IHIF Preview: The true meaning of luxury

Between 15 and 17 April, more than 2,500 senior representatives from across the hospitality industry will head to Berlin for the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF) EMEA 2024.

This year’s speakers include: the CEOs of IHG, Hilton and Accor as well as senior representatives from Starwood Capital, TUI Group, KSL Capital Partners, and more.

Not only will you hear from leading hotel investment executives, but the multiple networking opportunities mean you’ll be able to capitalise on the return to dealmaking we are seeing this year.

The following interview is part of a series aimed at bringing you a flavour of the conversations you can expect on stage, highlighting some of the big-picture trends and themes ahead of the event.

Once upon a time luxury travel was the preserve of the wealthy elite but as tourism has become more democratic, an increasing number of hotels have adopted the language of the high-end. So what does it mean to be truly luxurious in 2024?

Ahead of IHIF we caught up with Ramsey Mankarious, CEO, Cedar Capital Partners​. Mankarious will be speaking on a panel entitled ‘Limitless Luxury: Pioneering Growth in the High-End Hospitality Landscape​’ (Wednesday 17 April, 09:30am Development Track).

Hospitality Investor: What does luxury mean to you? 

Ramsey Mankarious: Luxury is a combination of the quality of the physical product as well as the service level. You need both components for a hotel to be considered a “luxury” property.    

Hospitality Investor: How has it evolved over the last decade?

Ramsey Mankarious: Luxury travellers have become more discerning and you need more than just lots of marble in a hotel to be considered a luxury property. It is more challenging to be recognized as a luxury hotel today than it was 20 years ago.  

Hospitality Investor: Is there such a thing as affordable luxury?

Ramsey Mankarious: To me, this is a term that describes lifestyle and five-star hotels that are well designed but that are not designed in the traditional luxury style. These hotels are still expensive to stay in but are more affordable than traditional luxury properties.   

Hospitality Investor: What do you think are a couple of upcoming trends in luxury hospitality?

Ramsey Mankarious: Trends tend to happen at a slower pace at the luxury end of the market versus at other price points. I don’t see any major shifts happening over the coming years but rather a continuation of the trends that have changed over the past 10 years. Luxury is becoming more accessible, more inclusive, and less formal. 

Hospitality Investor: The theme of this year’s event is “Making the Markets” emphasising the need to take control of any given situation, rather than simply rising the wave. Have you got an example that you could share either in your own business or the wider market?

Ramsey Mankarious: You have to take advantage of opportunities that arise in the market. While traditionally, we have been equity investors, today we are investing preferred equity and are providing debt financing to numerous hotels. These are the opportunities that exist in today’s market and we are participating in this trend, until traditional equity investing becomes prevalent again.  

If you still haven’t registered for IHIF EMEA yet, you can do so here. You can also view the latest programme, here.