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ABOVE: Nick van Marken, Global Head of Hospitality at Deloitte set the scene and asked are there “Brighter Skies Ahead?” TOP LEFT: Roger Bootle, Managing Director at Capital Economics called the UK’s GDP performance “absolutely shockingly dreadful”


prosperity... but even I suspect that we will actually see the beginnings of a UK recovery later next year.” More encouraging words came from the hotel executives who took to the stage to report on performance and pipeline. Denis Hennequin, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Accor, was cautiously optimistic, stating that Europe is a zone of consolidation with the UK, France and Germany proving resilient. Sharing this optimism, Christopher J. Nassetta, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hilton Worldwide, revealed that Hilton’s European properties had maintained positive growth, albeit at a lower rate than in other parts of the world. Once again, the emerging markets were commended for boosting global performance and development. “If I look at our pipeline of 110,000 rooms in the next three years, more than 50% is in Asia Pacific,” explained Hennequin, believing that China alone would not be the answer to the group’s success, but the smaller Asian countries such as Indonesia,


Thailand and Vietnam. “The other part of the world we’re actively interested in is Latin America,” he added, citing a target of 300 hotels in the region by 2015. Upcoming events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games are largely responsible for the surge, yet Hennequin is quick to defend his plans stating: “Of course we’re not building hotels just for events, but the reality is that those events change the traffic patterns and infrastructure of the country and help overall the attraction of those geographies.” Nasetta’s focus since joining Hilton has been to develop the luxury side of the business. In five years he has more than doubled the presence of Waldorf Astoria and Conrad to a total of 45 hotels with another 20-30 in the pipeline. A list of recent openings including Waldorf Astorias in Berlin and Jerusalem proved there is no lack of appetite from owners and investors. In the midmarket/ upscale space, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Doubletree were said to be


building a strong presence accounting for 80% of Hilton’s European pipeline. Looking to the future, both Hennequin and Nasetta spoke of pursuing an asset-light strategy, investing their own capital in only a few select cases. “The profile of Accor in 2016 will be quite different from the one that we have today,” concluded Hennequin. “It will be 80% asset light with 50% of our revenues coming from Latin America, Brazil and the Middle East, and 50% from Europe. In 2008 only 3% of our revenue was coming from outside Europe... so we’re changing fast.” A series of quickfire panel sessions featuring a stellar line-up of lenders, private equity executives and CEOs kicked off with a look at results from the pre-conference delegate survey carried out by Deloitte in conjunction with TNS Research International. The finding that the easiest type of project to obtain financing for was luxury or upscale acquisitions in gateway cities, was confirmed by the bankers who between them had been responsible for the re-financing of


WWW.SLEEPERMAGAZINE.COM JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2013 091


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