Expo Real, Europe’s biggest real estate trade show – with over 2000 exhibitors and 41,000 delegates – takes place in Munich from 4-6 October. It is a truly big affair.
Since 2011 the Expo Real organisers realised the necessity to give the hotel sector it’s own exhibitor space, given the growing relationship between real estate developers, asset managers and hotel operators. This initiative was born as a brainchild of Germany’s leading Trade Magazine, called Hospitality Inside, who has since gone on to create a huge stand of its own, called ‘The World of Hospitality’ offering some of Europe’s biggest players, such as Kempinski Hotels, Carlson Rezidor, Easy Hotel, Stay City, TUI, to name but a few, a join exhibition space.
This year Expo Real had a record amount of hospitality businesses exhibiting with over 60 companies filling a good part of this main hall, 30 of those being part of the ‘The World of Hospitality’.
As organisers of this unique space, Hospitality Inside also puts together a series of panels, known as the “Hospitality Industry Dialogue” in order to cover topics of relevance and interest to this sector. Under this premise Considerate Hotelies was asked to participate in a discussion on ‘Buzzword Sustainability’ together with the ITP’s new Chairman Wolfgang Neumann, ex-CEO of Carlson Rezidor , as well as the Head of Sustainability for Drees & Sommer, one of Germany’s leading Hotel Consultants and the Founder of a Sustainable Development Company, called HSDC Hausmann. Moderator was the well- know Professor Christian Buer, who is Vice-Dean of the Faculty of International Business and Tourism at the Hochschule Heilbronn- his area of expertise being Sustainable Tourism.
He opened the session under the banner of the UNWTO’s Year for Sustainable Development in Tourism asking each participant what that meant for the sector and our work in particular. It very quickly became transparent that much still needs to be done for the sector to really take this issue as serious as some other industries are, and all agreed that more Leaders were needed within the hospitality industry to truly champion change.
However, it was also highlighted how difficult this triangle relationship between hotel operator, asset managers and investor or funds is in order to find the one stakeholder with the major power for decision when it comes to issues surrounding sustainable materials in buildings, cradle to cradle sourcing, energy efficiency measure or indeed smart technology for resource monitoring.
Making changes within the hotel operations seems to be the easiest bit, as long as this is supported by one of the top Managers. Nevertheless, there seems to be the need for further regulations before all the above mentioned stakeholders will agree on stepping up to the mark simultaneously.
Saying that, hotel operators are smartening up their game, as they have understood how high operating costs for energy and water consumption can end up being, if the buildings are not developed to the latest energy efficiency standards, which most are not! Is therefore seems imperative to be able to deliver a transparency on these issues, which is also an approach driven by the ITP with their Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, a stance very much reiterated by their new Chairman Wolfgang Neumann. He also stressed the importance of working in partnerships in order to drive change and bring about this needed shift in attitude- an approach very much shared with our take at Considerate Hoteliers in-line with SDG 17- Sustainable Partnerships!! Because as Margaret Mead told us already ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfull committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it is the only thing that ever has’.