At the upcoming International Hotel Investment Forum (March 7-9 at the InterContinental Berlin), Anthony Ingham, global brand leader at W Hotels Worldwide, will participate in the panel "Lifestyle Hotels: From Fringe to the Mainstream," discussing the history and future of the segment.
Before becoming global brand leader, Ingham was VP North America Brand Management for W Hotels, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, The Luxury Collection and Le Méridien, where he oversaw the strategic direction of more than 60 hotels and resorts. Prior to IHIF, Ingham shared a preview of the panel and his forecast for the ever-growing W brand.
IHIF: What do you think 2016 will look like for W Hotels?
Ingham: 2016 is going to be an exciting and busy year for W. We are focused on our global growth as W is on track to reach 75 hotels by 2020, including doubling our international presence, and growth in our new-build pipeline in North America. This year alone, we are entering new markets and introducing the W brand to destinations such as Goa, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Punta de Mita, Mexico. We've also just announced deal signings for W Madrid and W Aspen—the mountain escape we have had our eye on for a while. We’re also excited to reinvigorate our existing portfolio with renovations planned for W Seattle, W San Francisco, W Ft. Lauderdale, W South Beach, W Maldives and more.
IHIF: What are your goals for 2016?
Ingham: Professionally, I’m focused on continuing to strengthen the W brand through our global openings and new deal signings. The team and I are also headed to Doha in March for our global GM Summit where we will deep dive into consumer trends, reveal new programming and plan for the future of the brand. Personally, I am determined to spend a little more time in New York, a city I have very happily adopted as home. I feel like there is so much to explore there, all right on my doorstep. With five openings this year, that will be a challenge, but I will try!
IHIF: How do you define lifestyle hotels?
Ingham: A lifestyle brand has a definitive POV and embodies the spirit of those who chose us. Just as an example, we know our guests love music and fashion, so we weave these passions seamlessly into the hotel experience whenever we can. It is much more than just a place where you go to sleep…and our guests engage with the W lifestyle 24/7—from steaming our playlists on the W app to getting tips from the W Insiders on the newest hotspots in the city.
IHIF: What do you expect to speak about on your panel?
Ingham: The panel focuses on lifestyle hotels, a category which W is largely credited with creating. It is exciting to share the evolution of the brand from its beginning in 1998 with one hotel in New York, to current day with 46 hotels all over the world.
IHIF: What do you look to get out of attending investment conferences, such as IHIF?
Ingham: Attending IHIF is an exciting opportunity to meet other hoteliers, connect with investors and to learn about new trends within the industry