Luxury hospitality epitomizes excellence in every facet of its operation, striving for unparalleled superiority in design aesthetics, offering incomparably attentive service, presenting the most exquisite culinary delights, and providing an exceptionally rejuvenating spa experience.

This has always been true, but the nuances behind luxury are evolving, and this evolution is accelerating. The food and drink you enjoy must be organic, locally sourced, and, often, reflect the location of the hotel. The spa must feature the latest in wellness trends. The service must be personalised. And the whole stay must stand up to rigorous sustainable assessment.

The opposite end of the hotel spectrum comes with its pressures. Hotel guests want the basics delivered well, no matter what they are paying, but there are no luxury hoteliers who haven’t occasionally sighed and imagined the quiet life of an entirely automated hotel.

But not for long. Bringing the diverse threads of a luxury stay together and being part of that memorable experience is what motivates us. As specialist luxury asset managers, we have developed a taste for a complex weave, with our role extending beyond operations and into the full stack of what makes the hotel, from owner to brand to guest, and all points in between.

As we will hear at IHIF this year, hotels are moving ever closer into the mainstream as an asset class at the same time the traditional owner/operator model fades into history. We will be hearing from the global brand stables about their plans for luxury growth and how their future success hinges on it.

Accor reported at the start of the year that global luxury travel spend will reach $2.32 trillion by 2030. It was positioning itself to benefit from this, with a portfolio of 370+ luxury hotels and 150+ lifestyle hotels worldwide, as well as a development pipeline, which was expected to deliver another 100 luxury and lifestyle hotels over the next two years, with expectations of at least 50 new luxury and lifestyle project signings per year.

Accor is far from alone. At the end of last year, Marriott opened its 500th luxury property, with over 200 luxury hotels and resorts across its luxury portfolio in the global development pipeline, including 24 properties expected to open in 2024. Around the same period, Hilton announced a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World to offer its guests more choices in the high-end realm. The main players are all focusing on new luxury brands or experiences (e.g., yachts, private jets, or trains).

The sector is embracing luxury, and with it, we are pleased to report, an understanding of the specialist knowledge required to deliver on those exceptional experiences. We have seen our estate under management double in the past six months, making us the largest independent hotel asset manager in the world.

We are privileged to be working with some of the most well-known luxury brands, as well as some of the most inspirational independents, in locations around the globe. We currently asset manage hotels in Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, including award-winning upper luxury hotels such as the Rosewood Phnom Penh, or the Four Seasons Madrid. Our company is supporting the owner from the moment of construction / purchase of a property to the sale passing from improving the stage of improving the results, advising the owner on his future investments or deflaging.

Taking over a portfolio of eight hotels for the government in Oman has meant the addition of spectacular hotels under the W, Ritz Carlton and Alila flags.

We are also thrilled to be working with the international luxury lifestyle and hospitality brand Nikki Beach, supporting its next phase of growth. We believe that we can draw on our own heritage in the luxury sector to help the group develop a strategy for growth and deliver best-of-breed operations in an owner-friendly way. It is a unique brand, with a remarkable heritage and a legacy that deserves to be nurtured and cherished, to be enjoyed by its loyal customer base.

Within the forthcoming six months, we are poised to augment our team twofold, thereby enriching our already extensive expertise accumulated over decades in every dimension of the luxury hotel market, spanning development/renovation through strategic planning.

As the industry witnesses expansion, our enthusiasm to disseminate our asset management know-how is unmatched. We stand as the sole asset management group providing an accredited professional course, meticulously designed for both incumbent sector professionals seeking to pivot into asset management and for novices, including students and industry entrants, eager to carve their niche within this domain.

Asset management at its best sees on-the-ground knowledge combined with real experiences to ensure owners, brands, and all stakeholders are aligned and function at their best. Initially created and used for academia, this course is constantly enhanced and teaches the professional skills required to build the hotels’ value for the owner, helping students understand the real estate side of hotels as well as the capital issues.

We are honoured to be at the forefront of growth in this most exciting sector and look forward to its further success in the coming years.

Alex Sogno
CEO & Senior Hotel Asset Manager
Global Asset Solutions