09 Mar 2016
IHIF 2016 Day 2
The second day of IHIF was opened by Alexi Khajavi, Senior Vice President, Questex with the news that Rezidor Hotel Group have purchased 41% Prizehotel for £14.7m. Khajavi also thanked Steigenberger Hotel Group for their hospitality at the opening night reception last night and showed a film with highlights of the evening. Khajavi then welcomed Roger Bootle, Chairman, Capital Economics to the stage to provide the global economic outlook. Bootle said of the Chinese economy that a big drop happened at the end of 2014 and since then the economy has been stabilising. “The evidence is that the Chinese economy has stabilised and the markets have got themselves worked up unnecessarily”. He said the Renminbi weakened against the dollar but so has almost every other global currency so this was no necessarily of significance. He pointed out that less than 1% of UK GDP is accounted for by exports to China so there isn’t an overreliance on this area. He then looked at oil prizes and said there is “no immediate reason at the moment why oil prices have to rise" and he feels it can be true that both high and low oil prices can cause problems to the global economy but that “lower oil prices are a good think for the world economy”. When talking about the US market, Bootle said that “at various points in the last few months, various markets have worried that the US market is in trouble. I think this is wrong and the US market is very resilient”. However, turning to the Eurozone outlook, Bootle was less optimistic, “I don’t think it’s that good”. He says Ireland saw a pretty dramatic recovery and is therefore “pretty optimistic that Ireland is going to be ok, it’s economy is open to two strong economies, the UK and the USA. Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece though have a pretty grim outlook and Germany exports 2% of GDP to China so is pretty exposed to the Chinese economy.
Finally, turning to the Brexit, Bootle said “there is a serious, serious chance that we will leave” and the matter should be taken seriously. He feels the EU referendum is going to be a close vote and the economists don’t know the consequences of either outcome. He feels that “the idea the banks are going to shut down their operations in London is wholly unrealistic” and that the “single biggest uncertainty is what the consequences will be for the EU?”. His final point was that “there is a significant possibility that over the next few years the EU will unravel”.
The first annual HAMA Europe Asset Management Achievement Award was then presented to London & Regional for their work on the InterContinental Hotel, Dublin. 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.
Following this session, a cheque was presented to Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne by Questex for their continued support to the school.
The next session looked at the relationship between investors and analysts and was moderated by Edward Wojakovski, Chief Executive Officer, Tonstate who was joined by Russell Kett, Chairman, HVS – London office, Robin Rossmann, Managing Director, STR Global and Andreas Scriven, International Managing Director and Head of Consultancy, Christie + Co. The opening discussion focused on the role of analysts and their ability to predict activity. The consensus from all three panellists was that an understanding of historically trends, coupled with comprehensive data analysis leads to a sensible forecast of future trends. Each panellists then gave a presentation which is available from their respective PR/Marketing departments.
The final plenary session of the day was The rise of Asian investors moderated by Jileen Loo, Director, Head of Asia Desk, International Capital Markets, CBRE EMEA Hotels who was joined by Roc Huang, Board Director, Executive Deputy General Manager, HK CTS Hotels Co. Ltd, Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, Chairman & CEO, Louvre Hotels Group, Sanjay Singh, Managing Director, FICO Corporation, and Teddy Zhang, Managing Director, The Thayer Group; Chief Advisor, Phoenix Global Investment. Singh started the session by emphasising how important it is to know your client when doing business across Asia. Roulot highlighted how much improved development in China and the flow of Chinese tourists into European Louvre hotels has been since the deal completed with Jin Jiang. When asked about Brexit, Zhang said that he felt the European market had peaked but there was an importance to “build a global platform where you can provide value to customers”. One of the concluding points was the rise of the Chinese middle class and the impact this could potentially have on the global hospitality industry. This section of the market potentially accounts for 300-400 million people. The panel agreed that whether the UK was in or out of the EU had relatively little influence on their decision to invest in Europe or not.