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Top Hotel Brands, Investment Groups Coming to Athens for MR&H 2019 Forum

Enterprise Greece Deputy director of Investment Facilitation Elias Eliades, Horwath HTL Greece Country Director Xenophon Petropoulos and Questex Hospitality Group Managing Director of EMEA Alexi Khajavi.

Enterprise Greece Deputy director of Investment Facilitation Elias Eliades, Horwath HTL Greece Country Director Xenophon Petropoulos and Questex Hospitality Group Managing Director of EMEA Alexi Khajavi.

An impressive collection of some of the world’s top hotel brands, investment groups, and advisory firms will be attending the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) 2019 in Athens between October 29-31.

Organized by Questex Hospitality Group, the MR&H Forum will take place this year at the Hilton Athens and once again explore the investment, development and operation opportunities of resorts and hotels within the Mediterranean region.

“This is an incredible collection that will be coming to Greece, bringing their investment expertise – as well as their capital – and all of them will be here for speaking sessions and requesting additional information,” said Alexi Khajavi, Managing Director of EMEA Hospitality + Travel Group at Questex, on Thursday.

To be held in Athens for the second year in a row, the MR&H Forum is expected to attract some 400 attendees and 90 speakers. Twenty-nine countries will be represented while approximately 220 billion euros of hotel assets under management will be attending.

Speaking to journalists during a press conference in Athens, Khajavi said the goal of the event is to connect the Greek hospitality sector with its global audience of hotel investors, operators and advisers. Stakeholders from leading operators including Nikki Beach Hotels Resorts, Club Med, Grecotel, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Nobu will attend the event.

“Questex retains a relationship with about 650 billion euros of hotel asset under management and we are bringing about 200 billion of those assets or investors to Greece, giving them the opportunity to experience, learn and connect with the local industry,” he said.

Greece’s seasonality in the spotlight

Underlining that Greece is a very “unique market”, Khajavi said that the country’s issues of seasonality, different types of data performances and various markets will be highlighted at the event.

“We intend to illustrate how exactly to get a deal done. The investor community is not here just to learn, they are here to inject their capital into the Greek hotel sector and we want to show them exactly how to do that,” he added.

It should be mentioned that initial talks for the deal that eventually led to Blackstone Real Estate Partners acquiring five properties of Louis Hotels, began at last year’s MR&H Forum in Athens.

Global CEOs & top investors

Moreover, the upcoming MR&H Forum will see the attendance of 15 CEOs of global hotel brands.

“We will be hearing from them on how to operate these assets in the local Greek market and what the challenges are, such as seasonality… We will also have a session from the investor’s perspective… We will be exploring how foreign capital partners with local capital and expertise in getting a hotel investment transaction completed and executed,” Khajavi said.

Investors at the event will include representatives from Cedar Capital Partners, Henderson Park Capital Partners and BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager.

Focus: Thomas Cook collapse

Another topic the MR&H Forum will touch and focus on will be the recent fallout of UK tour operator Thomas Cook.

Highlighting the fact that among the benefits of hotel brands is the distribution channel that is not dependent on tour operators, Khajavi said a session of the forum will feature how brands deliver distribution strategies – both hard brands and soft brands – through digital platforms.

“We are also working with the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and the Tourism Ministry to bring the owners of hotels that were dependent on Thomas Cook to this conference and give them the opportunity to learn, network and meet with experts from outside of the tour operators, to support them moving forward in their distribution strategies,” Khajavi said.

Questex’s strategic partner for the MR&H Forum is Enterprise Greece, the official investment and trade promotion agency of Greece. Sponsors of the event include international hospitality consulting company, Horwath HTL.

GTP Headlines is a media partner of the event.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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