficiencies) and had recently built their reservation system in the Cloud as well." HeBazin concluded by reminding us that AccorHotels have an innovation lab comprising around 30 people, 25 years old on average, and identified mobility as the next big challenge on the hospitality horizon, both in terms of bringing the hotel to the customer, rather than getting them to come to you and also facilitating mobile payments within the industry.

Highest number of CEOs attend IHIF 2018

Questex ·28 February 2018
Tess Pearson, Event Director for IHIF said on behalf of Questex; "there is simply no other event that attracts this executive level of leadership from across the hotel industry. It is a mark of true global collaboration and we're delighted to be able to host an event where the hotel industry, at its most senior level, gain value in attending."CEOs are attending from AccorHotels, AccorInvest, Algonquin Management Partners, Amaris Hospitality, Apple Leisure Group, Aprirose, Ascendas Hospitality, AVW GLOBAL, Barcelo Hotel Group, Borealis Hotel Group, Bridge Group GmbH, BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, CDL Hospitality Trusts, Centriq Hotel Management, Choice Hotels International, CORINTHIA HOTELS, Deutsche Hospitality, DHotels Srl, Dorint GmbH, Dream Hotel Group, Dur Hospitality Company, Eden Hotels, Elegant Group Portugal, Emaar Hospitality LLC, Ennismore, EURAGONE, EVENT Hotels, Fauchon Hospitality, FBD Hotels & Resorts, FMTG-Falkensteiner Michaeler Tourism Group AG, Frasers Hospitality, GATROOMS, GE Hospitality, GIHSA, Gleneagle Hotel Group, GLH Hotels Management, Grace Hotels, Grape Hospitality Group, H.n.h. Hotels & Resorts S.p.A., Hilton, IHG, Ingrid Hotels Spa, Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Kerten Hospitality, LHM srl, Ligula Hospitality Group, LodgeWorks Partners Corporation, Louvre Hotels Group, Lungarno Collection, M&L Hospitality, Magnuson Worldwide, MEININGER Hotels, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, Nelson Group, NH Hotel Group SA, Nira Hotels & Resorts, Nordic Property Management, Novum Hospitality, Pandox AB, Paris Inn Group, PPHE Hotel Group, PREM Group, Radisson Hospitality AB, RIMC Schweiz Hotels & Resorts AG, Rixos Hospitality, Room Mate Group, Ruby Hotels & Resorts GmbH, SACO, Sani / Ikos Group, Scandic Hotels, Standard International, Staycity Aparthotels, stays design Hotel GmbH, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd., The Know Group, Vienna House, Village Hotel Club, Welcome Hotels, Windward Hotels, Wyndham Hotel Group, Yays, Yotel Ltd, Zleep Hotels A/S.IHIF 2018 takes place 5-7th March 2018 at the InterContinental Hotel in Berlin. Registration is still open via the website.Continue to follow IHIF on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2018 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook, Instagram and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.
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IHIF 2018 Launches the IHIF Hotel Tech Hub

Questex · 7 February 2018
Technology permeates every aspect of the hospitality industry. To reflect this wide spread prevalence and demonstrating their commitment to delivering a relevant and topical event, the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) are launching the IHIF Hotel Tech Hub, new for 2018.The IHIF Hotel Tech Hub will be an immersive space where hotel owners, operators and their partners can gain the tools to understand the latest technology trends and how to use them to grow asset value, improve customer engagement and gain competitive advantage. Over 20 expert speakers will present, debate and live demo the latest technology innovations across the 3-day event.Alexi Khajavi, MD EMEA, Questex Hospitality Group said of the new initiative; "every industry event comprises a significant technology component and that is to be expected in today's high-tech world. However, the IHIF Hotel Tech Hub has been specifically designed to connect investors and owners directly with technology providers and suppliers. Our aim with this initiative is to facilitate meetings, start conversations and ultimately get deals done. I can't stress strongly enough the value of this unique proposition to suppliers and investors alike. This dedicated space will allow technology providers to speak directly to those contracting and implementing technology into hotels."Rom Hendler, Founder and Managing Partner at InnoVel is supporting the IHIF Hotel Tech Hub and said of the new initiative: "The travel industry in general and the hotel industry in particular are in a dire need of innovation and new technology solutions to stay current, efficient and attractive. Many of the technology innovations are already in existence in other industries but fail to transfer to hospitality businesses. One of the main reasons for this is that the decision makers are often leaving critical decisions around technology to their IT leaders and those in many cases are not interested in the "additional work and risks" that come with it. The uniqueness of the IHIF Hotel Tech Hub is that it is exposing the top leaders of the industry to those type of solutions. It is one of the first opportunities where small start-ups or technology providers can meet the owners, the management companies, the brands and even the private equities, all looking for ways to make their businesses more profitable."Continue to follow IHIF on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2018 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us onFacebook, Instagram and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.
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Adrian Zecha to be given IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award

Questex ·11 January 2018
In a career spanning more than 45 years, Zecha has founded a series of hotel management companies and conceived and development more than one hundred hotels. His extensive career achievements are available to view, in full, here. In February 2017, Zecha and his team launched Azerai, a hotel brand positioned as a new benchmark in affordable luxury. Luang Prabang was its first destination and in December Azerai unveiled its 60-room resort in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.On being announced as recipient of the IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award 2018, Zecha said: "It is an honour to receive such prestigious recognition, although I must say that in my 45 years or so in the hospitality industry, I could not have achieved this milestone without the participation and encouragement of my colleagues and industry professionals."Tess Pearson, Event Director for IHIF said on behalf of Questex: "Adrian Zecha is undoubtedly a highly deserving recipient of this accolade. His vast career, from its origins in journalism and publications to hotel development has seen his involvement in many iconic organisations and brands. As we look towards 2018 and what the year ahead will bring for the hotel investment community, it feels only right to recognise an industry veteran who has so astutely foreseen the investment opportunities over the last four decades."The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be made on Monday 5th March at 15.25 followed by an interview. For more information on IHIF visit www.berlinconference.com.Continue to follow IHIF on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2018 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook, Instagram and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) Launch Top Mediterranean Resort Award

Questex ·14 September 2017
The shortlist of nominations has been selected by a panel of expert judges and in recognition of the nominee's dedication to furthering tourism across the Mediterranean through industry leading design, guest amenities and service. A winner will be selected from both the following categories:Top Mediterranean Resort - currently in operationTop Mediterranean Resort - currently in developmentPublic voting to select the winner is encourage and can be completed via the following link: http://www.mrandh.com/top-resorts. Voting will close on Thursday 21st September 2017. The winner will be announced shortly in advance of the third annual MR&H event (16th - 18th October 2017) with the prize giving ceremony taking place during the forum.Alexi Khajavi, Executive Vice President, Questex Hospitality + Travel commenting on the launch of the award said: "the Mediterranean resort sector is probably the most synonymous with tourism as we know it in the 21st century. From its roots as a vehicle to facilitate mass tourism and access to cultures, regions and experiences previously unexplored to the high luxury and multi-amenity developments we see today, this is a truly exciting area of our industry. We created Top Mediterranean Resort Award to acknowledge the best in class for this genre and look forward to meeting the nominees at the MR&H event this October which is being held at the PortAventura Convention Centre, Tarragona, Spain".MR&H is the Mediterranean's meeting place for mixed-use resort, hotel investment and development. Now in its third year, MR&H has become an established setting for business discussion, deal-making and discovering new and exclusive opportunities. The event takes place on the 16th - 18th October 2017 at the PortAventura Convention Centre, Tarragona, Spain. The following companies have already confirmed their attendance at MR&H 2017:AccorHotels - AllAboutConcepts - Amazing Evolution - ARCADIS ESPANA DESIGN & CONSULTANCY SL - Atoz S.A. - Azora - Bank Of America Merrill Lynch - Barings Real Estate Europe - Belmond - Best Western Hotels & Resorts - CAIXABANK - Camper & Nicholsons Marinas Ltd - Catalonia Hotels & Resorts - CBRE Hotels - Christie & Co - Colony Northstar - Dream Hotel Group - easyHotel plc - Enterprise Greece - European Golf Design - Eurosic - Eurowings - Fosun Property Holding - Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts - GfK Retail and Technology - Givi - Graham Associates - Griffin Partners - HAPPY HOLIDAYS S.A. - Hellenic Republic, Ministry of Tourism - Invesco Real Estate - Kerten - KSL Capital Partners Int. - LBRI - LifeOnTheMediterranean.com - LMEY Investments AG - MAZAL SRL - Neiko Enterprises - Neilson Active Holidays - noor design - Ombria Resort - Only-apartments - Pandox AB - Patron Capital - Petit Palace Hoteles - Proprietes & Co - Puccini Group - Quinta Pompeyo - Resources for Leisure Assets - ROOM MATE - Savills - Scape Design - Servotel - Slow Life Architects - Spinnia - TATWEER MISR - The Almanzora Group - Unexpected Ideas, S.L. - WATG - Worldwide Kids Ltd - Wyndham Hotel Group - XCO2The conference programme for MR&H delivers a balance of trend analysis, investor insight and funding patterns alongside more practical discussions such as the most efficient operating structure and managing the sometimes complex relationships between the various owners and operators involved in mixed-use developments. The programme is live and available to view here.Host venue for MR&H 2017, the world-class PortAventura Convention Centre is located on the Costa Dorada and only an hour from the centre of Barcelona. Complimentary shuttle buses will be provided to transport delegates to and from the airport.For more information on MR&H 2017, visit www.mrandh.com

Questex Appoints Debra Mason, Veteran Finance Executive, as CFO

Questex ·31 July 2017
NEWTON, Mass. -- Questex LLC, a leading global business event and information company, today announced the appointment of Debra S. Mason, a veteran finance executive, as chief financial officer, responsible for leading the company's global financial operations.Reporting to Kerry C. Gumas, Questex president and chief executive officer, Mason will be based in New York."Debra is a talented and accomplished leader with over 25 years of experience as a chief financial officer in relevant sectors including media, marketing and event services, advertising and market research," said Gumas. "Her track record demonstrates an ability to create value and growth for companies where she has been part of the leadership team. We look forward to Debra applying her financial and business expertise and collaborating with our executive team to drive value and growth for all our stakeholders. Mason previously served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for ALM Media LLC, a leading provider of specialized industry news and information, based in New York. Prior to that, she was chief financial officer for the Americas region of Ipsos, a global market research firm, where she spent nine years as a key advisor to the business leaders while driving efficiencies through process improvements and strategic cost reductions as well as assisting in the negotiations of acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and alliances."It is a great opportunity for me to join the Questex leadership team at this point in the company's growth trajectory," said Mason. "Questex has tremendous capabilities, talented people and growth potential. I'm excited to continue building on the company's success in global events and digital information products, bringing innovations to customers and creating value for our constituents."Her previous leadership positions include chief operating officer and chief financial officer of X Plus One Solutions Inc., a technology start-up formerly known as Poindexter Systems Inc.; six years with Interpublic Group, where she served as the global CFO of several divisions, including Jack Morton Worldwide, a global event marketing group, and NFO WorldGroup, a leader in market research; and CFO at full-service advertising agencies, including the independent brands of The Lowe Group, Mullen and Wolf Group.Mason began her career in auditing with PricewaterhouseCoopers and EY, formerly Ernst & Young. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics and a bachelor of science degree in accounting at The University at Buffalo School of Management, State University of New York. She is a certified public accountant in the State of New York and earned designations including Chartered Global Management Accountant and Certified Valuation Analyst.

Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) Programme Launched

Questex ·20 July 2017
The conference programme for the third annual Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) is now live and available to view here. MR&H is the Mediterranean's meeting place for mixed-use resort, hotel investment and development. Now in its third year, MR&H has become an established setting for business discussion, deal-making and discovering new and exclusive opportunities. The event takes place on the 16th - 18th October 2017 at the PortAventura Convention Centre, Tarragona, Spain. Whilst the Mediterranean region lends itself to a wide variety of investment possibilities, navigating the operational intricacies of this highly complex sector requires expert insight and advice. The most profitable developments often include residential real estate, a hotel operation, premium sports facilities, multiple F&B outlets and other amenities that need to work effectively together in order to be successful. The purpose of the unique MR&H Forum is to bring together experts across these areas to provide support and guidance to all stakeholders involved in mixed-use hospitality developments. The conference programme for MR&H delivers a balance of trend analysis, investor insight and funding patterns alongside more practical discussions such as the most efficient operating structure and managing the sometimes complex relationships between the various owners and operators involved in mixed-use developments.For more information on MR&H 2017, visit www.mrandh.comThe world-class PortAventura Convention Centre is located on the Costa Dorada and only an hour from the centre of Barcelona. Nestled amongst golf courses, beautiful beaches and with the attached hotel only a two minute walk through Mediterranean gardens, PortAventura Convention Centre will prove to be an inspiring, motivational (and fun) host for MR&H 2017.

Innovation & storytelling: Learn to think differently with Pep Torres, the first keynote speaker to be announced for Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H)

Questex ·13 June 2017
MR&H is proud to introduce keynote speaker Pep Torres: Spanish inventor, communicator, founder of Barcelona's Museum of Ideas and Inventions and Renaissance man. In an inspiring, humorous and surprising talk, he will share his insights on how to think differently.Pep Torres will take the MR&H audience through his story in an engaging talk covering among other things:Creating a unique place by focusing on the user's experience: when converting an industrial space to reinvent the classic museum concept, he says: "We have always said that any resemblance to a museum is just pure coincidence. This has been our starting point, trying to forget we were building a museum and just caring about how we could inspire visitors to believe in their ideas when they left our museum experience."Unleashing creativity : There's a clue in how he introduces himself: "They say that a creative adult is a child that has been saved. I could probably be defined by that quote as, in fact, there's a child in me to whom I consult everything..."Designing an experience that will stay on people's minds: the key according to him is to "touch their emotions: fear, happiness, nostalgia, surprise... Whatever emotion, just focus on that level."Fostering innovation in organisations: "In order to be innovative you must be brave, as all disruptive ideas need decisions that are difficult to make. It's not about good or bad ideas, but about ideas that you end up making, and others that you cowardly put back in a drawer."By participating in MR&H 2017, Pep Torres is looking forward to sharing with attendees: "the spirit that can light a spark when they go home and make them open all those forgotten drawers and putting old ideas back on the table again".5 facts about Pep TorresAuthor of more than 500 inventions, voted one of the world's 50 top inventors by Time MagazineFounder of the miba, Barcelona's Museum of Ideas and Inventions that is now travelling around cities as a pop-up museumDesigner of gastronomic experiences for 2 Michelin star chef Paco RonceroWriter of 8 books about inventions, thought and creativityHe runs an educational and social program for children promoting creativityThe first MR&H speakers to join Pep Torres - representing the region's leading investors, lenders, developers, hotel brands and more - will be announced soon. If you want more information on the programme or speaking opportunities, please contact jreygore@questex.comThe world-class PortAventura Convention Centre is located on the Costa Dorada and only an hour from the centre of Barcelona. Nestled amongst golf courses, beautiful beaches and with the attached hotel only a two minute walk through Mediterranean gardens, PortAventura Convention Centre will prove to be an inspiring, motivational (and fun) host for MR&H 2017.

Industry Leaders Gather for IHIF Advisory Board

Questex ·23 May 2017
An esteemed group of hospitality industry experts have gathered at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne in Switzerland for the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Advisory Board. The group meet annually to review the recent event, understand the current industry challenges and future trends and plan the event for the following year.One of the key themes arising from the meeting was the importance of focusing on the hospitality workforce. From the initial stages of attracting talented people to the industry, to roles that excite, motivate and engender productivity. There is also an urgent need to understand how to retain this talent in order to create a sustainable talent pool for the future. This topic will feature heavily in the programme for IHIF 2018; 5th - 8th March.Tess Pearson, Event Director, Questex Hospitality Group, hosts of IHIF commented, "The insights, opinions and knowledge of the IHIF Advisory Board are fundamental elements in shaping the approaching conference. We are honoured that these industry experts are able to take time from their busy schedules to participate in this preparatory meeting. The collaborative sharing amongst the Advisory Board is the very essence of IHIF and we are delighted to be able to bring this group together. We are grateful to Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne for once again kindly hosting this event".As part of the Advisory Board, Questex arranged a panel discussion comprising representatives from some of the leading organisations within the industry and invited students from Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne to attend. The session focussed on how the changes currently occurring within the hospitality industry are affecting careers and the skills now required by employers to be best prepared to address these changes. Key skills the panel mentioned were numeracy, people skills, flexibility and an openness to the outside world. In particular, Russell Kent, Chairman HVE London Office advised to: "be nimble, be flexible, be yourself".IHIF continually seeks the knowledge and experience from practitioners across the sector in order to create an industry leading event that includes the most relevant content and practises.For more information on IHIF visit www.berlinconference.com.Continue to follow IHIF on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2018 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

Questex launch 3rd Annual Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum

Questex ·16 May 2017
Questex Hospitality Group is proud to announce that the third annual Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) will be held 16-18 October, 2017 at the PortAventura Convention Centre in Tarragona, Spain. Part of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) series, MR&H offers a more intimate meeting place for the industry to network, share ideas and to build partnerships for mixed-use developments, hotel transactions and tourism projects.A unique tourism and business destination, the Mediterranean (from Southern and South-Eastern Europe to North Africa and the Levant) is a major attraction for investors in search for new projects but the diversity of market conditions across the region makes investment in real estate a challenging business. MR&H provides hospitality investors and key market stakeholders a complete overview of the region's different investment climates, regulatory frameworks and development opportunities, as well as the chance to meet partners, to showcase projects and to do the deals that will help shape growth in the Mediterranean."We are delighted to announce that the 3rd annual MR&H will be held in one of the region's most successful resort developments, in the buoyant market of Spain. This event is designed to provide learning, networking and deal making opportunities for the specific needs and market conditions of the Mediterranean region, bringing together investors, developers, local authorities, tourism experts and hoteliers. It is a perfect complement to our flagship IHIF event in Berlin, with a more focused programme on the specific assets, opportunities and challenges in the region," says Alexi Khajavi, Senior Vice President of Questex Hospitality.Over the course of three days, attendees will benefit from 15 hours of industry-leading debate covering the latest trends in hotel and resort investment across the Mediterranean region, 8 interactive breakout sessions, 10 roundtable discussions on key markets, daily networking meals and cocktail receptions and a speed networking business card exchange.This year's programme will provide an in-depth look at the region's diverse investment landscape, for participants to:Gain an in-depth understanding of the economic and geopolitical conditions across Southern Europe and Mediterranean markets in the year to comeExamine the investment opportunities in various regions across the MediterraneanAssess the investment potential in mixed-use resorts and their various components: residential, wellness, sports, leisure, entertainment, retail and moreDiscuss the investment and funding landscape and how to maximize returns on resort and hotel projectsJoin a multi-stakeholder discussion on developing destinations in the regionAnalyse new customer and industry trends through expert discussions and case studies from leading resortsEach of these subjects and more will be addressed by leading professionals, with many opportunities for the audience to join in and share their experiences.The world-class PortAventura Convention Centre is located on the Costa Dorada and only an hour from the centre of Barcelona. Nestled amongst golf courses, beautiful beaches and with the attached hotel only a two minute walk through Mediterranean gardens, PortAventura Convention Centre will prove to be an inspiring, motivational (and fun) host for MR&H 2017.

Optimism Amongst Hotel Investment Community at 20th Anniversary Global Gathering

Questex ·20 March 2017
Amidst a backdrop of European and international political and economic uncertainty, delegates gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) from 6-8thMarch at the Hotel InterContinental Berlin, Germany.Overall the mood of the industry was optimistic, albeit cautious, as all indicators pointed to generally strong appetite and demand. Roger Bootle, Chairman of Capital Economics opened his economic overview saying "the world economy was set reasonably fair."Whilst the attitude of the industry was hesitant, delegates joined together to celebrate 20 years of IHIF in style with multiple networking opportunities throughout the event creating a light-hearted yet productive atmosphere. New for 2017, the opening night reception, incorporating IHIF's 20th birthday party, took place amongst the exhibition stands and provided guests with a culinary tour of tastes from around the world. Musicians and entertainers reflected the geographical origins of the food and culture and created a fun and unique environment.The industry leading programme had been crafted to include both a retrospective look at the previous 20 years of the hospitality industry as well as a look at emerging and future trends as the speakers and audience looked forward to the next 20 years.IHIF continues to be the preferred platform to announce breaking news to the hotel investment community and the latest news stories from IHIF 2017 can be found here. Notable announcements included IHG stating that it has signed eight new hotels to the Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express brand in Germany and Hilton's news that they had passed the milestone of 100,000 rooms trading across its Europe, Middle East & Africa portfolio.The combination of such a broad delegate reach with the positioning of a deal announcing platform continues to attract numerous sponsors, representing a wide variety of sectors across the industry. The event welcomed several new sponsors for its 20th anniversary year.Turning to the takeaways from the conference, technology remains a significant focus for the hotel brands; accurate implementation, efficient analysis and productive use. Several speakers commented on how technology "enabled you to own the guest".Further key themes emerging from this year's industry leading event included the continued prominence of alternative accommodation providers, like hostels and Airbnb, who were pushing the hotel sector to adapt as the traditional boundaries blur. AccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin said during his keynote speech that "these were the companies that the industry needs to watch; they are very good and what they are doing is legitimate". A refreshingly realistic attitude perhaps and in contrast to those previously heard dismissing new entrants to the sector.Another noteworthy point, frequently repeated throughout the event, was the similarity between a brand and an OTA in terms of the restrictions, costs and stipulations on a hotel. Cody Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and Head of European Hotels at Starwood Capital said during his panel, "in the next 20 years something has got to give - the brand fees are not that different to the OTA fees."Innovation and differentiation remain vital to survival and success in this fast moving, consumer lead age. Every brand discussed and showcased new concepts, ideas and formats to entice customers to experience their brand.Tess Pearson, Event Director, Questex Hospitality Group, hosts of IHIF commented, "we are thrilled with the success of the 20th IHIF. We continually refresh and adapt the format of the event to excite delegates and will continue to provide the best in class hotel investment conference as long as there is appetite and demand for such an event. The feedback from this year's event certainly implies there is a strong need for a face to face meeting platform for the community and we look forward to launching IHIF 2018 next year."For more information and to register for IHIF visit www.berlinconference.com.Continue to follow IHIF on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2017 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

Roundup of The 2017 International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF), Berlin Germany

Questex ·13 March 2017
Over 2,000 delegates from across 80 countries are currently gathered at The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event. Widely recognised as the leading meeting place for the hotel industry, IHIF is known throughout the hotel investment world as the place where deals are done. The globally acclaimed conference is also the forum where companies choose to break their latest news. Having the hotel community in one place makes IHIF the ideal arena to share breaking news on acquisitions, openings, appointments and launches. The latest breaking news from IHIF 2017 includes:At IHIF today IHG announced that it has signed eight new hotels to the Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express brand in Germany. This announcement followed the news that that IHG achieved record signings in 2016. Germany is IHG's second biggest market in Europe with 69 hotels and 38 in the pipeline.During IHIF 2017, Hilton announced that it has passed the milestone of 100,000 rooms trading across its Europe, Middle East & Africa portfolio. There are also 40,000 rooms currently under construction and expected to open by the end of 2020. Germany is a key market for Hilton with six hotels slated to open in Berlin and regional cities in 2017, totalling an investment of more than EUR120 million. The six properties scheduled to open this year are; Hampton by Hilton Freiburg, Hampton by Hilton Hamburg City Centre, Hampton by Hilton Berlin City Alexanderplatz, Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt City Centre, Hampton by Hilton Aachen Tivoli , Hampton by Hilton Dortmund Phoenix See.AccorHotels and Rixos Hotels announced, at IHIF, a strategic partnership illustrating AccorHotels' strategy to expand its presence in the upper upscale/luxury market, with a primary focus on developing global activities in the resort segment. Under a long-term joint venture, both parties intend to collaborate, develop and manage Rixos branded resorts & hotels worldwide. Upon closing, AccorHotels will own a 50% interest in the joint venture management company.Melia Hotels International confirm the new Palau de Congressos de Palma (Convention Centre) and its adjoining hotel, the Melia Palma Bay will open on Saturday 1st April 2017. The Palau de Congressos de Palma (Convention Centre) enjoys one of the best locations on Palma's Paseo Maritimo seafront, only five minutes from the airport, the cathedral and the historical heart of the city, and offering spectacular views of Palma Bay.Hamilton Hotel Partners, an independent, world-class hotel advisory company offering unparalleled hotel asset management, hotel management, and development services is set to expand further across Europe. The firm is appointing Tobi Weissinger as a Director, with immediate effect, to lead expansion of their services across the Continent.PWC released their European cities hotel forecast during the conference showing European city hotels set for continued growth in 2017-18, despite security and geopolitical uncertainty. Salient points from the report include strong economic growth forecast for Portugal, Spain, Greece and Ireland, the weak pound to boost tourism in London during 2017 and Germany overtaking the UK in M&A volumes in 2016.Cushman & Wakefield has appointed one of the most respected names in the hospitality sector, Jon Hubbard, to head up its EMEA Hotels & Hospitality business. Reporting to EMEA Chief Executive John Forrester, Hubbard will be responsible for leading and growing Cushman & Wakefield's EMEA hospitality practice. He has nearly 30 years of EMEA hotel market experience across multiple service lines, advising on everything from economy hotels to international five star properties, and from single assets to large portfolios.JLL's Hotels & Hospitality Group has been appointed by joint administrators Thomas Campbell MacLennan and Alexander Iain Fraser of FRP Advisory, to sell the Holiday Inn Express City Centre and Holiday Inn Aberdeen West hotels in Scotland. Both hotels are available separately or as a package and are subject to existing franchise agreements with IHG. JLL have also been appointed to sell the Lea Marston Hotel, North Warwickshire and The Abbey Hotel, Worcestershire as well as the Park Lane Mews Estate, London which includes the Park Lane Mews Hotel with has 72 guest rooms. Further details here.HVS selected the IHIF platform to release their European Hotel Lending Survey, European Hotel Transactions and 2017 European Hotel Valuation Index (HVI) to the marketplace. The research showed hotel transaction volume across Europe reached EUR17.8 billion in 2016, down 25% on 2015 and that Europe has seen an upturn in the availability of hotel financing due to low interest rates and strong performance. The full reports are available here.

Day 2 Summary from IHIF

Questex · 8 March 2017
The second day of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) started with a warm welcome from Kerry Gumas, President and Chief Executive Officer, Questex LLC who then made a generous donation of $30,000 to Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne. The cheque was presented to Remi Walbaum, Chief Innovation and Valorisation Officer at Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne.Gumas then introduced Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotels, to the stage to talk about what the next hotel group models are in his opinion. Bazin opened his presentation stating "AccorHotels has never, ever been stronger" and also announced that the business would be adopting an asset light structure. He was quick to say that Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, etc are the companies this the hotel industry need to watch. "they are very good and what they are doing is legitimate." He said "every time they grow, they take something away from me. They also bring me something, they bring me traffic.".He said that historically AccorHotels has been very asset heavy and very labour intensive. He is proud of the 240,000 employees across 95 countries and their commitment to the brand. However he pointed out that none of the successful digital players are asset heavy or labour intensive and the goal for AccorHotels is to have the same level of interaction with their guests as the digital brands do, typically 3 or 4 times a day. He said "whatever we do, we need to be customer-centric; stop looking at yourselves and look at your clients. Stop imposing your brand, your promise, your intent. Listen to what they want and react".He said that hotels were still a viable business but unlikely will grow more than 10% per annum. That is in comparison to the 10/15/20/40% rates of growth that Expedia, Booking.com, Uber and the other digital brands are experiencing. He feels "we need to tap in to what they do, we need to adapt". He pointed out that "AccorHotels have never been stronger in development they have one new hotel opening every 36 hours, around the world."The next session focused on the Evolution of the OTAs and David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council interviewed Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, The Expedia Group. Scowsill asked Khosrowshahi about the level of commission currently charged by Expedia and the other OTAs. Khosrowshahi said Expedia has been "bringing commissions down over a long period of time and we now need to pass these savings on to customers, shareholders and partners". He highlighted the trend of de-bundling and gave airlines as an example of how they now charge for each element; seat, food, luggage, etc and said that this is the way the hotel operators should choose to steer their businesses. He felt the internet was mainly responsible for tearing apart pricing into its components and creating the popular bundle pricing models we are seeing today.Asked about Google and their moves into the tourism space he said "Google is a marketing platform and a very important strategic partner for us" but decline to comment any further. He did state that "the market is consolidating, the amount of technology you need to invest is this business is getting higher and higher". He thinks that alternative lodging is going to be a very important - reference the 2015 purchase of HomeAway by Expedia for $3.9m - and a powerful factor for the future of our business. He feels we are at the start of a new wave of travel growth and the alternative lodging sector is "currently where eBay was 5 years ago" but through combining technology with distribution, this could be a real opportunity for brands and owners.He feels Airbnb is "both a threat and an opportunity, anytime new supply is introduced new supply, it's a threat to pricing and the opportunity is that it will introduce new travellers."Scowsill said that "China will dominate the future of the travel industry for all of us" and Khosrowshahi agreed saying Expedia were "focusing on the outbound Chinese travel market." When asked about President Trump Khosrowshahi said "the fact that the ban is not based on fact is what worries me the most". Khosrowshahi concluded by saying "travel is a force for good and brings people together."The next session was Re-thinking Strategies for Maximum Opportunities hosted by Mark Finney, Head of Hotels & Resorts in conversation with John Brennan, CEO, Amaris Hospitality, Jean-Philippe Chomette, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Algonquin, Andreas Locher, Head of Division Investment Management Hotel, Union Investment Real Estate and Camil Yazbeck, Partner, Investment Director - Hospitality, Patron Capital Advisers LLP. Yazbeck said: "we look at hotels where there is opportunity for a growth model, like the Generator Hostel model. We liked the model, bought it, and improved it". He said they only hold assets generally for 3-5 years and do all the asset management in-house.When asked about asset management on their assets, Chomette answered "it's the performance and health of the asset that dictates how much asset management is required."Finney asked the panel about OTAs and their attitudes towards them. Brennan said they were the "frenemy" and said "we need to optimise the performance of the brands and assets in the context of OTAs". Chomette made the point that "OTAs are part of life now and we have learned how to live with them." He also said that people seem to have forgotten that before OTAs there were tour operators who were taking 15-20% commission.Raj Chandnani, Vice President, Strategy, WATG, Wimberly Interiors gave the next lightning talk on the subject of design and staying ahead of the curve in a fast-moving world. He said "memories are formed from individual moments" and it was vital to understand:Who is the customer?Why are they coming?What are they willing to pay for?Where are they coming from?Chandnani mentioned the first "Instagram hotel" in Sydney, Australia as a new model of experiential accommodation and warned that "cookie cutter design solutions are no longer acceptable." He said consumers wanted "bespoke design that truly differentiate" and that "design elements need to be intuitive". His final thought was that the industry needs to "reconnect hospitality with humanity."The next session was the presentation of the IHIF Young Leader Award to Eva Bachmann, Director of Acquisitions and Strategy at MEININGER Hotels. David Neff, Chairman of The International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) presented award. In her acceptance speech, Eva said she was "privileged to be recognised for my contributions to an industry which I am truly passionate about".The final plenary session of Day 2 was the CEO Debate: Striving in a Changing Market. Moderated by Russell Kett, Chairman, HVS London Office in discussion with Puneet Chhatwal, CEO, Deutsche Hospitality, David Kong, President & CEO, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Stefan Leser, Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeriah Group, Simon Naudi, CEO, Corinthia Hotels and Pierre-Frederic Roulot, CEo, Louvre Hotels Group, CEO Jin Jiang Europe. Kett asked about the effect of Brexit and the volitility across Europe on their respective businesses. Kong replied that "it is important to focus on the brand building of your business in times like this; focus on what you can control and influence". Leser said that their development plans for the future included "investing heavily in our products to keep the assets current" and Jumeirah would be developing further in China. Naudi's goals for this year for Corinthia involve "continuing to put a focus on quality, not forgetting we are hoteliers and we need to give good service to our customers." Roulot will be investing in the growing market across Asia whilst working on the loyalty of the customer to the brand.Kong wants to establish the best loyalty programme in the industry for Best Western as this is "our best defence against the OTAs" as he feels that "in 20 years, hotel loyalty programmes will be as relevant as they are today."Naudi said that Corinthia have joined the Global Hotel Alliance comprising around 600 hotels. This was a good solution for Corinthia as "we share technology and cross reference but maintain our own identity".Another question was how the brands really differentiate? Naudi said that because they were "owners, investors and developers they look at the industry differently" and carefully consider the type of talent they attract who can think on all three levels. Roulot was cautious that "sometimes when you are big, you destroy the value of a business" and Chhatwal encouraged us to "stay true to your DNA"Looking at how best to innovate Naudi said they were currently recruiting for a newly created role of Director of Innovation at Corinthia and also mentioned the success of moving the florist at their London hotel, traditionally located in the basement, to the foyer. Leser said the environment in Dubai was generally conducive to innovation but said he faced the challenge of how to remove the hierarchy traditional found in hotel companies that would lead to empowerment of staff, thus enabling innovation. Kong echoed this when he asked how to "evolve the culture of a company in order that it embraces innovation. "Many companies have great ideas but the culture needs to enable the innovation".The final question Kett asked his panel was on the subject of F&B in hotels and how to drive revenue through it. The responses from the panel were mixed; Kong said it was "very difficult, particularly in the US, due to the high level of good competition" whereas Chhatwal said "I see F&B as the biggest upside for us" and Roulot concluded by saying that "a restaurant is an opportunity to differentiate the hotel."A wide variety of breakout sessions ran across the afternoon concluding with a Gala Networking Reception at the Hotel InterContinental Berlin.The third day final day of the event starts at 9.00am CET tomorrow, Weds 8th March.

Day 1 Summary from IHIF

Questex · 7 March 2017
Berlin -- The 20th International Hotel Investment Forum began today at the Hotel InterContinental Berlin, Germany. Kerry Gumas, President and Chief Executive Office, Questex LLC welcomed over 2,000 delegates from over 80 countries to the conference. Gumas outlined that the programme for this year's event was split into three distinct days; day 1 would focus on rethinking hotel investment over the last 20 years, day 2 would examine the various business models across the industry and day 3 would explore innovative in its various forms with the hospitality sector.Providing the economic outlook was Roger Bootle, Chairman, Capital Economics who started his presentation stating "the world economy was set reasonably ok". However, looking to the US, he predicted that President Trump's promise of an increase in spending and a reduction in taxes would lead to a surge in borrowing and an increase in government debt. Further uncertainties for the US include the rising dollar and whether Trump will stay the course of his term in office.Looking to the Eurozone, Bootle noted major divergences between countries; Ireland and Spain showing particularly strong growth whilst Italy had very little. He referenced the various significant political events on the horizon and said; "I can't remember a time so fraught with political risk" and also noted that "if there is a fracturing in the Eurozone, it is likely to spread". Looking at the UK, Bootle noted three quarters of growth at a rate of 0.6% and reasons to be optimistic although inflation is increasing and earnings don't look set to match this increase which will "result in a squeeze on people's real incomes". Looking specifically at the City of London he said that it would "lose a bit of business and some jobs, but it will be marginal. Its position will remain strong". Looking at Europe he said "the last thing Europe needs now is stability, because stability means stagnation" and he concluded by stating that in his opinion "interest rates were going to go up sooner, further and faster" than widely predicted.The next session was 20/20 Vision: Looking Back 20 years, Looking Forward 20 Years hosted by Michael Hirst OBE, Consultant, CBRE Hotels, in conversation with Alison Brittain, Chief Executive, Whitbread and Richard Solomons, CEO, IHG. Hirst started with a retrospective look at their organisations and Brittain highlighted that "Whitbread was born in 642 to brew beer and we are still brewing, albeit coffee". Both Brittain and Solomons hail from the banking industry and Hirst asked what skills they felt they had bought with them from this industry?Brittain responded that she had experience across commercial, corporate and retail banking and these areas bought different skills but the retail banking side provided knowledge in high street management skills, digital technology, procurement and cost management.Both Solomons and Brittain are non-executive directors at M&S and Hirst asked what value they bought to this role. Both agree that the impact of digital and the challenges faced by any global franchise business are similar and therefore there were lessons to learn from the retail industry. Brittain said she can "bring independent experience and also gain a huge amount of insight. Each industry has the same problems but framed differently".When asked about the significant changes IHG has faced over the last 20 years, Solomons said the decision to adopt an asset light approach had been one which was "partly about returns but a lot about focus". He also said that the technology change was huge and thirdly that there was now a real focus on guests and IHG were developing brands around guests. He said IHG had seen its highest level of openings since 2007/2008.Asked about the future of Whitbread, Brittain said they were "happy with our structure". Whitbread are very unique and own and manage, either by freehold or leasehold, all of their properties. Brittain believes this is how they manage their service proposition. Whitbread currently have 85,000 new rooms scheduled by 2020.On expanding their brand offering, Solomons said "it's really important we continue to have brands that stand for something. we don't want another "me too" brand - it's got to deliver something to the marketplace".Asked about what they predicted was the biggest changes to the industry in the coming 20 years, Brittain said "artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics" and Solomons said technology, specifically mobile. IHG have seen a growth from $0 - $1.6m in 5 years of their mobile business. Solomons added "technology lets you own the guests".European markets that operate similarly to the UK are growth prospects for Whitbread and Germany is a key focus. Brittain felt they were never going to the get to the scale required to operate effectively in Asia so they pulled out of the region.10% of the IHG pipeline is Europe, specifically Germany, UK and Russia. China is also a key growth market. "we have cycles, we have ups and downs, and what is really important is taking a long term view" said Solomons. The next session on the programme was Hotel Investment Today, a collection of presentations from industry experts followed by a discussion. Starting the presentations was Robin Rossman, Managing Director, STR who provided the hotel performance trends. Salient points included that 2016 had been positive generally, in terms of RevPAR growth, but areas that had been affected by terrorism were clearly visible and suffering. 2017 is expected to be a good year with hot markets including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin and Madrid, recovery markets that are seeing stabilisation include Brussels, Moscow, Paris and Milan and over supply is affecting London. Edinburgh, Manchester and Frankfurt. Demand significantly outpaces supply in Barcelona.Jamie Chappell, Global Business Director, Horwath HTL provided delegates with insight on hotel investment in the global economic and political climate and stated that 2016 was the third strongest year on record in terms of hotel transactions. He said that "banks are still lending, private equity is dropping off but we're seeing a significant increase in funds, particularly in Europe, who are chasing after assets".Andreas Scriven, International Managing Director and Managing Director Consultancy, Christie & Co discussed consolidation and M&A activity noting that "hotel development will shift from mature to emerging markets" and that we will see "significant capital coming from Asia and Middle East fuelling M&A deals" along with "pressure from industry disrupters". Interestingly he foresees a "transformation in booking behaviour with major investment requirements". He concluded by saying "there is no end in sight for consolidation"Philip Ward, CEO Hotels and Hospitality Group EMEA, JLL concluded the presentations with insight into cross-border investment. He noted "China has increased investment in the hospitality sector by 80% from 2012 to 2016" and urged us all to "remember these global trends have been positive". He felt there was renewed interest in the hospitality industry from the Middle East - particularly upscale, luxury assets in major markets. Having just visited South East Asia, he saw that the region was very active. He also said that "US funds were showing an interest in the UK and Spain" and that overall there was "strong appetite and strong demand, a very positive outlook".Rossman felt alternative accommodation, including hostels, would be the most significant change to the hospitality industry in the next 20 years. Scriven noted the resilience of the sector and how it reinvents and reincarnates itself continuously. Ward noted that "the emergence of hotels as a mainstream real estate asset and the development of lodging REITs" has been one of the most significant changes to the industry over the past 20 years. All speakers agreed that the sector was experiencing a blurring of previously clear boundaries and responding to this would be a challenge for the future.The second annual HAMA Europe 2017 Asset Management Achievement Award was then presented to Chris Pfohl from Pyramid Hotel Group & Angelo Gordon by Theodor Kubak, President, HAMA Europe Chapter, Senior Investment Manager, Union Investment and Chad Sorensen, Partner, CHMWarnick.The next session, Investors on the Spot: Updating the Fundamentals of hotel Investment, was moderated by Nick van Marken, Global Head - Hospitality, Deloitte in conversation with Coley Brenan, Partner, Head of Europe, KSL Capital Partners, Zachary Schwartz, Vice President, European Hotels, Cerberus Capital, Sanjay Singh, Managing Director, Fico Corporation and Desmond Taljaard, Managing Director - Hotels, London & Regional. The session started positively with Singh saying he was "reasonably confident in the UK as an investment target for the next 6-12 months' time". Taljaard said the EU referendum results in the UK created a "4th quarter dip as people started to get nervous but this had now stabilised". Brenan noted that "the refinancing risk today was very different to that seen in the last cycle". When asked about the importance of a brand, Taljaard replied that he would flip the question around and ask "what value the brand can bring to the hotel?". He feels that the economics of branding will start to be questioned but "if brands can find a way to keep the costs of the value they add in balance then there would be a place for them". The debate turned to the OTAs and Taljaard said that he felt people needed "a lot more weaponry" in the war with OTAs.The next session saw the presentation of the IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 to Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, followed by an interview with Tanya Beckett, business journalist and broadcaster. After receiving his award, Beckett asked Sorenson about the recent acquisition of Starwood by Marriott. Sorenson said the deal was "a starting point for something we have to build. We need to create something better, not just bigger, than what there was before". The key driver for the acquisition was a need to create an "eco-system of loyal customers with whom we can develop great relationships which would allow us to protect and grow our business." Sorenson understands that "people want experience today, more than things, and are constantly looking for better value". Marriott have 90,000 hotel rooms opening in 2017 and currently run a $250bn property portfolio across 30 brands. Asked about the biggest threat to the industry, Sorenson said this was "the global wave of populism" and he feels Hilary Clinton lost the US election, rather than Donald Trump winning it. Sorenson has a "strong sense that immigration and refugees is not an area we have consensus on" and he is nervous of the trend that "too many countries in the world, including my own, are turning too far inward". He feels strongly that it needs to be communicated that people are welcome to the USA and notes that 10% of GDP is driven by travel.The following session was The Next 20 Years: A Collective Look at the Hospitality Investment Landscape moderated by Cameron Cartmell with Jim Abrahamson, Chairman and CEO, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Cody Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and Head of European Hotels, Starwood Capital Group, Tim Helliwell, Head of Hotels, Barclays Bank and Hubert Viriot, CEO, Yotel. Bradshaw commented: "Brands need to go overhead light as well as asset light. Cost synergies are subsidising many of these deals, but there's no trickle down in cost savings to owners. My prediction is that Google is going to be a real disruptor in this space. In the next 20 years something has got to give- the brand fees are not that different to the OTA fees". Bradshaw also noted that although much has been made of millennials as shapers of the industry, they have "significantly less disposal income than previous generations due to high levels of student debt".Tomorrow - Tuesday 7th March - starts with breakfast and the sponsors exhibition from 8am and then the general sessions, focusing on current and future business models, from 8.45am CET.

Dedicated and Passionate Professional Wins IHIF Young Leader Award

Questex ·20 February 2017
BERLIN -- The International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) are delighted to announce the recipient of the 2017 Young Leader Award; Director of Acquisitions and Strategy at MEININGER Hotels, Eva Bachmann. Eva will be presented with the award during the 20th IHIF which takes place on 6-8 March 2017 at the InterContinental Berlin. There will be a dedicated plenary session in the conference programme to recognise Eva's achievements at 10.20 on Tuesday 7th March.On learning that she had won the award, Eva said: "My enthusiasm for the hospitality industry is what drives me to continue learning and progress. My role requires delicate co-ordination of development, legal and commercial angles in order to achieve successful transactions and this continues to provide me with exciting challenges on a daily basis. I am very humbled and also hugely excited to receive this award and look forward to meeting my colleagues across the industry at IHIF next month"."We couldn't be more pleased to recognise Eva for her career accomplishments and strategic growth of MEININGER Hotels. As a young professional who is as dedicated to the hospitality industry as we are, we look forward to seeing the impact Eva has on the industry for many years to come. Our partnership with IHIF on the Young Leader Award started 9 years ago, to continue to be part of IHIF at the 20th celebration is also quite an honour for us. We contribute the success of the Young Leader Award program to our mutual mission of advancing the hospitality industry, and are humbled by the incredible nominations of young leaders we receive each year and by our partners and colleagues who help make this possible," said Andrea Belfanti, Executive Director of ISHC.Tess Pearson, Event Director, Questex Hospitality Group, hosts of IHIF commented, "The ability to recognise and reward developing talent is vital in creating a sustainable and forward thinking industry. Our continued support of this through our work with the ISHC and the Young Leader Award is a significant contribution and one that all of us at Questex are very proud to be involved with. I am personally very pleased that Eva has been selected as the recipient of this award in this very special year for IHIF".For more information and to register for IHIF visit www.berlinconference.com.Follow IHIF 2017 on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2017 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

Clear, focused and industry leading programme announced IHIF 2017

Questex ·18 January 2017
As the industry prepares to gather and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF), the programme for the 2017 event is announced.Created from delegate feedback, Advisory Board recommendations and the most topical and current trends across the industry, the IHIF programme is proudly the very best in class. This year's programme has been carefully curated to lead delegates through the event in a logical and structured way with specific areas of focus for each day.Day 1 - Reflect & Adapt - will focus on the economics of hotel investment throughout the global hospitality industry and provide the anchor for the subsequent content. In addition to the expected sessions on global economics and market trends, will be "Investors on the Spot; Updating the Fundamentals of Hotel Investment", led by Nick van Marken, Global Head - Hospitality, Deloitte, who will challenge a panel of investors on how they intend to evolve to ensure continued growth in this ever-changing hotel investment landscape. Leaders from banking, asset management and hotel brands will take a close look at the evolving fundamentals of the sector and the changing international environment to secure future growth. Additional speakers on Day 1 include:Arne Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott International Richard Solomons, CEO, IHG Cody Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and Head of European Hotels, Starwood Capital Group Simon Vincent, President EMEA, Hilton WorldwideTim Helliwell, Head of Hotels, Barclays BankDay 2 - Strategise & Develop - of IHIF will examine the changing business models across the industry and the respective innovation involved, particularly the significant dependence on digital technology new business models are built on. Interviews, presentations and discussions on this area will form the basis of the programme for the second day of the event. Delegates can expect insights from hotel investors and owners, international hotel brands in the classic CEO panel, as well as digital brands talking partnerships rather than disruption. Key speakers on Day 2 include: Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotelsDara Khosrowshahi, CEO , The Expedia GroupDavid Kong, CEO, Best Western Hotels & ResortsPierre-Frederic Roulot, CEO, Louvre Hotels Group and CEO, Jin Jiang Europe Stefan Leser, President and Group CEO, Jumeirah GroupThe final day - Innovate & Grow - will combine the previously discussed areas of investment and business evolution and explore the various alternative hospitality brands, their offering, points of differentiation to a traditional hotel business and the growth and sustainability of these businesses. Notable speakers on Day 3 include:Hans Meyer, CEO, ZokuTerri Scriven, Industry Head Hospitality, GoogleOlivia Byrne, Company Director , Eccleston Square Hotel Andre Gerondeau, Executive Vice-President for Hotels, Melia Hotels InternationalHannes Spanring, CEO, MEININGER HotelsTess Pearson, Event Director, Questex Media Group, host of IHIF said: "IHIF is known as the event to attend to transact business and network. For 2017 we have created a strong, relevant and thought-provoking programme which, in combination with the numerous networking opportunities, makes IHIF a hugely valuable event for those across the hospitality industry."For more information and to register for IHIF (6-8th March 2017) visit www.ihif.com.Follow IHIF 2017 on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2017 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

IHIF 2017 - Programme Spotlight

Questex ·17 January 2017
BERLIN -- As the industry prepares to gather and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF), the programme for the 2017 event is announced. Created from delegate feedback, Advisory Board recommendations and the most topical and current trends across the industry, the IHIF programme is proudly the very best in class. This year's programme has been carefully curated to lead delegates through the event in a logical and structured way with specific areas of focus for each day. Day 1 - Reflect & Adapt - will focus on the economics of hotel investment throughout the global hospitality industry and provide the anchor for the subsequent content. In addition to the expected sessions on global economics and market trends, will be "Investors on the Spot; Updating the Fundamentals of Hotel Investment", led by Nick van Marken, Global Head - Hospitality, Deloitte, who will challenge a panel of investors on how they intend to evolve to ensure continued growth in this ever-changing hotel investment landscape. Leaders from banking, asset management and hotel brands will take a close look at the evolving fundamentals of the sector and the changing international environment to secure future growth. Additional speakers on Day 1 include:Arne Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott InternationalRichard Solomons, CEO, IHGCody Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and Head of European Hotels, Starwood Capital GroupSimon Vincent, President EMEA, Hilton WorldwideTim Helliwell, Head of Hotels, Barclays Bank Day 2 - Strategise & Develop - of IHIF will examine the changing business models across the industry and the respective innovation involved, particularly the significant dependence on digital technology new business models are built on. Interviews, presentations and discussions on this area will form the basis of the programme for the second day of the event. Delegates can expect insights from hotel investors and owners, international hotel brands in the classic CEO panel, as well as digital brands talking partnerships rather than disruption. Key speakers on Day 2 include:Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotelsDara Khosrowshahi, CEO , ExpediaDavid Kong, CEO, Best Western Hotels & ResortsPierre-Frederic Roulot, CEO, Louvre Hotels Group and CEO, Jin Jiang EuropeStefan Leser, President and Group CEO, Jumeirah Group The final day - Innovate & Grow - will combine the previously discussed areas of investment and business evolution and explore the various alternative hospitality brands, their offering, points of differentiation to a traditional hotel business and the growth and sustainability of these businesses. Notable speakers on Day 3 include:Hans Meyer, CEO, ZokuTerri Scriven, Industry Head Hospitality, Google Olivia Byrne, Company Director, Eccleston Square HotelFrank Fiskers, President & CEO, Scandic HotelsHannes Spanring, CEO, MEININGER Hotels Tess Pearson, Event Director, Questex Media Group, host of IHIF said: "IHIF is known as the event to attend to transact business and network. For 2017 we have created a strong, relevant and thought-provoking programme which, in combination with the numerous networking opportunities, makes IHIF a hugely valuable event for those across the hospitality industry." For more information and to register for IHIF (6-8th March 2017) visit www.ihif.com.Follow IHIF 2017 on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2017 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

Inspirational hotelier, Arne Sorenson, to be presented with IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award

Questex ·20 December 2016
BERLIN -- Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), will be awarded the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Lifetime Achievement Award during the 20th IHIF in Berlin next March.Following the acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts by Marriott International in September 2016, Sorenson became CEO of the largest lodging company in the world. He is also the first person in the nearly 90-year history of the company to lead Marriott who is not a member of the Marriott family. Following the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday 6th March 2017 at 16.10, Sorenson will share his experience of the acquisition of Starwood and the future of Marriott in a session titled: "Managing the deal of the decade - an interview with Arne Sorenson."Marriott has been described as a company that maintains family values and a degree of humility. Sorenson's creation of the company's Global Sustainability Council and his chairmanship of Marriott's Global Diversity and Inclusion Council demonstrate his personal commitment to maintaining this guiding philosophy. Additionally, Mr. Sorenson serves as Vice Chair of the U.S. President's Export Council. He is the immediate past Board Chair for Brand USA and continues as a member of the board. And, among other affiliations, he is on the Stewardship Board of the World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Mobility.Tess Pearson, Event Director, Questex Media Group, host of IHIF commented: "Arne Sorenson is a uniquely inspirational leader and true friend of IHIF. He has navigated Marriott through extremely challenging economic times and led the recent acquisition of Starwood to create the largest hotel company in the world. Providing leadership that is both reassuring and assertive is a skill only achieved by a few and Arne consistently demonstrates this in the management of the company and to Marriott associates around the world. We are thrilled to be able to honour all of his achievements and look forward to welcoming him to IHIF 2017."For more information and to register for IHIF (6-8th March 2017) visit www.ihif.com.Follow IHIF 2017 on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2017 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

Questex Appoints Francis Barker, Veteran Finance Executive, as CFO

Questex · 6 September 2016
Questex, a leading global business information and events company, today announced the appointment of Francis B. Barker, a veteran finance executive, as chief financial officer, responsible for leading the company's financial operations, human resources and enterprise technology.Reporting to Kerry C. Gumas, Questex president and chief executive officer, Barker will be based in New York."Francis brings to Questex over two decades of experience as a chief financial officer, private equity investor and transaction leader," said Gumas. "His proven leadership experience and financial expertise across numerous relevant sectors will be pivotal in maintaining our commitment to drive innovation and financial returns for our customers, team members and stakeholders."Barker's experience spans public and private companies in internet, media, professional information, cloud software, business services, education and telecommunications. His previous corporate leadership positons include chief financial officer at Alta Colleges Inc., co-founder of Information Services Group and senior vice president for strategy & corporate development at Dex Media. He continues as a board member at Allazo Health.Barker's investing roles have included managing director for media and information investments at The Carlyle Group; investing independently in early stage data and analytics companies and sourcing investment opportunities for family offices.Barker began his career as an investment banker in the media and information sector at Morgan Stanley."I am excited to join the Questex team as it grows its global events and digital information products in its targeted vertical markets," said Barker. "Additional profitable growth will come from both organic expansion and strategic acquisitions and partnerships, such as the company's recently concluded acquisitions of ExL Events LLC and The AHC Ltd. In addition, Questex and its investment partner, Shamrock Capital Advisors, are investing substantially in technology capabilities that will enable even greater focus on customers' business development objectives and professional information needs."Barker earned a master of business administration degree at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor of arts degree at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Questex Acquires United Kingdom's The Annual Hotel Conference

Questex ·13 July 2016
Questex, a leading global business information and events company, today announced it has acquired The AHC Company Limited, organizer of The Annual Hotel Conference, the United Kingdom's leading industry event in the individual, boutique, branded and consortium hotel segments.The agreement merges the collective resources of Questex, organizers of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Berlin, the pre-eminent global conference for the hotel investment community, and The AHC, the UK's leading hospitality event for independent hoteliers. Founders Chris Eddlestone and Jonathan Langston and their team will continue to lead content development and management of the event."We are tremendously pleased to team up with Chris and Jonathan and combine our resources to enhance the value provided to the UK hotel industry by this important event," said Kerry Gumas, Questex president and chief executive officer."From its beginnings as a small, invitation-only gathering targeting the regional individual and small-chain hotel owner and operator, The AHC has grown over its 13-year lifetime into one of the UK's largest hotel industry events outside London," said Eddlestone. "With Questex's significant scale and resources, we expect the event will grow at a faster pace, with new marketing opportunities for our supporters and partners."This year's The AHC, which is expected to draw over 700 delegates, will be held Oct. 12- 13 at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate hotel. The event, themed Performing in Transient Times, will bring individual, boutique and consortium hotel owners, operators and managers together with developers, investors, bankers, advisors, government agencies, designers, architects, consultants, tourism leaders, regional tourist board representatives and other stakeholders for relevant and inspirational educational content and peer-to-peer networking."Questex has an impressive track record of investing in their core hospitality media and events and successfully launching new products in this market," added Langston. "Our customers will truly benefit by Questex's ability to generate additional business opportunities, relevant content, world-class speakers and generous networking exchanges. We look forward to combining our resources and expertise and working together to drive the growth of the business."Eddlestone and Langston will work closely with the Questex Hospitality Group team, led by its executive vice president, Alexi Khajavi, to pursue The AHC's core business objectives of providing dynamic education, networking and inspiration for its delegates.The AHC was cofounded by 30-year industry veteran Eddlestone, global head of hospitality and leisure services at Squire Patton Boggs, an international law firm; and Langston, a renowned industry consultant and commentator with a 30-year track record who most recently served as the UK chief operating officer for CBRE Hotels Europe, Africa and the Middle East.For more information, or to register for The AHC, visit www.theahc.co.uk or the event's Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

Questex Acquires ExL Events

Questex ·11 July 2016
Questex, a leading global business information and events company, today announced it has acquired ExL Events Inc., expanding its presence in the global pharmaceutical, life-science and health-care markets.ExL Events, founded in 2004 as ExL Pharma, is the industry leader in developing innovative, educational conferences that serve the pharmaceutical, life-science and health-care communities. Kerry Gumas, Questex president and chief executive officer, said ExL will complement the services currently provided to those markets by Questex's Fierce Life Science & Healthcare group of digital media titles and events.The founders of ExL Events, Bryon Main, president & chief executive officer, and Ethan Denkensohn, chief financial & operating officer, will continue to lead the organization and retain their existing staff. ExL Events, which will continue to operate from its New York headquarters, produces more than 70 annual events in the United States, Europe and Asia for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, diagnostics and contract-research organizations, hospitals and physicians, among others."We are pleased to welcome Bryon, Ethan and the entire ExL Events team to the company," said Gumas. "They have done an excellent job in building ExL Events into a high-service, high-value producer of events, which we believe will be well complemented by our industry-leading portfolio of digital media titles serving the industry."ExL has consistently grown its revenue and EBITDA at double-digit rates over the last five years, and we've seen the business continue to scale well due to the strong competencies of the team and systems they have put in place."Financial terms of the agreement were not released."For the last 12 years, ExL Events has served the informational and networking needs of the dynamic and rapidly evolving global health-care and pharmaceutical sectors through high-quality conferences that deliver important topical information and interactive networking opportunities," said Main. "Having Questex's many resources at our fingertips will fuel investment and global expansion opportunities for ExL Events. We look forward to working together to drive growth and innovation for the business and our customers."Denkensohn said ExL Events would truly benefit from the agreement given Questex's scale and reach. "Questex has a strong leadership team, a global footprint across complementary markets and a similar commitment to helping customers achieve their business and professional objectives through world class conferences," he said. "We look forward to joining the Questex family and continuing our mission to bring allied industries together to strategize on key issues and challenges that drive research, solutions and strategies."About Questex Questex is a leading global business information and events company serving corporate and government clients and industries that are driving economic growth and business innovation around the world.The company drives business investment, innovation and demand-creation in the markets it serves by bringing together investors, buyers, sellers and professionals through its over 100 trade shows, conferences and other business events, informing them through more than 100 business media and information products and supporting clients with a comprehensive platform of marketing solutions. Questex's industry-focused business units include Life Sciences & Healthcare, Hospitality & Travel, Beauty & Wellness, Technology & Telecom groups.Questex is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts. The company employs over 350 dedicated professional staff members, who are located in offices throughout the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.About ExL EventsExL Events develops engaging, content-driven conferences and partnered events for dynamic industry audiences including: pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, diagnostic, contract-research organizations, hospital networks, physicians, communications and others. Behind its diverse event portfolio, ExL's experienced team conducts extensive market research and targeted outreach. The results translate into innovative, high-quality events that facilitate the exchange of critical information between industry professionals and suppliers who support shared goals. For more information, visit www.exlevents.com.

Questex Travel Group Announces Revitalized 2016 MEET National Event

Questex ·16 March 2016
NEW YORK (March 16, 2016) - Questex Travel Group today announced that it will launch a fresh, revitalized program for the annual MEET National event, formerly known as HSMAI's MEET National, Sept. 7-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington.MEET National, organized by Questex LLC, publisher of International Meetings Review and leading organizer of the popular Global Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchanges, is the pre-eminent MICE industry event, attracting over 1,000 highly qualified government, association, corporate and independent meeting planners annually.In preparation for the new event, organizers launched a thorough evaluation of the 2015 event, said Kirk Lewis, meetings group director for Questex, incorporating input from previous attendee and exhibitor feedback, to create the most productive conference and trade show to meet the changing needs of the marketplace."The audience at the 2016 event will witness all kinds of changes," said Lewis, "including a brand-new venue with an optimal floor plan for our exhibitors, an innovative conference developed in partnership with MPI and unlimited networking opportunities, including one-to-one appointments combined with an open show floor."Exhibitors will come from a veritable cross-section of suppliers, including tourism boards, destination management companies, convention and visitor bureaus, meeting venues, hotels, cruise lines and meeting technology providers. For more information, visit meetconference.com. MEET National is owned and operated by Questex LLC, in partnership with HSMAI.About Questex Hospitality + TravelThe Questex Hospitality + Travel Group of Questex LLC serves the worldwide hospitality, travel and related industries that together contribute over $6 trillion to the global gross domestic product. Through an innovative platform of targeted solutions, the group serves the sector's entire ecosystem, from tourism and hotel development and investment to hotel design, purchasing, management and operations.Questex Hospitality + Travel Group serves every B2B segment of the industry, from investment and development to management operations, sales and marketing of hospitality and travel products to destination development and marketing, via proven demand-generation, learning, loyalty and rewards solutions as well as a network of live events. This division of Questex is aligned around three broad market segments - hospitality, travel and meetings - and supported by its digital media staff.Additional information is available at questex.com/markets/hospitality-travel.

Brexit, loyalty schemes, Asia and the sharing economy are key themes of IHIF 2016

Questex ·16 March 2016
As the curtain closes on the 19th International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, we reflect on the mood, key themes and trends throughout this year's event.As has come to be expected, several prominent and significant deals were signed during the course of the event with new and exciting projects agreed. The ability to meet face to face, discuss, network and conduct business continues to be a driving force for many of the hotel investment community and their motivation for attending IHIF.A capacity crowd gathered at the InterContinental Hotel Berlin for the three-day event packed with networking opportunities, insightful panels and presentations and an engaging exhibition showcasing companies from across the global hospitality industry.The main topic mentioned across nearly every session was Brexit, the possible result of the referendum and the impact this would have on the hospitality sector. Providing the economic overview, Roger Bootle said "there is a serious, serious chance that we will leave" and several analysts and commentators voiced concern of the unknown impact a vote to leave would have on the rest of Europe.Transactions are agreed to be slowing, as often seen towards the end of an investment cycle but there are still opportunities across Europe.The ever popular CEO panel covered most of the significant subject areas including loyalty schemes with an admission that they have historically been overcomplicated and inefficient at adding value to guests. Most of the brands represented on stage pointed to improvements their loyalty schemes were undergoing to address this and the understanding that communicating the promise of a lowest rate guarantee via the brand.com is an essential part of their marketing strategy.On the subject of Airbnb and other so called disruptors entering the industry, the prevailing sentiment seemed to be to remain true to the hospitality element of a hotels function and to deliver this proudly and to a high standard to all customers and in doing so differentiate from a lodging provider such as Airbnb.Asian investors seem largely indifferent to whether the UK remains or leaves the EU as discussed during the session focussed on Asian investors and the increase of their investment in Europe. Also of importance in this session was the significant budgets many of the Asian investment companies still have available to spend on hotel opportunities across Europe.The conversation continues throughout the year and you can join by following IHIF 2016 on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2016 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

HAMA Europe Asset Management Achievement Award presented to London & Regional at IHIF

Questex · 8 March 2016
The first annual HAMA Europe Asset Management Achievement Award has been presented to London & Regional for their work on the InterContinental Hotel, Dublin this morning at the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF). The award was collected by Henri Wilmes, VP Acquisitions Hotels on behalf of London & Regional.The award is co-sponsored by HAMA Europe and Questex Hospitality Group and recognises exemplary work in asset management initiatives for the hospitality industry. The award was created to recognise the best hotel project in class which has led the way in terms of providing innovative solutions and maximising the return on investment as well as growing the asset value on a particular asset located in Europe over a time period of the last 2 years (2014-2015).Theodor Kubak, HAMA Europe President; Senior Investment Manager, Union Investment and Cody Bradshaw, HAMA Europe Asset Management Achievement Award Jury Chairman; SVP Head of European Hotels, Starwood Capital presented the award and Kubak said: "Asset Management is a critical piece of the industry which often doesn't get enough exposure. In creating this award, we hope to highlight the importance of Asset Management to the lifecycle of a hotel and the value it can deliver".Kerry Gumas, President and Chief Executive Officer, Questex said "although this was only the first year running this process, we were delighted to have seven strong finalists and see this award as an important part of the conference programme going forward. The role Asset Management plays in creating a strong base for the investment stage of the hotel cannot be underestimated. We look forward to developing this relationship into future years.Follow IHIF 2016 on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2016 to stay up to date with the latest news from the leading annual meeting place for the industry. Also find us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group for industry insight and discussion.

Travel Agent University Partners with Equator Learning, Offering Travel Suppliers Unparalleled International Reach

Questex ·26 February 2016
Questex Travel Group announced today that its iconic Travel Agent University brand has partnered with the Online Travel Academy powered by Equator Learning, a U.K.-based travel industry e-learning platform, to offer participating suppliers an international audience of professional travel sellers.Travel Agent University (TAU), with 46,000-plus certified members, is the industry's largest online travel agent community and education site and has graduated more specialists than any other industry education program, awarding over 50,000 diplomas annually. The recent launch of the totally revamped platform, which features responsive design, intuitive navigation, seamless rewards, both B2B and B2C resources for agents and even editing capabilities for course hosts, has received rave reviews from member users.Equator Learning designs, manages and markets unique, multilingual and interactive online training portals for the travel industry. Through global media partnerships, Equator training courses such as NYC, California, and Sandals are offered to over 125,000 travel agents in Europe, Asia, Brazil, India, China, Australia and the Middle East.John McMahon, Questex Travel Group executive vice president, said the partnership is a key strategic move for the TAU brand because it will enable suppliers to leverage best-in-class e-learning technology to a global marketplace. It will give clients the opportunity to streamline their education courses via one partner and provide translations for each audience, rather than have to work with multiple vendors around the world."We are delighted to collaborate on this advantageous endeavor with Equator Learning, one of the leading global e-learning distributors," said McMahon. "Questex is invested in travel agent education and committed to delivering an invaluable opportunity for our suppliers to expand their reach to agents eager to learn throughout the world.""We are proud to partner with Questex, North America's preeminent publisher of travel agent content, editorial, and education," said Chris May, managing director, Equator Learning. "Our two unique brands combined will offer suppliers the elite in travel agent training opportunities, with a global reach that will be unprecedented. We are looking forward to a mutually successful relationship."Serving the travel community since 2005, Equator Learning creates innovative and engaging online travel and leisure training solutions that offer an affordable and efficient solution for clients and a fun learning tool for the end user.Launched in 1993, Travel Agent University is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Along with the best-in-class Travel Agent University courses offered on this proprietary platform, Questex continues to offer fully customized, white label e-learning and loyalty solutions. For more information, visit www.travelagentuniversity.com. About Questex Hospitality + TravelThe Questex Hospitality + Travel Group of Questex LLC serves the worldwide hospitality, travel and related industries that together contribute over $6 trillion to the global gross domestic product. Through an innovative platform of targeted solutions, the group serves the sector's entire ecosystem, from tourism and hotel development and investment to hotel design, purchasing, management and operations.The Questex Hospitality + Travel Group supports every B2B segment of the industry, from investment and development to management operations, sales and marketing of hospitality and travel products to destination development and marketing, via proven demand generation, learning, loyalty and rewards solutions as well as a network of live events. This division of Questex is aligned around three broad market segments - hospitality, travel and meetings - and supported by its digital media staff.Additional information is available at questex.com/markets/hospitality-travel.About Equator LearningEquator Learning is a global provider of multilingual, interactive online training and engagement portals for travel industry professionals. The business runs and manages 75 sites around the world, serving over 70 countries in 11 different languages. Additional information is available at http://www.equatorlearning.com/what-we-do.

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