IMHI Class of 2016-2017

IMHI Class of 2016-2017
Class of 2016-2017

Thursday, June 30, 2016

HEDNA's European Global Distribution Conference held in Berlin from June 14-16, 2016.

by Galina Mereacre
Attending a conference is a professionally rewarding experience. As we find out that we will be
representing ESSEC at HEDNA's European Global Distribution Conference in Berlin, Jessica and I took the responsibility seriously – preparing and trying to give out our best in order to make our institution proud.

HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) is the only global forum exclusively dedicated to the advancement of hospitality distribution through strategic collaboration and knowledge sharing. For over 25 years, the non-for-profit association has provided members with networking platforms, educational opportunities and professional resources to help them navigate the ever-evolving landscape of hotel electronic distribution.

For a soon graduated MBA in hospitality this was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the latest trends in the industry, to get a better grasp of the on hands on experience, and finally assess how ready we were in our turn – for the beginning of our new careers. During the 3 day conference, we got to listen to some of the biggest names in the industry, participate in different workshops and even engage in hallway conversations with these experts. We were pleasantly surprised to conclude that our MBA program prepared us well in order to understand and contribute to solving the main challenges the hotels are facing today.

"Jonathan’s inspiring speech inspired  a deeper understanding of the hotel industry's challenges and opportunities"

We were again reassured just as it was a Peter O’Conor’s e-commerce class that emerging consumer and industry technologies, guest expectations, business strategies, market forces, and organization strategies create a compelling and essential need for hotel distribution to continue to evolve and transform. HEDNA's own research presented a compelling vision into the future of hotel distribution presenting us with the various factors driving the need of change as well as discussing optimal solutions.

Among some of the greatest speakers we were honored to attend was also Jonathan MacDonald - a world-renowned speaker that provided thinking, new perspectives and avenues of thought for companies such as Google, Apple, P&G, Unilever, Nestlé and IKEA. Jonathan’s inspiring speech inspired  a deeper understanding of the hotel industry's challenges and opportunities and enabled hoteliers to utilize knowledge to explore what the future could look like, and whether they are building the future hotel industry as the one they want to live in.

The conference was concluded by another wonderful motivational speaker – Jim Pickell  also founder and CEO of HomeExchange that discussed innovation, disruptive technology, and data and how these aspects are already removing traditional barriers and friction points in reshaping and delivering a better hospitality and travel experience.

Especially valuable I found the opportunity to network with other professionals, which is an exceptional chance for our professional development and horizontal exchange of experience. We got the chance to meet professionals from all areas of electronic distribution including hotels, representation and management companies, GDSs, switch companies, OTAs, tour operators, software and payment service providers, industry consultants and educational institutions.

As I am looking to build a career in digital marketing, attending Hedna conference and gathering valuable industry insights had a significant contribution to my future professional expertise. I feel beyond lucky to have had the opportunity to attend this event along with professionals from all over the World.

Friday, June 3, 2016

IMHI Forum round tables: 2016 EU Forecast

by Daniel Alexandre Portoraro

After any headline year, it’s always easy to be pessimistic. After a record-breaking 2015, in which hotel transactions topped $85 billion, single asset transactions broke through the $47 billion dollar level, and Blackstone claimed the largest ever portfolio acquisition in eight years (Strategic Hotels & Resorts for $6 billion), common sentiment may be “things can only go down from here.”
And while this may very well be the case, let’s not mince words: Going down from $85 billion in transactions is nothing to scoff at.

In May, at the IMHI Forum, Thomas Lamson, Executive Vice President of Transactions for JLL France, tempered any fears the audience may have had in regards to the robustness of the European hotel brokerage market. According to him, while the market would no doubt slow down (again, how can’t you, from nearly $90 billion?), foreign investment would continue its flows into the continent, with gateway cities such as London and Paris leading the charge.

According to Mr. Lamson, a startlingly overwhelming amount of all foreign cash inflows was focused on the French capital.

Indeed, if there’s one thing that may raise caution, it’s the latter’s prominence within the French transaction market. According to Mr. Lamson, a startlingly overwhelming amount of all foreign cash inflows was focused on the French capital.

And the numbers are there to back it up.

According to an HVS report, in 2015, while France enjoyed an increase of 16% in single asset transactions, 80% of those occurred in the Greater Paris area. While this no doubt satisfies investors already present in the metropolis, it does raise concerns about the market’s centralized nature. This figure overshadows the 63% of UK single asset transactions focused on London, demonstrating the latter’s nation as a more spread out investment environment, with burgeoning growth in markets such as Manchester, Birmingham, and more.

But it’s one thing to look at where the money’s going, and another to see where it’s coming from. In 2015, private equity investment into hotels reached nearly 28% of all inflows, thereby demonstrating the financial community’s continued appetite for the hospitality industry; this figure was tailed closely by institutional investors (pension funds, insurance companies, etc.) showing that even typically risk-averse investors are interested by the manageable, variable returns hotel properties can offer.

And as always, the Middle East demonstrated its sustained interest in European trophy assets, with the Qatar Investment Authority purchasing the star-studded Maybourne Collection – comprised of Claridge’s the Connaught, and the Berkeley – for €2.75 billion euro.

Again, however, while 2015 may have been a banner year, it’s important to note firstly, the strong fundamental performance of hotel assets driving demand, a continued low-interest rate environment, as well as the fact that the Q4 of 2015 accounted for a third of the year’s total transaction volume, which may very well spillover into 2016. And this is to say nothing of the continued ascendancy of the German hotel market, and revitalization of once-embattled tourism hubs such as Spain and Italy.

Even if 2016 doesn’t turn out like 2015, the transaction market may very well have a rosy period ahead.

During the last IMHI Forum, interesting topics were discussed by industry professionals. Current student Daniel Portoraro was present to report about the most memorable messages of the day.