UK: Joe Stather, market lead for Questex’s operational real estate portfolio, including the Annual Hotel Conference (AHC), outlines his vision for the 2022 event.
Stather, who has joined Questex from CBRE, is keen to bring all areas of the industry together at the AHC when it returns to Manchester this October.
Currently, the occupational market for more traditional asset classes such as retail and office, is relatively uncertain. This, Stather believes, has led to “a growing weight of capital” including new investors searching for hospitality investment opportunities.
Evidence of new investors entering the space was seen at AHC’s sister event the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin earlier this year. There was a 67 per cent increase in the number of investors present, a large proportion of which were first-time attendees.
“In addition, the last few months have demonstrated the resilience of travel and accommodation demand, supported by consumers’ unwavering appetite for experiences which will endure beyond the post-pandemic recovery,” Stather said.
UK hotel transaction volumes exceeded £1.5 billion for the first four months of 2022 according to research by Knight Frank.
“For the many new players looking to make their first move, the AHC offers a great education in regard to the structure of the hotel industry, the key players, and includes some terrific case studies of those companies which have achieved great things,” said Stather.
“The economic impact of a hotel is extensive, which is why there’s so much local authority interest in the sector at the moment,” he added, “particularly given the government focus on levelling up and improvements to the high street.”
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the UK’s tourism sector is expected to contribute £192 billion to the economy this year with a net gain in employment of 1.7 per cent. Quality visitor accommodation, directly and indirectly, is key to capitalising on the tourism opportunity regarding increased spend, employment, and outside investment.
Stather explained: “Hotels are seen as a real symbol of urban generation and can have a really positive impact on promoting a destination and showing it’s open for business, attracting office occupiers and new residents, and of course tourists, whilst being able to hire locally and provide jobs.”
While there is growing local authority interest in the hotel sector and public sector intervention is becoming increasingly important for the delivery of many new hotel development projects, there remains a level of disconnect: hotels are initially seen as complex.
“That’s where the AHC plays a key role in terms of educating local authorities,” Stather said. “There will certainly be more engagement with them this year.
“We have arguably never experienced such dramatic change in our industry in terms of hotel consumption trends, the evolving brand and operator landscape, and the growing number of investors that are keen to participate. We can’t wait to wow our regular attendees and first timers with a fantastic programme of sessions, market leading exhibitors and quality opportunities to network.”
BHN editor Eloise Hanson will be attending the AHC 2022 in Manchester. If you would like to arrange a meeting, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.