Europe now rules the world, although I do hope its new hotels present their wonders in a far less flowery language.
I can forgive attendees at last week’s Hotel Investment Conference Europe, otherwise known as Hot.E., for occasionally peeking out of the window of the host hotel Hilton London Bankside to make sure they were not in the U.S.
Such is the confidence in the hotel industry on this side of the pond that Europe can now be officially said to have assumed the mantle of “Most Important Continent.”
Yes, there are still several issues cross the continent, including:
- Elections in The Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany where worries abounded that anti-immigration parties would appeal to localized concerns;
- The still unknown quantity that is Brexit;
- Issues with terrorism in several countries;
- Concerns over where labor is to be found and how it is to be nurtured; and
- Low wages and inflation.
Despite all of those, Europe is king or queen of the world, or its president.
This is a different perspective, since we Europeans—or at least we British, or at least me—are so used to feeling disaster always is just around the corner.
Some Hot.E attendees said that even though its politics has been stuttering in places, Europe still represents stability. Its version of democracy appears to win through whatever.
Cody Bradshaw, a Tennessee native but now long-term resident of the United Kingdom—as well as managing director, acquisitions and asset management, at Starwood Capital Group—points to another reason: improved fuel consumption in airplanes, which he said has opened up Europe to many more secondary and tertiary cities.
Following a recent meeting of SCG’s top brass, Bradshaw said the conclusion by its asset strategists was that “Europe is the shining star.”
He added that Europe’s supply-demand fundamentals have become even more compelling.
“On the demand side, Europe accounts for more than half of all arrivals—600 million last year, up to 900 million per year through the next 10 years.”
European arrivals, Bradshaw said, have been up 3% per annum for as far back as tracking goes, but now that increase is up to 4%. Supply has increased just 1% since the start of records keeping on the continent. He called those numbers—and their relationship—unheard of.
Other voices at the conference—investors, developers, bankers, hoteliers—championed the continent, too, which might derive from Europe largely remaining brand-free. Many said the constant growth in the desire to travel would target a continent of numerous languages, cultures and landscapes, rather than the U.S., where the current president and political climate was referred to by some as divisive.
The U.S., too, has numerous languages, cultures and landscapes, but if you were asked to name a continent that best embodies those qualities, you would probably not say North America.
It is too easy to poke fun at hotel-industry press-release language, but I am going to do it anyway while not bringing to light anyone in particular—although you could Google the text, I guess.
Differentiation among hotels, we are told, is even more key today than it has been at any time over the last decade, roughly since when hotels decided not to all look the same. So this effort by hotels is good, but it just makes me hope writers will cut to the facts and stop using verbiage that U.S. journalist and satirist P.J. O’Rourke terms “MEGO,” that is, stuff that makes “my eye glaze over.”
Text: “(The hotel fuses) mid-century modern and art-deco cues with a modern and industrial aesthetic by incorporating elements such as end-grain wood tile flooring and polished concrete with jewel-toned plush furniture and gilded geometric motifs.”
Explanation: We think it looks good.
Text: “(The hotel) is welcoming, surprising, instantly comfortable.”
Explanation: We’re doing all we can to be nice to guests and have them stay and return. It’s how hotels do well. Try it! Just as with shops that advertise a “friendly welcome,” as though there is an alternative.
Text: “(The hotel chef) expresses his affection for timeless French fare with talent, precision and an artistic touch that is never pretentious, often unexpected, and always visually exciting.”
Explanation: Crikey-o! It’s expensive.
There, enough, I’m bored already. My eyes have glazed over. MEHGO!
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