By Stephen Renard
SINGAPORE — The Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) was held from Oct. 19 to 21 at the Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore. Up until this year, the conference was held in Hong Kong at the InterContinental Hong Kong hotel.
Topics addressed at HICAP included the global recession, the Russia-Ukraine war, China’s re-opening and labour shortages. One session, moderated by Tareq Bagaeen from Hotstats, discussed the role of an asset manager, prompting a heated debate about whether an asset manager simply reviews a property’s financial performance for the owner or is more hands-on by overseeing and influencing changes to property operations and finances. The speakers didn’t reach an agreement.
The evening gala and networking event was held at the newly renovated Park Royal Marina Bay Resort, run by general manager, Melvin Lim. The only CEO of a global brand in attendance was Sebastien Bazin of Accor Group, who spoke with Jeff Higley from The BHN Group about his recent hotel acquisitions, totalling 43 brands. Bazin said he’s positioning the hotels to go “glogal,” meaning he wants to make the hotels a “local focal point hotspot” in every community they’re in. Additionally, Bazin said for the last three years, 55 per cent of their hotel business was local.
Furthermore, Miguel Ko, current CEO of Capitaland and former chairman and president of Asia Pacific Division at Starwood Hotels & Resorts and deputy chairman and CEO at CDL Hotels International, was the recipient of the HICAP 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ko was also voted as Regional Hotel Chief of the Year in 2007 and 2008 by readers of Travel Weekly, and he was the winner of the Visionary Leader of the Year in 2007, recipient of the 2007 Global Awards at the World Travel Mart in London and honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 at the China Hotel Investment Conference in Shanghai. Lastly, Duncan O’Rourke was appointed VP Accor Luxury Division, Asia.