In this digital age there is tension between online travel agents and brands, as Carl Michel of Generator Hostels discusses in this TV show.
Digital age conflicts
There's always a tension between an OTA and a direct machine, one of the challenges is simply, you've got to, you've gotta co-exist - we're frenemies, basically, to the OTAs, they are a necessary evil, what we hope to see, is by driving more content onto our web-site, and more unique offers onto our website, that we'll gradually gain more brand fans, brand loyalists, but we're still a relatively small brand, we only have ten locations, so we have to recognise the OTAs do play an important role in getting our brand distributed and out there to the market.
Hospitality TV will continue to feature shows about OTAs and what the digital age means for hospitality. Why not take a look at who else has been featured in the Hospitality250.
Luxury experience is not as impressive as it once was in an age of technology. In this TV show Ramsey Mankarious of Cedar Capital Partners discusses challenges facing the luxury market.
Luxury experience vs Real life
Luxury, definitely, it's getting harder and harder. Historically you went to a hotel and it was better than your house. The hotel had the cool bathrooms, it had the beautiful marble, room service. Today people's homes are almost better than hotels, people are much higher level- their expectations are much higher than than what you expect, so it's not only delivering that wonderful room product, but something that's different that they cannot get at home, because I have, my house, I have a beautiful big screen TV with surround sound, coming to a hotel with a, you know, 40 inch screen isn't that cool anymore, you know, you need something different, that's that's a norm. So it's a challenge is, always trying to be ahead of the guest or consumer in terms of what their expectations are, and particularly on technology, it's very hard to do because it moves so quickly, and you do your hotel with 200 rooms, you change 200 TVs and then the next thing comes out, and you know, you just spent a fortune on the TVs, and now everyone has their iPad and don't even look at the TV – how many people pay for TV anymore, everyone has their, you know, things on their own computers. So that's a challenge, and it's very hard today, with all the technology, to keep up with it, but that's part of the challenge we face.
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RealStar's a privately owned real estate company, vertically integrated, we own multi-family assets, hospitality assets, student accommodation assets, ostensibly what we call "buildings with beds".
We've been involved in this space for a long time. We own primary healthcare centres, student accommodation buildings, in the UK the PRS market which is er, multi-family for anyone from the US, and hotels, so, I think all of these asset classes, as interest rates are low and people are looking for income and yield, are an attractive place that new capital is all of a sudden starting to look at.
Different business models have different requirements, so if you're at the luxury end of the market, clearly people are looking for service and that service usually comes with more people to attend to you. Equally if you look at millennial’s and the newer brands that are emerging, I think a lot of people with their phones are self-serving and actually prefer that. And so, there, um, those are interesting from an owner’s point of view, because they're much more capital efficient and effective, but actually from the consumers point of view, in many respects, preferable in some parts of the market.
Africa is more than a great opportunity, it's the biggest market to come. Just to keep in mind, a few numbers; first, 1.5 billion inhabitants by 2050, it will be bigger than uh, China or bigger than India. In the continent of Africa fits more or less all the whole world; uh China fit in Africa, India, Europe, US, and Brazil, just to give you the size of Africa. And today, if you take the market, only 5%- 5.3% of the sub-Sahara Africa, just to give you uh, the, the- the mass market that we are developing, uh, branded hotels, 5%, versus 44 in, in Europe, and 70 in the US. Then, to show you the massive opportunity we have, all together, bigger than chain original player like Mangalis Hotel Group, or small independent hotels, to support the growth of Africa.
The perception of Africa is always different. If you are well connecting with Africa, this is our case, because our ownership is Africa; we are belonging to a company, we are based in, in Ivory Coast in Senegal for the past decade, and we know all the issues of Africa that we need, and we know we need to understand how we work in Africa, which is, I agree, totally different than in Russia or Western Europe or in even in the US.
And as far you know all the issues and how to deal with, it's more easy to work with than, you know, and Africa, probably there is more administration, more bureaucracy than in Europe, but the way of doing business is more the same, the wish of doing business is the same, and the acceleration of doing business is clear, then all in all, at the end, it's not to say complex to do business in Africa.
It take more times, according some countries, logistics is an issue, logistics to bring the stuff from Europe or from Asia, it's an issue to build, it's an issue, but with the new technique of the approach and the new logistics that we deploy, it's more easy to in Africa, and the time frame from day one, the construction and delivery to operate, the time has reduced by two, at least for past 5 years, and even with take modular construction we proposed a construction for 10 to 11 month, which is track record in the industry.
Speaking from Wyndham, I'm excited because we continue to be one of the fastest growing companies in the world, and we're the biggest, so I think we're going to deliver on our promise to ensure that there's a hotel in every place that our consumers' want to stay.
It's really exciting, we've acquired the Dolce brand, uh Dolce is the planning, the meeting planners brand of choice, so it's 27 hotels globally, and 7 in our part of the world, it gives us the opportunity to both add a important brand to our stable of brands, but also, to have a a management infrastructure in Europe, so now we can actually manage other- other brands within Germany and- and the markets here.
For us, what we focus on, are full service luxury, purely because those are hotels where we can create value- more value. If we bought a limited service hotel which is very good returns, there's very little we can do as in order to improve, it's you know, you rely very much on the hotel operators, uh, business generating machine, but with a full service hotel we can fix the restaurant, we can fix the bar, we can fix the meeting rooms so we really look at hotels with value creation opportunities. So if it's a beautiful hotel in Berlin, that's not really the kind of hotel that we like, we like a great hotel in a good location, but that needs fixing, needs work somehow. So that's what we focus on.
It is a collection of properties, they're all luxury properties, so that's the common thread right throughout. The level of service is right up there with the very best of our peers. That's very much part of the proposition when you come and stay at a Trump, you're not coming just to stay in a physical property with a fantastic room in a great, iconic location, you're coming for the experience and to live the life of Trump. The other thing that makes our brand different is we have a family that sits behind it, and is very actively involved in the development of the brand.
I think one of the first things I decided to do was to get out of Australia. You know, it's a wonderful country I lived in Sydney, grew up in Sydney, but it's quite small, in terms of what you can do in the space, so if you, if you wanna be, in the hotel sector and have international experience you obviously have to leave Australia, so, that was one of my sort of the first decision, er, was to move to London where I got a position with Hilton. And a lot of it's down to timing as well, so it's, you know, right place, right time. And being involved in the transaction side of our business, so being around M & A transactions, lots of disposals, that's something that I've made a conscious decision to stay close to. And also then choosing to go over to Dubai, where I would be able to access Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, I think that's sort of broadened my career prospects and, and is part of what I think has made me get the role with Trump, was the international experience and also the experience working for a brand, and an owner, I think whenever you can have the experience of working on both sides of the fence, then that’s a great value, so really try to make sure I have experience from all aspects within the industry. Or as many as possible, anyway.
Career development in hospitality can be a long and rewarding journey. In this TV show Gregory Lanter of Club Med shares his career story.
Career development show
I believe starting in this industry is a great element. It's very difficult to start in another industry and to join this industry and this, very specific type of companies, because there is a culture, and this culture is not shared with all the industries. Myself, I started in Club Med and I started in the allotment for Club Med. So I'm pure in-house, product of Club Med. That's how it worked out, and I agree that developing Club Med around the world is about finding the most beautiful places in the world, and that's the sweetest part of the job, and that's the dream part of the job. Then, there is, as for any jobs, the other part of it, which is more difficult, but even if challenging, fascinating, and, and great, and a great thing to experience, definitely. So! Start in the travel industry, that's probably one of the best ways to end up in the travel industry, if I have one advice.
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