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Hotco 2023 Attracts Around 300 Attendees to Vienna

Hotels

The global brands panel discussion at Hotco 2023.

Hotco 2023, the leading hotel investment conference for the Central and Eastern European region and beyond, attracted almost 300 investors, developers, operators, designers, bankers, owners, brands, consultants and entrepreneurs from three continents to the Andaz Vienna am Belvedere in the Austrian capital, a new host city, on March 27-28.

The event focused on the financing, development and asset management of hospitality projects. In addition to this, topics included news and analysis and success stories from CEE hotel investors, owners and brands.

“Hotco 2023 event was a great success; it exceeded every expectation and proved its strong position in the hospitality industry,” said Horwath HTL Hungary, organizers of the annual event.

The conference consisted of 12 panel sessions in addition to networking events where 56 speakers shared their professional insights and stories. Susanne Kraus-Winkler, Austria’s State Secretary for Tourism, emphasized the resilience of the industry and her positive outlook for the future. Besides the panels, the organizers also provided a large number of networking opportunities.

In the panel sessions, participants were given insights into selected acquisitions straight from the sources. The first panel looked at the acquisition of Vienna House by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. The audience learnt how Vienna House changed from an idea on a piece of paper to a successful European brand to it becoming a global player through its new owners.

Professionals discussed questions related to hotel project financing and sustainability. International hotel operators are seeking new locations, while developers, investors and banks are still cautious about new construction projects, due to high construction costs and the limited availability of financing. available. 

Sustainability is the Future

A number of panel sessions highlighted the importance of ESG and sustainability. Speakers agreed that increasing the sustainability of hotel projects is of the utmost importance, as this can reduce costs and assets that comply with ESG criteria are increasingly more sought after by investors. According to Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, CEO of Rabmer Group, green technology will play an important role and create a win-win situation.

David Jenkins, vice president of business development at Radisson Hotel Group, highlighted how two of its new brands, Radisson Collection and Radisson Individuals, found their respective markets during the pandemic and demand has been growing ever since. All the global players on stage underlined the strong progress they have made in strengthening their brands across Europe as a whole.

There was also an official announcement by Péter Kerek, deputy managing director for strategy at Accent Hotels, and Silvija Lovreta, senior director for South Eastern Europe international hotel development at Marriott International, of the proposed opening of the first Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Budapest.

Hotco 2023 concluded with a cautiously optimistic general sentiment about the upcoming years.

“Despite economic headwinds and geopolitical turmoil in Eastern Europe, the hotel industry has shown remarkable resilience in the CEE region and still offers untapped opportunities. Panelists and attendees agreed that hotel investments are an excellent hedge against inflation, often outperforming residential and office investments,” concluded Marius Gomola, managing director of Horwath HTL and the founder Hotco.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of April 11, 2023.

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