HVS is the largest independent hospitality consultancy with 40 offices worldwide. Their offices in Dubai and Cape Town are responsible for all assignments throughout the MEA region; and they have advised on some of the most important transactions in the hospitality sector.
BTN caught up with Hala Matar Choufany - President- Middle East, Africa and South Asia, HVS to find out what the company’s plans are as FHS looms ever closer in Abu Dhabi.
BTN: What are your / your organization’s core areas of focus when it comes to investment? I.e in the areas of innovation, sustainability, human capital and/or technology?
HMC: HVS stands out as the preeminent global consultancy solely dedicated to the hospitality sector, renowned for its extensive global proficiency across the entire spectrum of hospitality development and ownership phases. Whether it’s assessing feasibility during property planning or acquisition, navigating ownership and operations, or strategizing for disposition and exit, HVS possesses an unparalleled expertise, hospitality insights, worldwide competence, expansive global reach, and a nuanced grasp of local markets.
Clients consistently rely on HVS for their advisory services and comprehensive valuation reports, employing them for multifarious purposes including transaction guidance, financing decisions, financial reporting obligations, asset management initiatives, and evaluations of operational performance. With its unmatched expertise, HVS offers unwavering support to clients in making informed choices regarding hotel operators and brand selections for their properties, while also facilitating the evaluation and negotiation of management and franchise contracts.
BTN: What is your outlook for the hospitality industry in the Middle East in 2023 and beyond?
HMC: The ambitious economic diversification plans of the GCC countries, aimed at reducing their reliance on oil and gas, are making notable progress. Within this diversification agenda, tourism has emerged as a pivotal focus. This shift is driven not only by the recognition of tourism’s pivotal role in stimulating growth but also by its remarkable resilience, having swiftly rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. While the current economic climate presents enticing prospects across diverse markets and asset categories, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges posed by escalating borrowing costs, development expenditures, and operational outlays. These factors are exerting an increasing impact on hotel valuations and project returns, creating a complex landscape for investors and developers. In addition to these financial considerations, shifting travel trends and evolving preferences among travelers over the past decade have ushered in new concepts and alternative accommodations, challenging the prevailing traditional hotel model. Current development trends encompass a spectrum of approaches, including the emergence of all-inclusive concepts in the midscale and upscale segments, the repositioning or repurposing of existing assets, investments in technology and sustainable solutions, the reimagining of F&B offerings, and the transformation of vacant spaces into revenue-generating streams. Boutique hotels exuding distinctive character and eco-friendly hotels and resorts also feature prominently in this evolving landscape.
Notwithstanding the above challenges, the outlook for the Middle East’s hospitality sector remains robust, with an anticipated increase in overall demand for the region. Currently attracting less than 10 percent of total worldwide tourist arrivals, the Middle East is poised for further growth in this vital industry bolstered by the GCC countries’ ambitious tourism plans for diversifying their economies, robust network of regional airlines and ongoing visa reforms.
BTN: What does your panel/presentation/workshop at FHS focus on and what will delegates be able to take away from your session?
HMC: While the current economic climate presents enticing prospects across diverse markets and asset categories, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges posed by escalating borrowing costs, development expenditures, and operational outlays. These factors are exerting an increasing impact on hotel valuations and project returns, creating a complex landscape for investors and developers. The panel discussion will delve deep into the intricate world of hotel development costs, unveiling the secrets that impact project costs and hotel values and outline best practices to ensure timely completion of projects within reasonable investment budgets.
BTN: What are you looking forward to most from your attendance at FHS 2023?
HMC: FHS has firmly established itself as a top-tier event, bringing together industry leaders to exchange entrepreneurial ideas, explore avenues for growth, strengthen their professional networks, and stay abreast of the latest industry trends. HVS has played a pivotal role in aiding developers and owners in identifying viable and financially lucrative development projects as well as acquisition opportunities. We remain committed to supporting industry growth by offering dependable financial guidance and assisting clients with optimizing the value of their assets.
The Future Hospitality Summit is being held on 25-27 September 2023 at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island for more info visit https://www.futurehospitality.com/