Key Takeaways from the International Hotel Investment Forum

Key Takeaways from the International Hotel Investment Forum

December 6, 2023
4 min read

The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) is an annual hotel industry event held in Berlin, Germany. This three-day event includes live conferences from 180 industry-leading speakers, over 400 global investors, masterclasses, CEO panels, an exhibition hall, and networking events. 

Each year there is key information to take away from the conference for the hospitality industry. There is always so much to learn from new industry trends and changes to advice and recommendations from CEOs.

Smartphones are Taking Over

In 2016,’s Peter Vanhoeven explained that ‘one out of every three accommodation bookings is done on a mobile device.’ Marriott’s Osama Hirzalla noted that ‘mobile is the fastest growing direct channel for the chain with most of these bookings within a 48-hour window.’ This is still as prevalent in 2023, with 1 out of 4 UK adults booking their main holiday online via a smartphone as uncovered in our UK Holiday Planning and Booking Process report. It is now more important for booking companies and hotels to have an easy-to-use mobile website or mobile device app with a simple purchase journey. Investing in mobile-friendly technology offers major opportunities to grow direct bookings, with consumers booking within 48 hours this is especially important for emerging markets.

Work Hard & Play Hard in the Same Four Walls

The 2017 IHIF conference highlighted a new ‘lodging trend’ in which consumers are now looking for dwellings which provide sleeping quarters and workspaces for urban nomads. These spaces allow young professionals to work remotely and travel without taking time off for a holiday. The Amsterdam-based company, Zoku Hotel offers loft-like rooms and several spaces to socialise with a bar, kitchen, communal working and living spaces, and a rooftop garden. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living prices rising this style of remote working has become increasingly popular. Our UK Working Life report revealed over half of working people think that combining a holiday with work is an appealing way to travel the world while still being able to work. The hotel market will need to consider these new lifestyle changes and try to offer areas to work and take meetings while on holiday.

Brand Proliferation Set to Continue

When some of the world’s top hotel CEOs (Hilton, IHG, AccorHotels & Choice) took the stage at the 2018 IHIF, it was noted that between them these groups operate over 90 brands and counting. The CEOs justified such dispersion in their branding as a way to target every possible customer niche. With large brands constantly growing to meet a variety of customer needs and demands it doesn’t leave much room for the smaller niche brands. Despite this, at the same conference, there was a dedicated session to serviced apartments; for the first time ever at IHIF. in 2018, Guus Bakker, CEO EMEA at Frasers Hospitality, said there has been a major shift towards leisure clientele who now account for 70% of the total at the groups’ properties. 

Fortune Favours the Bold

With the IHIF 2023 headline being ‘Fortune Favours the Bold’ the conference kicked off with a talk from Professor Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalisation and Development at Oxford University. He noted that hospitality has previously been a neglected area but suggested the industry needs to be proactive and ‘ahead of the curve’. Professor Goldin went on to say “the hospitality industry needs to do better to deliver the experience that people want”. Similarly, the chairman and CEO of Accor said “People want and need to travel to build moments and interactions”. Brands need to identify these consumer needs and deliver first-class experiences to all travellers.

What We Think of The IHIF Conference

The International Hotel Investment Forum provides a space for industry leaders to share trends and changes within the industry. The conference is always looking to improve visibility into the ever-changing market to ensure businesses are following consumer behaviours which are reflected in our reports even years later.

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