Something in the air

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded

We were at the 20th International Hotel Conference (IHIF) in Berlin last week, and there was a very palpable sense in the air that we are on the verge of a sea change in the hospitality sector. The industry leaders at the conference are trying to figure out exactly what this could mean for them and their businesses, but one thing is for sure - remaining static is no longer an option for anyone.

Marriott is pushing its Millennial-facing budget lifestyle brand Moxy to front of picture - it has a stand to itself. The other big hotel chains are pondering what they can do to attract future generations who will have very different travel behaviours from those who have gone before.

Accor's Sebastien Bazin, never a man to go with the flow, stressed the importance of being a manager as opposed to a franchise organisation - while his peers are striving to be as asset light as possible he is making a virtue of Accor's 240,000 staff, many of whom are dealing with customers face to face. Bazin also explained the company's big move in to the vacation rental sector - he wants to retain customers who might have stayed at an Accor hotel on business in all their other travel modes, perhaps with family or friends. All of which, in my view, bodes well for the serviced apartment - and particularly the aparthotel - sectors.

Flexible, modern, inventive, different - brands such as Mode, Locke and Lyf are setting the pace in addressing the needs of millennials, and some of the big boys in the hotel sector are definitely playing catch up.


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