Why resort owners and operators are becoming increasingly aligned

We're all in it Together: Reviewing Stakeholder Relations
We're all in it together: Reviewing stakeholder relations panel session. (Simon Callaghan)

Insight Comment
Leisure hotels work best if owners, operators and brands work together to give guests what they want at a price they are happy to pay. It makes sense for practitioners of different disciplines - capital investment, marketing and day-to-day operations – to focus on what they do best at the same time as collaborating.

Resort operators are becoming increasingly and more directly aligned with owners, according to Miguel Casas, managing director of Stoneweg Hospitality, the Geneva-based investment firm.

He said the priority was to “flexibilise” the services provided. Owners and operators, he said, could better make necessary adjustments working more closely together. 

Casas gave delegates at the Resort & Residential Hospitality Forum 2021 an example from his own recent experience. As the representative of investors, he said he’d recently been looking at the website of a leisure hotel. While the site was impressive, he said, there was no mention of services that would enable guests to work from the property.

Citing changes precipitated by Covid and especially home working, he said it is now commonplace for hotel guests to combine holidays with work. 

Company meetings and events, meanwhile, he said, are now more likely to take place in resorts or other locations more usually associated with leisure because employees remain uncomfortable about potentially crowded city centres.

Casas also described how the functions of the hotel operator were being seen as increasingly distinct from associated brands involved. 

Helena Murano Carney, director of hotels and tourism, at CaixaBank, spoke in slightly different terms on the subject. “Traditionally,” she said, “leisure hotels in Spain and Portugal used the owner-operator model. More and more, however, the two aspects of the business have defined their own spaces.”

She said the shift was improving the quality and profitability of hotels and was a trend that had further to go.
The changing nature of stakeholder working patterns, Casas said, would help the way hotels adapted to digitalisation and the ever-greater importance being given to environmental concerns. He also observed that demand was growing generally at present and that room rates were improving.

In a session entitled: ‘We're all in it together,’ Casas was joined on stage by Margarida Almeida, CEO of Amazing Evolution, the hospitality management company. Recounting her experience of lockdowns, Almeida said she could not help but be impressed and thankful about the dedication of the teams working with her. The priority, she said, was to respond to changing customer preferences with energy that she said the industry lacked in the past. 

The session was hosted by Ronit Copeland, CEO and founder of Copeland Hospitality, a hotel and lifestyle expert with more than 25 years’ experience in the sector. 

On a more downbeat note, Helena Murano Carney of CaixaBank said she feared that economic problems of inflation, energy prices, labour and other shortages might lead to renewed strain in the global financial system.

The Resort & Residential Hospitality Forum 2021 is being held in person and online at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura Algarve Resort in Portugal.