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Foreword

News & numbers

A roundup of the most recent happenings across the international hospitality sector.

STR Global

The latest stats on European hotel performance from our associate partners.

EHMA

Industry comment from the president of the European Hotel Managers Association, Ezio Indiani.

Big Interview

As the newly appointed CEO of Kempinski Group, Martin R. Smura finds himself in charge of one of Europe’s oldest and most storied luxury hotel groups, overseeing 77 five-star hotels and residences in 34 countries around the world. In an exclusive interview, we discuss Smura’s vision for the company over the years ahead, the importance of having a background in frontline hospitality and the challenge of balancing over 120 years’ worth of history with delivering a truly 21st century luxury experience across a global footprint.

Business management and development

We travel to the London Hilton Bankside for this year’s Hotel Investment Conference Europe (Hot.E), catch up with some of the biggest names in hotel development on the continent, and get the lowdown on who is making deals where – and with whom.

Special report

As select service hotel brands continue to gather significant momentum, both independent and group operators are increasingly looking towards partnering with third party providers, particularly mobile platforms like Deliveroo and Uber, when it comes to delivering everything from entertainment packages to room service. What makes for a successful partnership? And how much can one outsource without compromising brand identity and operational autonomy? We speak to Rich DiStefano, vice-president of digital product at Hilton, Accor chief disruption officer Thibault Viort, and IHG’s head of strategic partnerships, Brooke Mitchell.

Operations

A strong environmental programme is no longer merely a valuable CSR initiative; it is an operational necessity, impacting reputational management, performance metrics and, ultimately, the bottom line. Perhaps no department has been more impacted by this shift than housekeeping, with everything from cleaning products to working practises undergoing fundamental review in recent years. How does one ensure standards and practises are as sustainable as possible and in what areas are we seeing the most innovation and change? Lorraine Dale, national chairperson of the UK Housekeepers Association, Arnaud Herrmann, vice-president of sustainable development AccorHotels, and Frank Lavey, senior vice-president, global operations for Hyatt, discuss.

Guest amenities

Reams of materials have been produced outlining how hotel groups and hoteliers can better appeal to the emerging millennial demographic, but little of the conversation has surrounded what this generation is demanding from the spa and wellness space – and whether traditional operators are fully equipped to deliver it. How does one entice younger guests through wellness and how big a selling point can it be? We put these questions to Andrea Lomas Gong, head of group spa operations at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Irene Forte, group project & wellness director for Rocco Forte Hotels.

Removing standard check-in desks and designing more social public spaces is a focus throughout the hotel industry, with huge effort not only being invested in getting guests out of their rooms and into communal areas, but also harnessing local communities and scene leaders. We discuss the vital ingredients that go into making the lobby a destination in its own right with CitizenM COO Michael Levie, Hasan Yigit, vice-president of Jaz in the City and Alastair Thomann, CEO of Generator Hostels.

Design

The opening of Puglia’s Masseria Torre Maizza this summer was a triumph for Rocco Forte Hotels and, more specifically, the group’s deputy chairman and director of design Olga Polizzi. In what has become her signature approach, Polizzi worked with local artisans on the public spaces and 40 luxurious suites to create something simultaneously unique and completely of its place. In this exclusive interview, the hotel design icon discusses shifting trends in luxury design, recent and upcoming projects, and the importance of understated elegance.

If interior architects are very much the rock stars of the hotel design world, landscape artists are all too often treated like less glamorous sessions players. However, in a number of properties, particularly in the resort space, guests will spend far more of their waking hours within carefully sculpted outdoor environments than anywhere else. From swimming pools to alfresco dining, we take a deep dive into outdoor design trends with John Krizan of Krizan Associates, the man behind America’s first “landscape hotel”, Dana Kalczak, vice-president of design at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and John Goldwyn, vice-president and director of planning & landscape at WATG.

Food & Beverage

Driven by a love for the ocean and concern for marine conservation, Ángel León has long promoted sustainability across his two restaurants in the south of Spain, one of which is housed in the Hotel Gran Meliá Sancti Petri, Cadiz. He discusses how this approach has garnered four Michelin stars and why he is on a mission to open diners’ minds when it comes to teaching us how much we have left to learn about the bounty of the sea.

In the hotel trade, restaurants come and go, as culinary trends, customer demands, star names and owner whims change with the wind. In this context, how does one ensure the kitchen remains flexible enough for continual adaptation; how much overhaul should a new brigade realistically require in terms of equipment; and who should take ultimate control of kitchen design? We hear from Foodservice Society Consultants International (FCSI) UK and Ireland chair Matthew Merritt-Harrison, Steven Drewery, director of food and beverage at Grosvenor House, and chef Nathan Outlaw, who recently opened his new restaurant at The Goring.

Technology

One of the most exciting elements of a hotel stay used to be in-room tech. Giant screens, multiple TV channels from across the globe and the ability to control aspects such as lighting and temperature remotely were just some of the elements that were unimaginable in the home for all but the most tech-forward guests. Now, however, it is the hotel industry that is desperately trying to catch up, as technology becomes integrated into our everyday lives like never before and needs upgrading at an unparalleled rate. With connectivity key, what are operators doing to harness guest-owned technology in-room and are there still areas where they have the ability to wow? We speak to Christopher Chan of Peninsula Hotels and Josh Weiss, Hilton’s vice-president of guest technology.

Late last year, in what could prove a paradigm shifting moment for the hospitality industry, Marriott International fell victim to the second-largest data breach ever recorded. With the UK watchdog already having announced plans to fine the hotel giant £99 million, what lessons has the sector at large taken away from this crisis and how high does data security now rank when it comes to assessing and managing risk. We put these questions to Robert Holland, chief technology adviser to the British Hospitality Association, Deloitte’s Klaus Julisch, and David Trunkfield, hospitality and leisure leader at PwC.

The Inside

Newly appointed GM of Dukes London, Paul Skinner.



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