Hospitality experts discuss industry trends

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Hospitality experts say the local tourism sector is experiencing robust growth. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Hospitality insiders yesterday discussed the main trends in the sector, including the rise of design and boutique hotels, and Millennials’ desire for unique experiences with a local flavour.

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Representatives of international hotel brands and travel agencies, as well as investors, developers, and other industry insiders, gathered yesterday at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra for a new event in the ‘Meet the Experts’ series organised by Savills Hotel.

The ‘Meet the Experts’ series serves as a platform to share insights and discuss local and global trends in different economic sectors.

Mauro Gasparotti, director of Savills Hotels in Asia Pacific, said they are seeing major industry trends taking place right now that will shape the future of hotel development. “This excites us because it is bringing about significant new opportunities for our developer clients who are able and willing to innovate.”

One such trend is the bigger role Millennials are playing as users of services in the hospitality and travel industries.

“Millennials tend to avoid traditional hotels and look for local and social experiences,” he said, adding that they now account for 24 percent of the world’s population, and that they are set to become a key source of revenue for the industry.

Kevin Beauvais, founder and CEO of InVision Hospitality, said design hotels and boutique properties are the way of the future.

“Crafting amazing guest interaction is essential for today’s travellers. We strongly believe in the future for Cambodia and would love to work with local developers who want to break the traditional models for a more flexible and profitable future,” he said.

Mr Beauvais said InVision Hospitality’s focus now is to create meaningful guest experiences that utilise creative and efficient designs.

Travellers are now craving more unique travel experiences geared to their specific needs and preferences, said Christian Pucher, director for development in Asia at Hilton.

“With rising disposable incomes and greater ease of air travel, more leisure and business travellers are drawn to Cambodia as a destination for its majestic historical temples, stunning beaches, as well as its buzzing towns and cities,” he said.

“Naturally, these guests would expect more than cookie-cutter hotel rooms; they want hotel stays that resonate with them and fulfill their unique needs and preferences.

“The next generation of savvy travellers would seek out more distinctive experiences that are digitally connected, cosmopolitan, yet also inspired by local authentic moments,” Mr Pucher said, adding that to meet these new trends Hilton has created the brands Tru by Hilton and Canopy by Hilton.

“It’s an exciting time to be growing in Cambodia where we absolutely see exciting opportunities for a number of our brands to enter and meet growing travel needs,” he added.

Yesterday’s event was the sixth in the series. According to organisers, the forum aimed to inform real estate developers of new opportunities and inspire them when deciding their next project.

Savills’ Mr Gasparotti said Cambodia’s hospitality market has seen strong growth in recent years. Over the past 7 years, international tourist arrivals grew at a compounded annual rate of 12.2 percent, from 2.5 million visitors in 2010 to 5.6 million last year.

“We strongly believe that Cambodia could become a world recognised holiday destination. This could be done with proper cooperation between local authorities and the private sector, ensuring that infrastructure development will come together with sustainable private investment,” added Mr Gasparotti.

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