HMH’s Voivenel shares insights at hotel conference
Laurent A. Voivenel, CEO of leading hotel management company HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings has shared strategic insights and trends in hospitality investment on new projects and refurbishments at the hotel show in Dubai.
Voivenel participated in the event’s Vision Conference panel, which was chaired by Catalin I. Cighi, managing partner of Cain Hospitality Innovation (CHI) and featured experts including Annamaria Lambri, associate professor of Architecture & Interior Design from American University in Dubai.
In an era of tight capex budgets, Voivenel stressed: “A strategic approach is needed to ensure investment is maximized to positively impact both operational performance and capital value. A well thought out and executed capital expenditure strategy in the form of a Hotel Improvement Plan can propel a hotel ahead of its competitive set.
“There are a number of considerations including age of asset, legislative regulations/changes, emerging consumer preferences and competitive positioning in the market that influence the way in which capital expenditure budgets are directed. Extended period of trading at high occupancy levels heightens the need for refurbishment.”
Voivenel said hotel owner and operator capex priorities were not always in alignment and in many cases were at odds.
“A collaborative approach, whether for soft refurbishment or extensive upgrade programmes, is required to plan for improved trading performance, adaptation to technology advances, changes in consumer trends and compliance with legislation,” he explained.
“Typically operators and investors work on seven year cycles for room refurbishments and five-year cycles for food, beverage and public areas but this can be extended with well-designed, high-quality fit-out and rolling maintenance programmes.”
More lodging projects broke ground in certain markets in the Middle East as traditional lenders eased restrictions on construction loan originations. There are 183 hotel projects and 54,000 hotel rooms currently in the UAE pipeline. 10,000 new hotel rooms will open in Dubai throughout 2016.