October 19, 2021
September 2021 started off with a bang with ‘live, in-person’ events back on track. IHIF in Berlin was attended by over 1000 participants from all around the world. Being the moderator of the Sustainability Council in collaboration with Questex, at the event, it was a true delight to see so many familiar faces again as well as meeting some new ones in person, which so far had been digital acquaintances only.
The Sustainability Council session had seen many months of preparation, with digital roundtables including stakeholders from developers, architects, investors, asset funds and managers as well as operators in order to define the key challenges for ESG each of these groups are confronted with. The lively discussion that followed in Berlin was a sign of everyone’s focus and concern in aligning the various approaches.
What was striking to see, however, was the rise of ESG on the agenda of nearly ALL the panel discussions taking place on the main stage at IHIF with both Hilton’s CEO Chris Nassetta and Sebastian Bazin of ACCOR referring to this key topic repeatedly, but also key investors, hotel operators, real estate deal makers and asset owners acknowledging their newly found focus on ESG. We are delighted that Questex has confirmed the continuation of the Sustainability Council for next year’s IHIF and we are in the midst of confirming structures and further contents- so watch this space.
With IHIF barely over, the next live event I attended took place in my own back yard here in Munich in the shape of HITT (Hospitality Inside Think Tank) hosted by the dynamic and dedicated team around Maria Puetz Willems, the publisher of Hospitality Inside- the ‘must-read’ for trade news in our sector. Having been part of the advisory group helping define this year’s discussion for the chosen topic ‘Sustainability & Digitalisation’ the two day hybrid event at The Smart Village here in Munich, it was extremely exciting to see the sessions come to life around themes such as:
Consumer Trends & Sustainability
Embodied Carbon in Buildings
CSR Standards as per Six Senses delivered by their CEO Neil Jacobs
The opportunities for investments in ESG
Legal Compliancy around the EU Green Deal
Innovative Hotel Projects vs Retrofits
New City Centres of the Future
as well as my own discussion together with the wonderful Tony Williams on ‘Benchmark and Tools’
With about 40 people in attendance and another 50 listening in from various locations around the world, it was a great format for in-depth exchanges, discussions and further thought processes. A summary of the event with highlight videos will be following shortly on https://hitt.world.
And last, but not least, the Expo Real here in Munich was also back as one of the leading Real Estate trade shows in Europe. The halls were buzzing, the atmosphere was generally positive, and the hotel stands busy, but not manic, with people finding enough time to have proper conversations rather than hectic catch-ups!
Again, we saw an increased focus on ESG and the general discussions around which of the various stakeholders will be picking up the bills when it comes to making the necessary investments to make buildings more energy efficient – and a discussion which has certainly not reached its final conclusion.