By Rudina HOXHA
HOTCO 2020 opens its doors on Monday for two days in the heart of Budapest. HOTCO, an international hotel investment conference focusing on the hotspots for hotel development in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, will be taken place for the fourth time on January 20-21, 2020 bringing together investors, developers, hotel companies and stakeholders from the region.
Marius Gomola, MRICS, Founder of HOTCO, shares with Follow Business Albania the latest about HOTCO 2020 and the special interest in CEE including Albania.
Gomola is also the managing director of Horwath HTL Hungary, the oldest hotel, tourism and leisure industry advisory in CEE and a hotel consultant for 30 years.
Please find the full program below:
What makes HOTCO 2020 a subject of such a great interest and attention?
HOTCO has been able to build up a brand since its beginning four years ago, as it has focused on the entire CEE, SEE and CIS region since day one. The objective of HOTCO was to help contribute to investment activity in the hotel industry in this region. As hotel consultants based in Budapest for thirty years, we have foreseen a strong development pipeline and eventually deals and transactions. Our predictions of four years ago are materializing as hotel transactions are up 100% since then in CEE.
With all the speakers of such a caliber, what are your expectations?
We are very proud to have been able to attract world class speakers to provide insights to what is the direction of the global hotel industry and help interpret their relevance to the stakeholders in the region. Our speakers have unrivalled expertise which is much valued by our audience, many of whom are first time hotel developers. The speakers are inspirational leaders, so we know that our participants are using HOTCO as a source of motivation and reconfirmation for their own goals for the start of the new year.
What can HOTCO offer in particular for Albania and SEE in general?
Despite the fact that the regions HOTCO covers – SEE, CEE and CIS – are very diverse, they have a lot of similarities. When it comes to hotel developments, some are more advanced than others, hence what we have seen in the CEE is now being experienced in SEE, with serious uplift in hotel values expected over the next 5 to 10 years.
There are other platforms in the world, similar to HOTCO intending to stimulate debate on hotel investments. What differs HOTCO from the rest?
At HOTCO we are always experimenting with different formats for discussions and debates and we listen to our participants. People come to such events to be able to share ideas and find new business opportunities, accordingly, we focus on providing 7 hours of networking. We are always very humbled when we hear that CEOs of big companies actually implement the knowledge they have gained at HOTCO, which shows us that there is always something to learn and that HOTCO touches on the right topics.
How has HOTCO evolved throughout the years, from its initial idea to date?
We have always insisted on having the best speakers from four continents, to be able to give the audience a glimpse of the future on a global scale, but we always help the audience interpret what these trends mean on a local level. In that sense, HOTCO hasn’t changed much but we can see great changes in attendees’ as well as speakers’ attitudes. Whilst it was initially difficult to bring certain companies to HOTCO (Western hotel groups or investment funds, for example) because they did not feel the region was relevant to them, we have seen a total turn around since then, with many more international companies eager to join. We like to hope that HOTCO is contributing to development in this region and we certainly feel that HOTCO’s success is a direct affirmation of these regions’ potential.