Guests value experience more than hotel brands alone: Alexis SG Delprat

by | 11 Oct 2017 | Experts

Millennials are looking for a set of different experiences, beyond just going into a branded hotel, says Alexis SG Delprat, CEO at Tabah Capital.

A true global citizen, Alexis SG Delprat is passionate about structuring hotel acquisitions, investments and hospitality transactions.

The hospitality advisory ace and CEO of Luxembourg-based Tabah Capital spoke exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Dubai 2017.

On overcoming his biggest challenges in the hotel industry

Delprat: When we started Tabah Capital, the aim was to start investing in Dubai and the UAE. But market conditions with the ramp up to 2020 has actually made investing locally in terms of land prices and room prices and doing a transaction here very challenging. Also, there was a very short supply of funding from the local banks because of the general economic background not only in the GCC, but also across the world.

So rather than competing and trying to buy assets in the run up to 2020 — and nobody wants to sell their assets now — we decided to go and explore niche markets in Europe. We’ve identified a couple of niche markets, either coming out of the recession process or being affected by geopolitical events. We looked at Portugal, Spain and Belgium.

On his forecast for the hotel industry

Delprat: From my own personal experience, the future is going to be challenged by millennials. Even now, people are looking for a set of different experiences, more than just going into a branded hotel, which they’ve known or which they’ve been recommended.

When you go to a hotel, and when I go to a hotel, particularly in the type of hotels that Dubai is able to offer in the five-star or in the four-star segment, you want a different experience. You want excitement, you want pleasure. You want to walk out of that hotel, with an experience that’s memorable, that you are going to remember for years.

On his most memorable achievement

Delprat: We had an UAE-based client from Saudi Arabia, who as part of their investment philosophy, wanted to acquire a trophy asset in Paris. We had to carve up a deal for the Saudi owner who had been in a joint venture with one international operator. And we had to do this deal on our own, locked in a room, because it was absolutely secret. The Saudis didn’t speak French; the US brand that we were representing didn’t understand very well the local philosophy. So we had to basically do a lot of cultural and literal translation.

So, my first memorable transaction was more about translating and understanding culture than actually being savvy at numbers, hotel management or hotel terms and conditions. It was the largest single asset transaction in 2009. It’s one of my memorable moments because such asset transactions don’t happen regularly. It’s very rare that we have to deal with a government agency and a Saudi private client at the same time.

Alexis SG Delprat was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Dubai 2017. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact the TOPHOTELPROJECTS team.

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