IHIF Speaker Profile: Motel One's Dieter Müller

At the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin next March, Dieter Müller, CEO of Motel One, will be the recipient of the IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award, which last year was awarded to chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, Barry Sternlicht.

Müller joined Accor in 1975 and by 1980, he was CFO for the German, Austrian and Swiss markets of Accor, followed by being tapped as CEO of Accor Gastronomie AG in Dusseldorf. Following his role with Accor, he set up Astron hotels, growing an initial portfolio of three properties to 54 hotels. Astron Hotels was subsequently bought by NH Hotels in 2002.

Müller, as founder and CEO of Motel One, with more than 50 hotels in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands and the UK, started all over again and pioneered the concept of "budget design hotels." Motel One is now one of the largest brands in Germany's budget hotel sector and is looking to expand throughout Europe and take the portfolio to 71 hotels from the current 51. 

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The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented on March 7th, with an interview to follow the award presentation.

In advance of IHIF, Müller discussed his goals for 2016, the effects of terrorism on hospitality, how to grow a German brand in Europe and what he thinks of his recognition.

What are your goals for 2016?
My most important personal goal of 2016 is to retain the positive spirit in the company, and to carry it into the new hotels. My further goals are to strengthen international growth. We will open five new hotels and have 20 additional hotels under construction.

What do you think 2016 will look like at it relates to the budget hotel industry in general and Motel One, specifically?
We expect 2016 to be a somewhat difficult year, given the fact that political instability and fear of terrorism have negatively affected city tourism in Europe. We have already had negative experiences with our hotels in Brussels and Dresden.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge you have faced in the last five years, and how have you overcome it?
To adjust the current, purely German brand for expansion throughout the European market. The challenge is in collaboration with great employees and through the trust of investors. 

What does the IHIF Lifetime Achievement Award mean to you? 
It's a major recognition for me personally, however, also for the entire Motel One team. It's also a confirmation from the industry of our hotel concept.

What do you look to get out of attending investment conferences, such as IHIF?
Our team has participated for years in the IHIF conference in Berlin. It is the best forum for us to spend time with industry contacts and meet new contacts. Our first location in the UK came about from a contact we initially met at the IHIF in Berlin.

For further information and to register for IHIF, visit www.berlinconference.com.

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