HOTEL PROFESSIONALS DISCUSS THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF F&B
Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2014) dedicates a special panel on the evolution of hotel F&B in the region
United Arab Emirates, 26 March 2014: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2014, held at Madinat Jumeirah from 4 - 5 May in Dubai will be looking at solutions to fill in the gaps in the hotel F&B market in the region.
As the Middle East is becoming the global benchmark for hotel food and beverage, AHIC this year has dedicated a special panel session titled "THE EVOLUTION OF HOTEL F&B IN THE REGION – WHERE TO NEXT?" to discuss what value are hotel operators adding, how are they competing and where is it now headed. The session will also look at where owners need to invest to ensure they are able to compete, and what impact can F&B have on ADR and RevPAR.
The Session will be moderated by Mary Gostelow, Editor, Gostelow Report, who will be in conversation with Henning Fries, Managing Director of Hospitality in Al Habtoor Group, Gert Kopera, Senior Vice President Food & Beverage in Jumeirah Group, and Bob Puccini, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Puccini Group.
Commenting on that, Henning Fries said: "Some might argue that for the most part, in the US and Europe, hotels are no longer considered dining destinations and have long been displaced by independent restaurants/venues. Especially in the ME and Asia, Owners and Operators alike are increasingly focused on maintaining and growing turnover from F&B related activities, while at the same time, boosting the reputation and footfall to their hotels."
He added: "In many instances, hotels are launched through their F&B offerings in the local market first, which then leads to the rooms' uptake. From an owners' perspective, choosing the operator will more and more be determined by which F&B competencies and access to restaurant brands the management company can bring to the table and thus enhance owners return."
According to STR Global, Hotel Research Company, the F&B revenues have roughly grown in relation to the room performance across the markets that are not affected by localised problems. Total F&B accounts for approx. 37% of revenue across the Middle East, which is pretty much the highest worldwide and it is growing by 5-10% each year. Doha generates more revenue from F&B than room’s revenue.
Dubai total room revenue was approx. 16.5 billion Dirhams in 2013. Total F&B was 10 Billion AED – cost of servicing F&B is the lowest worldwide – under 60% - 58.5%, and profitability in F&B was at its highest. In Europe it is nearer 75% on less revenue. No hotel market comes close to the F&B revenues generated in the Middle East and that is unlikely to change.
Bob Puccini commented: “With the ever-growing number of millennial and affluent global travelers, Dubai’s hotel restaurants, with their eclectic makeup of patrons, have the opportunity to win with regards to ROI if conceived correctly. In order for a restaurant to work in Dubai, everything from the concept, to the design, to the operations and to the branding have to tell the same story, the same message, through a cohesive and convincing framework that ultimately fulfils an emotion.”
Other participants in AHIC this year have also highlighted the importance of F&B in the hotel sector in the region. Mark Willis, Area Vice President Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa for the Rezidor Hotel Group said:
“A key focus for us this year will be the rejuvenation of our food and beverage services for guests. If you look at the collaboration between food and drink and events, there is a lot of synergy. Last year we launched Experience Meetings which is our new meeting and event concept under the Radisson Blu umbrella. A core element of Experience Meetings involves creating a healthier approach to meetings and conferences by providing brain-food that is light and healthy."
Kees Hartzuiker, CEO of Roya International also commented:
"We are constantly reviewing the performance of F&B outlets at the hotels that we oversee. Every situation is different but most certainly third party F&B operators need to be considered - and in general, we find that this strategy generates a far superior ROI compared to a self-managed or operated space. There is no doubt that third-party outlets also tend to have more dynamic offerings, which also assists in establishing the property's positioning and attracting a larger contingency of the local community. This in turn provides for a richer experience for in-house hotel guests since they get to experience the social elements of the destination that way."
AHIC 2014, which is organised by MEED and Bench Events, will include key participants such as: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Jumeirah Group, ACCOR, Al Habtoor Group, Hilton Worldwide, Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development – SMIT, Accor, Wyndham Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, AECOM, Argentina Ministry of Tourism, Colliers International, Drake and Scull International, FRHI Hotels and Resorts, Golden Tulip Hotels Suites, Resorts, Hotel Partners Africa, HVS, JA Resorts & Hotels, Marriott International, Meliá Hotels International, Premier Inn, Roya International, Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA), Shaza Hotels, STR Global, Worldhotels, Jones Lang LaSalle, Faithful + Gould, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, IFA Hotel Investments, Citymax Hotels, Tourism Finance Corporation Kenya, ESPA, Hodema, and King Abdullah Economic City.
About Bench Events
Bench Events has a long track record of delivering, with its partners, the premier hotel investment events across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Bench Events’ Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, works in association with the highly successful International Hotel Investment Forum which is now in its seventeenth year (www.berlinconference.com). In 2005, he was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai (www.arabianconference.com); and in 2008 launched the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference (www.russia-cisconference.com). In 2011 Bench Events added two events to its portfolio, co-hosting the Turkey & Neighbours Hotel Investment Conference (www.cathic.com) and launching the Africa Hotel Investment Forum which in 2013 was held in Nairobi, Kenya (www.africa-conference.com). In 2014 Bench Events launched the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (www.restaurant-invest.com) in Dubai.
For 50 years business leaders have been relying on MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) to give them a wealth of factual, unbiased business information that they need to be successful. The MEED brand represents an unrivalled portfolio of high caliber business information products, online services and premier networking events. MEED Conferences is part of the leading information brand in the Middle East working to provide delegates with the very latest business sensitive information. Over the past 12 years, MEED Conferences has organised events attended by senior government officials and thousands of international business people. The conference series is aimed at companies actively seeking business in the markets of the Middle East. MEED is well established as the source of strategic and accurate regional information placing it in a unique position to bring together high-caliber speakers. www.meed.com