IHIF 2024 signals a brighter future ahead

Image Credit IHIF 2024, Simon Callaghan, Questex
The outlook was bright at this year’s International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF), which saw over 2,500 attendees congregate at Berlin’s storied InterContinental and Pullman hotels, in one of the largest gatherings of industry professionals in the EMEA region.

Hundreds of experts from hospitality, finance, asset management and academia shared their insights and analysis with the delegates, after a whirlwind year in the sector. 

The first day of speakers focused on the bigger picture, sticking to the theme ‘Making it in an Evolving Macro-Environment’. 

Investment heads in the right direction

The hospitality investment community acknowledged the direction of the industry was starting to track towards a better path, with investors expressing optimism on the outlook of the transactions market compared to six months ago. 

However, growing geopolitical tensions threaten to derail the positive movements of the last six months. Several speakers noted that ongoing conflicts in the region present a serious risk to both consumer demand and investment.

James Pomeroy, Global Economist at HSBC, told attendees during his keynote speech that a shift in spending habits post-pandemic, coupled with a growing middle class in Asia, provided reason for medium-term optimism. 

Image Credit IHIF 2024, Simon Callaghan, Questex

“International travel in particular will see Indian consumer demand grow 12 per cent, every year, for the next 20 years,” Mr Pomeroy said.

“This economy will completely transform the way we think about global growth.”

He added that 2024 and beyond would likely see an improvement in global growth, a decrease in inflation levels and higher discretionary spend. 

IHG Hotel Resorts’ Chief Executive Elie Maalouf echoed Mr Pomeroy’s optimistic sentiment, saying that a “wave of retirements” coming now would drive up international leisure travel. 

Day two’s agenda brought a focus on macro travel trends, supply and demand, and the drivers of profit, amongst others. In the much-anticipated Capital Talks panel, representatives from KSL Capital Partners, Starwood Capital and AXA discussed the underlying trends supporting hospitality investment. 

Hospitality’s biggest names take the stage

Some of the hospitality industry’s most influential CEOs took to the stage on Tuesday, including Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta, who said major hotel groups were looking to form more experiential partnerships. 

“Because our Hilton Honors members, particularly, want more experiences,” he told consultant Nick van Merken

Wednesday on the jam-packed IHIF schedule saw all the discussion threads of the previous days converge, with a focus on innovation and inspiration aimed at empowering the hospitality investment community to tackle the market head-on. 

The final day also saw the annual Young Leader Award presented to Briana Swift, Regional Vice President of Development – Northern Europe, Hyatt

The conference concluded with an inspiring talk from tech futurist Lindsey McInerney, who shared insights on innovation, leadership, and emphasised the role of humanity in the ever-evolving landscape of AI and technology.