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Hotel Management International Spring 2021

Editorial Editor Will Moffitt Sub-editor Lizzie Waymouth Production manager Dave Stanford Group art director Henrik Williams Designer Martin Faulkner Head of content Jake Sharp

Commercial Client services executive Ruchita Marwaha Publication manager Natallie Cobden Division sales manager Martin John Managing director William Crocker

Hotel Management International (USPS 6243) is published quarterly by Progressive Media International, which is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and is an official publication of the European Hotel Managers Association.

Registered in England No. 06212740.

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ISSN 2041-2452 © 2021

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Will Moffitt, editor

f you’re anything like me, 2021 has felt like an endless exercise in cautious optimism. Days can be spent focusing on positive news like vaccinations and lowering R rates, but the key to future planning is to observe these ‘breakthroughs’ without getting too carried away. It’s a tricky balancing act and, from where I’m sitting in my makeshift home office, it’s a theme that seems to define the hospitality sector right now: there is a sense that things will get better, but that we need to be patient and wait a little longer before hotels can really thrive in the way they did before the pandemic. As our cover story reveals, sub-Saharan Africa is a region that has been waiting to thrive for quite some time. Myriad hotel groups have spotted this exciting gap in the market, including Radisson and Marriott, which are both set to expand their portfolios in the region over the next four or five years. With the pandemic posing unique challenges, it will be some time before full immunisation is achieved in many sub-Saharan nations, but this does not seem to be deterring hotel groups from investing in the future, as Ramsey Rankoussi, head of development for Africa at Radisson, explains on page 15. Another chain that has been capitalising on long-term potential is Accor. Buoyed by the shift to WFH, the group is redefining co-working spaces through Wojo. It’s a brand that seeks to blend the functionality of a traditional office with the service of a well-run hotel. The aim is that WFH could soon become WFA (working from anywhere), as Stéphane Bensimon, CEO of Wojo, and James Wheatcroft, vice-president of marketing at Accor Northern Europe discuss on page 56. Finally, it’s no secret that the slow turn towards a post-Covid future is characterised by a greater sense of urgency around climate change. As Bill Gates wrote in a recent blog post: “As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse”. It’s a sentiment echoed by Meliá’s CEO Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, who has helped transform the group into the world’s most sustainable hotel company. Escarrer talks about his mission to make hospitality more eco-friendly while battling the unique demands of the pandemic on page 14. The CEO is brightly optimistic about the future, but cautious about what direction it might take. It’s a wise mantra that needs to be carefully balanced.

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