The Hotelier Middle East GM Debate 2015



In a panel discussion held at the recently concluded Great GM Debate 2015, hoteliers discussed the importance of the relationship between the owner, operators and asset managers.

The panel was chaired by Rupprecht Queitsch, CEO & senior partner, INHOCO Group. The lively discussion revolved around the several facets owners, operators and hotel managers’ face in their working routines. Quetitsch dived into quizzing the panellists on how much information needs to be shared between the two parties.

“There is no two ways about, trust and transparency is absolutely important. Throughout my career, I have always believed in sharing the good and bad. My owners possess in access of 20, there is no point in hiding anything from them,” said Bill Keffer, general manager, JW Marriott Marquis.

Elaborating on the matter, Mariano Faz of TSG Asset Management said: “We need to share market details with the owners. We need not worry about negative figures being thrown in our faces. Honesty and speaking about the problems we face is paramount.”

Speaking from an owner’s perspective Abdellah Essonni of Abjar Hotels International had a rather compassionate stance given the group not only owns hotels but operates a few brands under the franchise model. “I feel as owners we are extremely well informed, and this is down to the amazing relationship we share with our operators. We also understand what to expect, and the realistic targets that we need to set given we wear the operator’s hat as well.”

While talking about involvement and transparency, the panel agreed that the pre-defined rules set in place when the management contract is being signed cannot always be iron clad.

“Owners questioning operators on the 1.5% marketing spend is a matter that needs to be addressed. And the rules for that cannot always be accounted for,” commented Stephen Gee of Zaya Retreats.

Faz was of the opinion that the nitty-gritties need not be discussed, and certainly not the small percentage of marketing spend that is utilised for hotel operations.