The Southeast Asia Hotel Investors Summit 2017 has just passed and in its follow-up lies many new discussions ahead about the future of hotel investment. Insiders and outsiders alike know that markets, technology, and customers are changing, but clear distinctions about the actual key debates in the industry can be hard to find.
Here are 5 of the most important debates that were in focus at SEAHIS 2017:
#1: City Hotel Investment vs. Resort Hotel Investment
When it comes to choosing hotel locations, the question of city vs. resort hotels is longstanding for investors. Should one seek out a city space, with less seasonal variation, more connectivity, and less risk of building site—or should one take a chance to become the next major resort destination with all the earning potential and lifestyle benefits of those environments?
Tuesday’s panel at SEAHIS discussed exactly this—and contention was high as compelling arguments were made by leaders in both fields. While many in the audience favored city hotel investment, new trends in resorts in locations such as the Maldives were worth noting.
#2: Restaurant Concept Specialists vs. Traditional In-House Restaurant
Restaurant spaces were a key part of the discussion as the experience of food becomes increasingly important for the millennial age group. Should hoteliers seek out restaurant management that coordinates with a hotel but operates distinctly, or should restaurants be fully integrated into the hotel property both physically and strategically?
Wednesday’s roundtable featuring Soho Hospitality’s Rohit Sachdev touched on this with some insight on the success of recent specialized dining experiences in that brand and others such as Tao in the United States which have transformed traditional dining.
#3: Airbnb Growth as a Friend vs. a Foe of Hotel Industry
The word ‘Airbnb’ evokes strong responses from many hoteliers as the San Francisco-based company has completely disrupted prior ways of booking short-term accommodation. Many hoteliers are wondering how to apply the successes of Airbnb to their models of booking.
The topic came up throughout the event: Can Airbnb actually be a friend to hoteliers in increasing tourism consumption and offering distribution for hotel and apartment inventory? Or is the potential lack of regulation and other aspects of the platform too much of a drawback?
#4: OTAs Bookings as a Smart Investment vs. Costly Drawback
‘OTAs’—another four letter word among hoteliers—were in the spotlight on Tuesday’s panel including insight direct from booking.com representative Carmen Hui.
While hoteliers are known for their dislike of OTA commission fees, some key points were made about the costs that can be saved on including customer service and marketing distribution as a part of those OTA fees that may benefit hoteliers in the long run. The consensus was that OTAs, with pros and cons, are part of the equation unable to be ignored when it comes to filling hotels.
#5: Consolidation of Brands vs. Diversification of Brands
Lastly, the topic of brand strategy was central. What are the effects of the increasingly large ‘sea of brands’ that consumers have to choose from in the hotel space? Should hoteliers be focusing on distinguishing their product through new brands or should they consolidate?
Moreover, what are the risk of staff and leadership within the company itself in having so many brands to juggle—does this structure offer more or less focus and will it confuse internal affairs as well as consumer outreach?
Here at Hotel Intel, we look forward to keeping a pulse on how these topics evolve.
For those who were unable to attend, we hope this overview offers some insight on what discussions hoteliers are having right now regarding their next moves in the industry. For those who were at the event, thank you for an insightful two days and we hope this provides a good review for the key themes brought up that will shape the months ahead.