Take and observations on HICAP, AOCAP and ITB 2022
Wednesday, 30th November 2022
Source : Stephen J. Renard

AOCAP, HICAP, and ITB Singapore can be described as 'Reconnecting with Industry Leaders and Friends'.

HICAP (Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific) has been Asia Pacific's Essential Hotel Conference for Over 30 Years! HICAP has been the unequaled annual gathering place for Asia-Pacific's hotel investment community, attracting the most influential beings from around the globe.

AOCAP (Alternate Ownership Conference Asia Pacific) is Asia Pacific's only conference focused on resort development, recreational real estate, Timeshare, vacation Clubs, Fractional Ownership, Clubs, Condo Hotels and Serviced Apartments.

HICAP is the longest operating investment conference in Asia celebrating their 32nd Anniversary in 2022. Up until this year, they were held in Hong Kong, usually at the Intercontinental Hotel. However, due to covid, it was relocated to Singapore. It was held at the Swissotel the Stamford in Singapore. The opening party and some of the meetings were held on the 70th floor overlooking Singapore, making it the highest operating hospitality conference ever held!

This year the predictors were far more open and frank than those soothsayers at the IHIF in Berlin in May 2022, where they predicted "2022 as a sweet year filled with Roses".

At HICAP, the crystal ball guys were much more blunt saying "Watch out! We could be running into some global head winds!" Due to these elephants in the room, they said:

  1. Global recession
  2. Ukraine vs Russia
  3. China not opening yet
  4. The current and most crucial issue, where has all the hospitality staff gone?

This link is all the topics discussed at these conferences, click here: Retrospective on the 2022 IHIF Berlin and ATM Dubai

The subject discussed at one of the sections was quite intriguing. It was moderated by Tareq Bagaeen from Hotstats, on what is an Asset Manager and what is their responsibility? There was a heeded debate whether an Asset Manager just reviews the properties' financial performance for the owner or gets "hands on" by overseeing and influencing changes to the properties' operations and finances. Do they deal directly with the property management or the management company? No conclusions were drawn.

Even though this symposium was SE Asian centric, 82% who attended said that Recession is an immediate global concern. Not just for SE Asia, but for everyone in the world!

The final nights gala and networking get together was at the newly renovated Park Royal Marina Bay Resort and the hotel was a marvelous renovation of an "old Portman Concept."

Did you know that Singapore has more Portman concept Hotels than anywhere in the world?

What is the Portman Hotel Design you ask?

The food and service were far above anyone's expectations and we all commended the General Manager, Melvin Lim.

The only CEO of a global brand who attended was Sebastien Bazin, of Accor Group who was in his customary good form. His conversation with interviewer Jeff Higley, was in Sebastien's typical straight forward approach. Jeff asked him about all his recent hotel acquisitions and Sebastien shared comments on Accor now with an immense 43 brands. Sebastien said "it is now time for reflection on what we have."

Sebastien discussed at length how he is positioning his hotels to be going "glogal," which means he wants to make his hotels a "local focal point hotspot" in every community they are in. Sebastien on the same topic, commented that for the last 3 years, 55% of their hotel business was local. This positioning of his brands "Glogal" he said will entice guests from outside of the area to want to stay at Accor Hotels everywhere..."as that is where the action is!"

When asked by Jeff Higley why Sebastien is known for not getting stressed? Sebastien responded that before he makes any decisions, he listens first to his stomach (gut), next his heart, and finally his head.

Each conference these days comes with new idioms, which sums up a subject thoroughly in a few words... these were the new Buzz words that surfaced at AOCAP and HICAP.

Buzz Words picked up at the show............

  1. Rise of the conscientious traveler - Very climate and environmentally concerned.
  2. Staff reconnection with our industry - Try to find people to run our business again.
  3. Unique class assets - these are special assets; such as residences, time share and Wework.
  4. Family emotional purchase - many Asian companies are managed by family members who purchase on a whim and not on analytics.
  5. Crystal Ball guys - speakers at the conference.
  6. Our industry is super elastic - we rebound quickly. Our recovery period.
  7. Frozen assets - ones either under water or not sellable at this time.
  8. Going Glocal - Attracting local community business.
  9. Predictors - Soothsayers at conventions.
  10. Augmented hospitality - Non conventional real estate plays.
  11. Adversity causes opportunity - Buy when everyone is selling …….sell when everyone is buying.
  12. Techceleration - Speed of technical growth in the hospitality industry.

Mr. Miguel Ko was chosen to receive HICAP 2022 recipient of the "Lifetime Achievement Award." Miguel is currently the CEO of Capitaland and was the Chairman and President of Asia Pacific Division at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at CDL Hotels International. Mr. Miguel Ko was voted as Regional Hotel Chief of the Year 2007 and again in 2008 by the readers of the Travel Weekly. He was the winner of the Visionary Leader of the Year in 2007, recipient of the 2007 Global Awards at the World Travel Mart in London and honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 at the China Hotel Investment Conference in Shanghai. Miguel is one of the special people in our industry. He gives everyone "the time of day" and makes us all feel important! https://www.tatlerasia.com/people/miguel-ko

Those that stood out from the rest were Marcus Hanna, Managing Director at Fairmont Singapore & Swissôtel the Stamford was everywhere! Considering he oversees an almost 2000 room hotel with multiple food & beverage outlets, retail, banqueting, etc. Marcus seemed to be everywhere during the conference.

For the opening party, Marcus was at the door greeting guests and was also seen scrutinizing the daily buffets and luncheon cuisine, making sure that everything was "Tickety-Boo." A job well done Marcus!

Then there was Duncan O'Rourke, ex CEO Northern Europe at Accor, now appointed as VP Accor Luxury Division Asia...who roamed the Accor booth from morning till night. Duncan has recently been appointed the VP for Asia for Accor luxury.

So, at the Accor booth he was like the "Brand Ambassador" shaking hands with everyone and introducing himself to all his new employees, and anyone who wanted to get to know the new head of Accor Asia. Everyone came by for a hello and to take his business card. Duncan will be a great emissary to the Asian hospitality community for Accor!

Stephen J. Renard, President, Renard International Hospitality Search Consultants

Recipient of the 31st Annual Pinnacle Awards: "Hotelier Magazine, 2019 Supplier of the Year" 

"We use our reputation to help build yours.  Celebrating over five decades of Excellence - since 1970"

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Email: steve@renardinternational.com


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