AHC conference – key themes

24 October 2017

The Fladgate team was delighted to be back again at the AHC conference in Manchester earlier in the month. We were even more delighted to learn, mid conference, that we had been moved up to top tier rankings for hotels work by The Legal 500. It added to a vibrant conference, key themes and topics being:

Regional hotels standing out as best performers.  David Bailey, Senior Director at CBRE Hotels stated “regional U.K. performance has gone platinum”. Looking at RevPAR growth, star performers were Edinburgh (up 17.5%), Belfast (up 16.8%), Cardiff (up 10.2%), Liverpool (up 8.4%) and Manchester (up 7.1%).  55% of total hotel investment has been in the regions, half of that being single asset investments.

Increasing difficulties recruiting and retaining staff caused by the impact of Brexit. Nicholas Northam MD of Interstate Hotels and Resorts in the UK called Brexit “a double edged sword” with devaluation of the  pound prompting an influx of international visitors to the UK but also resulting in issues relating to employment and goods supply chains.

RevPAR is still the gold standard for measuring performance but not always the best way of drilling into hotel performance, particularly profitability.

There is increased pressure for operators and brands to be transparent in the fees and expenses charged to owners.

The threat of Airbnb moving into the business sector by providing centrally organised business services.  To date the impact of operators like Airbnb has only been felt in the leisure sector but the reach of Airbnb is set to expand.

There is a move from “service” to guest “experience”.  Guests are demanding a greater sense of “place” and a more authentic experience e.g. exploring local “treasures” and partaking in activities organised by locals.

Gyms, spas and bars will need redesigning as socialising focuses more on wellbeing and fitness than alcohol consumption.

Innovation in technology will see increased check-in automation and use of intelligent personal assistants in rooms.

Jenny Sargeant Author
Jenny Sargeant
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