Episode 1- Series - Conversations with hospitality entrepreneurs & leaders
In this webinar Joshua Gan, regional director of Asia Pacific for the EHL Group, is joined by Stefan Leser, CEO at the Langham Hospitality Group. An industry expert with 30 years of experience in travel and tourism whose CV boasts names such as Swiss Air Group, Electronic Data Systems (within the travel vertical), Kuoni Travel, Jumeirah Dubai, before arriving at the Langham Hospitality Group. In this webinar they discuss the hospitality value chain, global financial challenges to the industry, career advice, luxury industry and much more.
Langham Hotels and Resorts, not so much resorts yet, is a brand of luxury hotels in key international cities, with the flagship, the Langham in London dating back to 1865. The hotels are designed with an effortless, playful, and timlessness in mind, in order to get the maximum return on investment. The hotels compete among the top luxury hotels, their competitor set is made up of the Peninsula, the Madarin Oriental, and the Four Seasons of this world. The Langham Hotel will often be the competing for the top one or two hotel for that location. The group are most recognized for their playful touch of the Langham pink. Often industry professionals will recognize the brand for their dstinctive pink pens, which are one of the most taken memorabilia - which surprisingly the brand is delighted that people do take them.
The internet was a topic of conversation but it only really came to prominence as a distruptor around 2008-2009, during the global financial crisis. Travel changed dramatically around that time. It was when the distribution channels emerged and became powerful within the industry. For hotels, it's not often described as a cutting edge sector. There's little investiment in research and development in this area, but it is a sector which is keen to adopt new technologies that are available. The problem with hospitality is that it's not easily put into the virtual space. You can virtualise a lot of experiences but not staying in a hotel. There always needs to be a phsyical component. On the other hand, there is innovation happening when you look at the booking process, the checking in process, and so on. Companies like Airbnb demonstrate that well - the offering is the same as the co-living offering always has been, the way it is packaged and sold is different and innovative.