Hoteliers are fundamentally resilient and inventive: Melvin Gold
Melvin Gold was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London 2020. Photo by Rahul Venkit
Be it the coronavirus or other challenges posed by Brexit, the hotel fraternity is a creative lot who will always find solutions, says veteran hotel industry consultant Melvin Gold.
As per his own admission, the hotel industry is in Melvin Gold’s blood, having worked in it for most of his decades’ long career.
Running Melvin Gold Consulting for over 16 years, his background was in operating hotels before two periods with PKF, during which he served as managing director of their Europe, Middle East and Africa hotel team.
Melvin Gold spoke exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS about how labour has been a longstanding issue in UK hospitality and why strong hotel supply in the market may conversely lead to a much-needed increase in residential supply base as well.
This pre-Covid confinement interview was conducted on the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London 2020, which took place on February 6 at the Conrad St James.
On the fundamental problem-solving mentality of hoteliers
Gold: I think hoteliers are resilient, inventive, creative and they’re used to solving problems. The latest Coronavirus is just another problem that they have to solve. Brexit brings a different issue because it’s more long term and has been compounded by the games of politicians over a period of time to bring this to a close in a reasonable timescale. And despite different views, the end of that process – or the beginning of the end – has now been reached and at least people now know the playing field that they’re going to be on in the UK terms for the next five years, subject to the various EU negotiations.
Labor a longstanding issue in hospitality
Gold: We are reliant on foreign labor to a large extent. Now, that’s not new. Interestingly, I left college in 1981 and my final thesis was on the subject of the impact of foreign labor on the UK hotel industry. So it was an issue in 1981 that I saw from the couple of periods working in industry that I had done and I was determined to focus on it in my final thesis when I left college. The sources of immigrants may have changed, but the sector has never moved towards a predominantly British labor force and probably never will.
Strong hotel supply also means an increased residential supply base
Gold: The level of supply that’s coming into the hotel market has been growing strongly in the UK. Over the last five years, there has been a very healthy pipeline in some cities that’s causing downward pressure. In London, where there’s a significant pipeline, it hasn’t, but we won’t necessarily know the impact of all of that. It will also have the benefit of causing some smaller and independent hotels probably to drop out of the market where they need capital investment and they’re not fit for purpose in the 21st century. This should help fuel a residential supply base because we need more residential accommodation in the country as is pretty well documented.
Why buy UK PLC?
Gold: Fundamentally, I’m an optimist and I believe that, as I said, hoteliers are resilient and investors are creative and will find solutions. That doesn’t mean that every situation will demand or require investment. But it does mean that overall, I think there are opportunities and if you can find those opportunities, they are well worth investing in because I do believe in the future of Britain, in its new independent guise.
Thoughts on TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
Gold: It’s a really interesting gathering. There are lots of people here from different walks of life who are not necessarily hoteliers, but are impacting on the sector. It’s great to have the opportunity to network with architects and designers and the like. All in all, great event.
Melvin Gold was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London 2020. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact the TOPHOTELPROJECTS team.