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Press Release

03 Mar 2014

Opening Day – IHIF 2014

BERLIN (March 3 2014): The 17th International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) opened to a delegation of close to 2,000 this afternoon. Kerry Gumas, President & Chief Executive Officer, Questex Media Group LLC and Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events welcomed all delegates from across the complete range of the investment community. Worsley thanked the 52 members of the advisory board and the 200 participants scheduled to speak, present and moderate over the next three days.
David Fenton, Senior Economist, RBS set the scene with a presentation on The Economic Landscape. He reassured the audience that the developed economies of the UK, USA, Japan and the Euro Zone are in a better economic place now verses Q1 2013. He noted that the question dominating the economic landscape was whether it was necessary for monetary policies to be set at emergency levels? Relaxing the settings, however, means that we are speaking of an economy that is no longer in crisis. If the policies were to be relaxed, Fenton says, we are in for a bumpy ride to normalisation. Looking at the emerging markets, there exists a challenging environment for investors over the next few years. Fenton’s concluding point referenced recent research by Goldman Sachs – The Ladder of Spending. The research charts consumer spending through commodities, to durables, and then services from different markets across the world. The report forecasts significant demand for high-end durables in emerging markets. Both domestic and international tourism fall into the service category that appears in the later stage of the cycle. Fenton says the tourism sector will see significant growth in the next 20-30 years according to the results of the report. “There will be a 268% growth in global tourism over the next 20 years”.

Simon Johnson, Specialist Markets, CBRE Hotels moderated the following session with panellists Elizabeth Winkle, Managing Director, STR Global, Chris Day, Managing Director, Christie + Co and Michael A. Fishbin, Global & Americas Hospitality Leader, EY, who discussed The Industry Landscape. Winkle warned of that whilst the sector was seeing positive results in terms of occupancy, low rates are limiting RevPAR achievements. She referenced a recent survey by showing a significant amount of domestic travel in the Euro Zone region and that some of the hardest hit areas in Southern Europe are showing positive signs of recovery. Day spoke to hotel transactions and noted appetite for new developments across the UK, suggesting that the remainder of the Queens Moat House (QMH) portfolio would come to market soon. He warned that “pricing was critical” and referenced the early signs of competitive bidding for Rocco Forte’s The Lowry Hotel, Manchester in the UK. He said we had “moved out of the dark days of 2009 when hotels outside the heart of London and Paris were incredibly difficult to sell” and that “more and more banks were expressing a willingness to lend to the hotel market at reasonable loan to value ratios”. Johnson asked each panelist for a specific prediction for the coming year in the industry. Winkle responded that the key was that “more effective pricing is required, or we will miss the opportunity”, Day said “prices will increase by 10-15% in the core markets, for both single assets and portfolios, in the next 12 months and Fishbin predicted a clear focus on growth with significant M&A activity to be seen in the USA.

Peter Shaindlin, COO of Halekulani Corporation, ended the day’s discussions on a high note with his keynote address, Brand Blur: The Benefits and Perils of Brand Alliances. Shaindlin, who oversaw the partnership between famed fashion designer, Vera Wang and Honolulu’s Halekulani Hotel to create the enormously successful Vera Wang Suite, reiterated the importance of brands having a clear vision before forming any strategic relationship. Shaindlin noted that brands often end up in a ‘race to the same place,’ creating partnerships with leading brands as imitation, instead of focusing on innovation and differentiation. All brands on the search for brand alliances should refer to a select list of partnership criteria, taking into consideration the purpose, benefits, risks, alignment characteristics – from reputation and quality to company culture and values, duration and projected ROI value. Shaindlin stressed in his final takeaway, prior to any partnership criteria, it is imperative to understand your own brand first.


The second day of IHIF 2014 starts tomorrow at 08.30 CET at the Hotel InterContinental Berlin with opening remarks from Kerry Gumas, Chief Executive Officer, Questex Media Group LLC.

For conference news, updates and comments follow the conference on Twitter @IHIF_News and use #IHIF2014.


Editors notes:

About Questex Media Group

Questex Hospitality + Travel, the largest multimedia organization in the world dedicated to hospitality and travel, drives revenue, productivity and value creation for these related industries through strategic investment and deal-making forums, powerful lead-generation tools, interactive online business solutions, world-class events and industry-leading publications.

Questex Hospitality + Travel operates throughout the United States and Americas regions, EMEA and Asia/Pacific through a variety of market-leading properties and services including International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) Berlin, North America Hotel Investment Conference, Asia Pacific Hotel Investment Conference, Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference, Brasil Hospitality Investment Conference, Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference, Turkey & Neighbours Hotel Investment Conference, HOTEC Design North America and HOTEC Operations & Technology North America; lead generation portal; industry news delivery services in print, online and mobile worldwide via IHIF: Hotel Investment News along with Hotel Management and HA+D magazines. For more information please visit

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