It was that time of the year again…. the 30th annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) was held 23-25 October 2019 at The Kerry, Hong Kong. Organiser BHN’s new President, Jeff Higley, and Tom Kemp, Chairman and CEO of HICAP owner Northstar Travel Media, went out of their way to thank the 550 delegates for coming – this is, after all, an event that is absolutely essential to anyone involved and interested in luxury hotels.
Across Asia Pacific, 53.3% of properties are now branded, up 11% in a decade. Sustainability searches online are up 60% on the year: STR’s Robin Rossmann does not think people will stop travelling but some will try to avoid flying – the next few years could be challenging but opportunities exist. Once again, Bill Bensley was a lone voice of meaningful sanity, wanting every new hotel to come with a purpose (100% of the profits at his Siem Reap Shinta Mani resort’s boutique fund community projects in and around Siem Reap). As always there were coveted awards. HICAP’s lifetime achievement award went to Banyan Tree’s Ho Kwon Ping (KP Ho). The innovation winner was Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva. The opening cocktail buffet was hosted by Shangri-La at The Kerry, and the following night’s party was thrown by Hyatt. Make a note, now, of the next HICAP, 21-23 November, 2020, at The Kerry.