Rome, 1974: a group of prominent hotel general managers of undisputed professional ethics operating first-class and luxury properties establish the European Hotel Managers Association (EHMA) with the aim of maintaining and enhancing standards of excellence in the hotel industry.

Venice, 2024: EHMA, counting today more than 400 members from 23 European countries and representing about 350 hotels, 85,000 rooms and 65,000 employees, holds its golden jubilee in the magical city on the occasion of its annual general meeting. The theme of the Venice event will be ‘Human Capital and the Challenge of Involving New Young Professionals in Hospitality’.

On Saturday 13 April, during the gala dinner at the iconic ‘Sala degli Stucchi’ of the Hotel Excelsior, EHMA president Panos Almyrantis will hand out the most coveted awards: European Hotel Manager of the Year, Hans Koch Lifetime Achievement Award, Sustainability Award by Diversey, and Best Practices Award.

“This meeting in Venice represents the height of 50 years of vibrant life of the association with members coming from all over Europe to celebrate our dynamic present, our prestigious past and imagine our challenging future,” comments Almyrantis, also national delegate of Greece and Cyprus, and chief development officer (CDO) of Ellas Resorts in Athens.

“Our vision is to be the preferred association of hotel managers, representing the most prestigious and unique hotels in Europe. EHMA is an association of people, not hotels, and our aim is to foster friendship and amical spirit among its members; support an inclusive and stimulating networking environment, sharing experiences, insights and support to effectively communicate within the hotel industry with integrity, loyalty and trust; and to facilitate ongoing education, with the support of leading international schools.

“Along the years, the organisation has developed a modern and progressive approach, promoting an expansionist outlook that adapts renowned European know-how to the demands of the rapidly changing international hospitality industry. This year’s theme – human capital and its role in luxury hospitality – explores ways to commit, engage and inspire young people to enter a rewarding profession that is essentially about people and offers endless opportunities and a great sense of job satisfaction.”

Among the most eagerly awaited moments of the meeting, there will also be the presentation of the European Hotel Manager of the Year award, to celebrate the EHMA hotel manager who has particularly distinguished themselves during the year, and the EHMA Hans Koch Lifetime Achievement Award honouring outstanding EHMA retired general managers who have significantly contributed to the improvement of the hotel business over their lifetime career and to the association itself, as well as the EHMA Sustainability Award by Diversey and the Best Practices Award, an accolade that will award the winning hotel general manager who showcased efforts towards protecting the environment, uplifting communities and demonstrating rightful business conduct.

“This meeting in Venice represents the height of 50 years of vibrant life of the association with members coming from all over Europe to celebrate our dynamic present, our prestigious past and imagine our challenging future.”
EHMA president Panos Almyrantis

The programme

The programme of EHMA Venice will start on Friday 12 April, with the general assembly (GA), the 50th in the history of the association. During the meeting there will be the introduction of new members, the presentation of EHMA Warsaw 2025, and the announcement of the city hosting the 52nd AGM in 2026. Some of the most prestigious universities and organisations in the sector will be present, such as Nolan Cornell and École Hôtelière de Lausanne, as well as HOTREC and Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

Commitment to the next generation of hospitality professionals has been one of the association’s goals from the beginning. Precisely in this spirit, at the same time as the Members’ Assembly, the Young EHMA 2024 Group will participate in a working session organised by EHL (École Hôtelière de Lausanne). The group is composed of young hoteliers, presented by the various delegations, with a certain level of experience (junior managers/ department heads) who are offered the opportunity to participate in the EHMA annual general meeting.

The Cocktail Dinatoire will be held at Palazzo Pisani Moretta, a Gothic palace overlooking the Grand Canal built in the 15th century by the Bembo family and since 1629 residence of a branch of the noble Pisani family. The sumptuous interior is decorated in Baroque and Neoclassical styles dating back to the 18th century and boasts works by Giambattista Tiepolo and Pietro Longhi.

The highlight of the three-day programme in Venice will be the Educational Day on Saturday 13 April, which will develop the theme of the meeting. While tourism and hospitality are growing in Europe, the availability of new young professionals in this business is becoming the biggest challenge for the sector. The 2024 edition of the GA will deeply focus on the human capital topic, aiming to be more influential on the job market and better understand the new generations though exciting times for the hospitality industry. Numerous distinguished keynote speakers and panels will develop the main topic during the day.

During the Gala Dinner in the spectacular Louis XIV-style ‘Sala degli Stucchi’ of the Hotel Excelsior, a sea view hall decorated with white stucco and Murano chandeliers, there will be the eagerly anticipated presentation of the awards European Hotel Manager of the Year 2024 and Hans Koch Lifetime Achievement. The EHMA Sustainability Award by Diverse’, dedicated to the best sustainable hospitality project of the year, will also be presented. In fact, EHMA has always distinguished itself by its commitment to the green theme, which is as fundamental today as it will be tomorrow for the sustainable growth of the sector.

The hosting venue: the Excelsior Venice Lido Resort

Just a brief boat ride from the heart of Venice, Hotel Excelsior is an oasis of calm and luxury comfort for distinguished international travellers, movie stars and discerning guests. Hotel Excelsior, designed by a world-class architect and built in 1907, is a destination in its own right: a historically significant Venetian palazzo, enriched by exotic Moorish architecture located directly on the sea. Here, contemporary luxuries sit harmoniously alongside with preserved splendour and every experience is superlative, from unforgettable meals to the iconic cabanas arrayed on a private beach. The hotel is also home to the world-renowned Venice Film Festival and Biennale Art and Architecture exhibitions.

Organising committee

The programme of event has been put together thanks to the work of the organising committee composed of Alessio Lazazzera (chairman) – general manager, Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort; Cristiano Cabutti (treasurer) – general manager, JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa; Massimiliano Perversi – general manager, Hilton Mulino Stucky; Alain Bullo – general manager, Londra Palace; Paolo Morra – general manager, Sina Centurion Palace; Paolo Lorenzoni – general manager, The Gritti Palace; Nicolino Grigio – general manager, Palazzo Giovannelli; and Salvatore Pisani – complex General Manager, Hotel Gabrielli & Splendid Venice.

Special thanks also go to the EHMA traditional partners who are always very supportive of the association.