March 2016

MIPIM 2016 Day 2

How can major hotel companies maintain their fast pace of growth in an increasingly competitive market with new offensive players?

An interesting discussion if not a repetitive one. The panel consisted of Cody Bradshaw from Starwood Capital Group, Anders Braks from EVENT Hotels, Peter Norman from Hyatt International and John Ozinga from AccorHotels. A major talking point and one that each panelist touched on was the current competition from companies such Airbnb and it’s adverse effect on the hotel sector. There seemed to be a split between the analysts as to the importance that Airbnb has within their market – some believing it is making hotels become savvy and personable, offering the type of environment you might get at an Airbnb place, calling these ‘lifestyle’ hotels. Other panelist believed that Airbnb sits in a completely different sector and as such shouldn't be feared. They went on to say there will be increase in room rental as guests will go back to wanting a high class service only available at hotels.

One thing I know for sure is that a good 25% of people I met while attending MIPIM said they were renting an Airbnb. Surely the hotels must be feeling the effects.

Using retail and leisure to unlock waterfront regeneration

I was lucky enough to grab a seat at this very popular conference on how to regenerate waterfront areas using retail and leisure techniques. The group of panelists consisted of Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Prof. Jurgen Bruns-Berentelg, from  Hafen, City Stephen Cowperthwaite from Bilfinger GVA, Ellen S de Vibe from Oslo Kommune, Hans van Rossum from City of Rotterdam, Suzanne Wylie from Belfast City Council.

The discussion centred on the role that retail, tourism and leisure play on waterfront development investment and place making. It also looked at how important sustainability is when considering these developments for future growth.

There were five cities represented in this discussion: Liverpool, Belfast, Hamburg, Oslo and Rotterdam. Each of these cities had benefitted from waterfront developments and interestingly each city had taken a different direction in the development of their own.

Speaking about Liverpool and it’s development, Joe Anderson went on to say that he didn’t believe Liverpool would be the great place it is today without it’s waterfront. It is the landmark of the city and recognisable around the world. So as Liverpool uses it’s waterfront as a landmark attraction cities such as Rotterdam and Oslo have large regeneration driving the waterfront developments.

Belfast is a city that has taken a slightly different approach by housing tourist centres and buildings for companies with Suzanne Wylie noting that she believes companies like to be on the waterfront and it is a major attractor to the city for business investment.