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Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, was among the top speakers today at The Hotel Show being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 16 to 18th September 2018. Participating in a panel discussion at The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum, Laurent highlighted the new trends in owner and operator relations.

Laurent stated, “New patterns of ownership, finance and management are emerging. Contract terms are swinging in favour of owners who are primarily performance driven and are no longer satisfied with long-term capital appreciation. The bottom line is the yardstick that operators are being judged by. Therefore, operators need to understand better today’s owners and investors who are far more active and involved in all areas of hotel operations from selection of general managers to driving social media.”

Talking about the changing market dynamics, Laurent stated, “The business is becoming more complex and competitive for operators who are grapping with multiple challenges. The pie is shrinking with far too many hotel brands and regional operators. Market is being disrupted by new forms of competition such as Airbnb. Rates are constantly under pressure due to oversupply of rooms. Increasing costs of operations are adversely affecting profitability. Guests profiles and preferences are changing too who are looking for greater value for money along with better quality, greater convenience and unique experiences.”

So, what needs to be done to manage the gabs between owners and operators? Laurent stated, “Both parties have to look at the equation differently. There is need for greater communication to build lasting relationships. It is important for operators to understand and listen to owners, and react with solutions. Innovation is the key in every aspect of the business. We need to be inventive by outsourcing services, clustering roles and boosting efficiency by tapping into new technology. Alternative revenue generators should be developed. For their part owners must give operators a fair chance to implement new ideas with ample space and time.

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