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Caterer and Hotelkeeper Top 100 – Who's Who in Hotels

01 February 2013
Caterer and Hotelkeeper Top 100 – Who's Who in Hotels

Last month Caterer and Hotelkeeper, in association with Caterer.com, revealed its list of the 100 most influential people in hospitality. This week we analyse the biggest movers and shakers in the hotels sector. Emily Manson reports

While few in hospitality would welcome the prolonged periods of economic hardship we are currently enduring, it certainly separates the wheat from the chaff. Companies with coherent strategies, global reach and innovative ideas are most likely to succeed, while those with financial cracks, ineffective management or weak leadership are likely to be exposed, stumble and fall.

The hotel entries in the Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 list for 2012 reflect this economic turbulence, as well as the diverse nature of the sector and the way it is accommodating the changing consumer habits formed out of the prolonged downturn.

Winners and Losers Veteran independent operator Robin Hutson says: "The sluggish economy continues to occupy our minds, although, as is always the case in difficult times, it hits the mediocre operators hardest.

"I think this is a period where value and integrity of product and service really count. There is so much choice available, if you don't deliver the goods and aren't ahead of your competition then there is a good chance of failure. The positive effect of this is, of course, raised standards across the board."

Hotel consultant Melvin Gold notes that while some hoteliers have disappeared from the latest Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100, those that remain tend to reflect the changing face of the market.

Robert Cook
Robert Cook
"Winners include the asset-light international players who were able to gain ground, persuading independent hoteliers to switch to their brands such as Doubletree by Hilton or Accor's Mercure label," he says.

Similarly De Vere and Village Urban Resort Hotels' chief executive Robert Cook believes that the list shows some of the real big world brands making a resurgence.

"It's a result of what's happened in the past five years where no new brands have come to market. The big brand models of franchising and management contracts is where the market is today," he adds.

Pole Position InterContinental Hotels Group regained the top hotelier slot with CEO Richard Solomons having spent a year consolidating his new position after taking over the top job from the charismatic Andrew Cosslett in 2011. Last year also saw the addition of two new brands and an increase in the company's presence in China, reaffirming its position as the biggest international hotel player within the growing Eastern superpower.

"IHG is arguably the biggest and best hotel group in the world and it's good to see Richard Solomons at the top of this list," says Cook. "But it's also great to see people like Robin Hutson and Rocco Forte as the men of boutique and luxury in there too, who are batting through their reputations and great innovations and ideas."

Brand Power Cook's point highlights the sector's split, which has seen two very distinct camps of hotelier evolving. It's well known that customers fall back to trusted names and brands during recessions, so it's perhaps unsurprising to see the continued development and expansion of brands from the international players like Hilton with Staybridge Suites and Doubletree and IHG with EVEN and Hualuxe.

New entry Michael Wale, who oversaw the 2012 launch of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Aloft and W brands into the UK market, says brands need to constantly evolve to stay ahead.

"The economic situation in our historic source markets has been a challenge this year," he adds. "As a result, we have had to quickly adapt our marketing strategies to capture guests from emerging markets such as China, Brazil and the Middle East."

Tim and Kit Kemp
Tim and Kit Kemp
Independent Sector At the other end of the spectrum are the veteran independents like Tim and Kit Kemp, Robin Hutson and Rocco Forte who continue to innovate and set the agenda for the next new trend. Hutson's Pig brand took the market by storm last year and redefined mid-market boutique a generation after he did it with Hotel du Vin. Similarly, the Kemps' much anticipated opening of Ham Yard is set to further redefine Firmdale's inimitable style.

Turmoil Of course the turmoil of the sector is also reflected in the list, with Robert Cook having risen in the rankings following his move to the larger De Vere Group from his eight year tenure at Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, while Grant Hearn fell from his No.2 ranking (overall) in 2011 to No.56 (overall) in the 2012 list, reflecting the severity of Travelodge's financial problems.

"Many hoteliers will be pleased to see 2012 left behind. It was a difficult year for many, especially in the regions. In addition there are the difficulties caused by financing arrangements, which affected many companies," Gold adds.

New Entries New entries this year saw luxury boutique hotel operator and environmental champions Jonathan Raggett, managing director of Red Carnation hotels, and Mark Sainsbury, of the Zetter, listed for the first time as well as the return of Danny Peccorelli of Exclusive Hotels.

Mark Linehan, managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, says: "The fact that high quality hotels like the 
Zetter, Exclusive and Red Carnation are appearing on the list demonstrates that luxury and sustainability are not mutually exclusive qualities. By combining these two key elements, hoteliers are providing their customers with exactly what they want - a great experience they can feel good about."

Looking Ahead Raggett speaks for many hoteliers when he says: "London 2012 was fantastic. The world was watching and the country and city put on an amazing show, our hotels were buzzing and a great spirit and sense of pride and camaraderie descended."

But he warns that without worldwide events to attact tourists 2013 is unlikely to be quite so successful. "This year London especially will find it a challenge to fill the extra capacity in hotel rooms," he says. "The likes of Visitâ€'
Britain and Visit London are working hard to maintain the legacy of last year, and from our side, the emphasis will be to continue to provide an outstanding service and experience 
to each and every guest to maintain our high levels of customer loyalty."

!Richard Soloman](https://cdn.filestackcontent.com/NfI6qo1SqSUGkyJBUEwz)
View from the top: Richard Solomons, CEO, InterContinental Hotels GroupWhat do you think of the hoteliers in the *Caterer and Hotelkeepe*r 100 list this year? Hotels are important drivers to the economy and the communities they operate in, so it's good to see so many in the top 100. It's nice to see some of the smaller hotel groups on the list too. What do you see as key changes or developments happening in the sector? We've seen a lot of growth in 2012 and although there are uncertainties in the economy, the long-term tail winds of growth are still there. We're seeing positive demographic trends, such as increasing travellers from the middle classes and markets such as China and India, and this gives us confidence for the future. How was last year? 2012 was an exciting year for IHG. We had a number of highlights including the launch of two new brands - EVEN Hotels in the US and HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts in China - the 60th anniversary of our largest brand, Holiday Inn, as well as sponsorship of London 2012. Our brands also won many awards and we've continued to drive value for shareholders with return currently the highest in the sector - almost $9 billion since our demerger in 2003 - and we've outperformed the FTSE. What's in store now? It will be more of the same for us. We'll be refining our new and existing brands so they remain preferred by our guests, and supporting and developing our people so they can deliver consistent brand experiences to our guests. We'll also be looking at how our hotels can create more sustainable communities where 
we operate. What's the biggest challenge? Retaining consistency across our brands, recruiting people for our growing pipeline of hotels around the world and, as we're largely a franchised-business, maintaining profitability for our hotel owners. What would you like to see happen in 2013? I'd like to see the industry continue to come together to showcase the value of careers in hospitality. Not only does our sector create lots of entry level jobs but we also provide a launchpad for people to enter a diverse range of careers. There aren't many industries that provide an opportunity where people who start on the front desk can go on to manage a hotel. This change in perception is key to attracting talented people in the future. The hospitality sector has been a growth-generating industry throughout the challenging economic climate and I'd like to see our sector continue to aid an economic upturn both here in the UK and globally.
![Simon Vincent
View from the top: Simon Vincent, president, EMEA, 
Hilton WorldwideWhat does the *Caterer and Hotelkeeper* 100 list say about the industry? I think this year's top 100 list reflects a dynamic, diverse and vibrant hospitality industry that is in a prime position to lead the UK toward a sustained economic recovery and ensure we continue to compete on the world stage. The fundamentals of the sector remain strong, with those companies seeing the biggest growth being well recognised. What were the challenges and trends that defined the sector in 2012? Sports and celebration played a major part in 2012 with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, Euro 2012 football championships and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Despite predictions of post-summer fallout of tourism business, it was encouraging to see strong performances from hotels in London and the UK regions since October. The summer events also enabled London to prove its ability to host mass-scale events and it is now a serious contender for major international convention business. But the biggest challenge remains the recruitment and training of talent, and in particular highlighting the industry as a positive career choice for young people. Youth unemployment remains a critical issue in the UK and hospitality can play a major role in helping young people learn new skills, boost their confidence and get on the career ladder. Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 hoteliers 1 Richard Solomons, InterContinental 
 Hotels Group 2 Simon Vincent, Hilton Worldwide 3 Patrick Dempsey, Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants 4 Robert Cook, De Vere Hotels/Village 
 Urban Resorts 5 Tim and Kit Kemp, Firmdale Hotels 6 Robin Hutson, Lime Wood, the Pig 7 Thomas Dubaere, Accor UK 8 Jonathan Raggett, Red Carnation Hotels 9 Sir Rocco Forte, Rocco Forte Hotels 10 Grant Hearn, Travelodge 11 Peter Lederer, Gleneagles 12 Michael Wale, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Western Europe 13 Gerard Basset, Terravina 14 Mark Sainsbury, the Zetter 15 Surinder Arora, Arora International 16 Danny Peccorelli, Exclusive Hotels 17 Andrew Coppel, De Vere Group 18 David Guile, Macdonald Hotels How we compile the list The *Caterer and Hotelkeeper* 100 brings you the 100 most influential people whose achievements are having the biggest impact upon the hospitality industry in 2012. It tells you where they've been, where they are now and where they are going. This year, for the first time, we opened up the selection process to nominations from the industry at large and were overwhelmed with the response. This final list of operators includes a diverse collection of personalities, from the bosses of the biggest corporate giants to others who are pushing the boundaries of style, comfort or cuisine in their chosen field. The *Caterer and Hotelkeeper* 100 covers all sectors of the industry - hoteliers, restaurateurs, contract caterers, pub operators and chefs. Nominees in each of these five categories were judged by panel of industry experts and *Caterer and Hotelkeeper j*ournalists who specialise in those sectors. To qualify, candidates had to be based in the UK, and their power and influence should be primarily in the UK market. Shortlisted candidates were awarded marks for each of five criteria, which were then averaged out to give an overall ranking. First consideration was the scale and scope of the operation headed by the nominees. But size isn't everything, and they were next judged on the power and influence they exert in the industry and the respect they command among their peers. We asked whether they were shapers of policy, leaders in their field, or inspiring and nurturing the next generation. The judges then examined whether the candidates had a proven record of financial success and whether this was reflected in the eyes of their peers and the outside world. The candidates' reputation for innovation was next, as the judges examined to what degree they were setting standards others wanted to copy and whether their ideas would remain in fashion. Longevity was the fifth and final hurdle for the candidates as the panellists considered whether they - and their creations - would stand the test of time. Â
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