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Press Release

06 Mar 2012

Optimistic future for hotel sector say industry CEO’s at the IHIF


Press Release: 6th March 2012


For Immediate Release


Optimistic future for hotel sector say industry CEO’s at the IHIF

Berlin, Germany- The second day of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) was opened by Marilyn McHugh, Vice-President, Global Hospitality Events, Questex Hospitality + Travel Group. The panel of the morning was the much anticipated CEO’s panel – Thinking Outside The Box. Moderated by Simon M Johnson, CBRE Specialist Markets who was in conversation with Denis Hennequin, Chairman and CEO, Accor, Hubert Joly, President & CEO Carlson and Chairman of the Board Rezidor Hotel Group, Steve Joyce, President and CEO, Choice Hotel International, Richard Solomons, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, IHG and Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The session opened with Johnson asking each of the panellists how their respective businesses were fairing. All gave a positive response with Joly commenting that although there is a high rate of unemployment generally, it is low amongst corporate travellers and therefore not affecting them and their need to travel. Face-to-face meetings will always be the preference, a thought echoed by Professor Ian Goldin from Oxford University in yesterday afternoon’s session on globalisation and development. Johnson pressed the panel to state whether they were nervous about the current situation in Europe. Joly commented that although there were concerns over the reduction in China’s GDP growth “as the man who was falling from the 90th floor said when he got to the 5th floor, so far, so good”! Joyce acknowledged that whilst people are still travelling, they are looking for better value and lower costs than before. Solomons noted that the industry needs to move hotel assets to become assets that banks want to finance again. Hennequin said that all markets are national before they become international and Accor acknowledged this and believes growth will come from the emerging markets. He said that they, as a brand, need to penetrate these emerging markets with a product the local consumers need, not one we think they need. Joly agreed and confirmed that 70% of his group’s pipeline is located in the developing markets and said that it was important that hotels were designed specifically for these markets and not just a case of picking up the European model and relocating to the emerging markets. He added that all brands need to be conscious of the requirements of these guests when they travel into Europe as well. Van Paasschen said we were witnessing a “great transformation of humanity” and pointed to the digital connectivity and emergence of a larger middle class as the key factors. He said he felt that now was “an extraordinary opportunity to be in a global branded business”.  


Editors notes:

Hosts of the IHIF Questex Hospitality + Travel

In Association with Bench Events


About Questex Hospitality + Travel

Questex Hospitality + Travel drives demand for travel and hospitality organizations as the largest multimedia organization in the world dedicated to these related industries. It includes a dynamic collection of strategic investment and deal-making forums as well as tactical services such as powerful lead generation tools, interactive online business solutions, world-class events and industry-leading publications to help hospitality and travel organizations drive revenue, productivity and value creation. 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 & Tourism Investment Conference, International Hotel Investment Forum Asia Pacific


About Bench Events

Bench Events has a long track record of delivering, with its partners, the premier hotel investment events in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Bench Events’ Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, is one of the organisers and founders of the highly successful International Hotel Investment Forum now in its fifteenth year ( In 2005, he was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai ( and in 2008 launched the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference ( In 2011 Bench Events added two events to the portfolio, co-hosting the Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference ( and launching Hotel Investment Conference Africa, in Morocco (

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