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Event Preview: Sustainable Design & Operations

The Hotelier Middle East Sustainable Design and Operations Summit advisory panel met ahead of the event to set the agenda for the conference.

Event Information

The Hotelier Middle East Sustainable Design and Operations Summit will focus on the importance of making green practices a priority in the design and build stage of a hotel’s lifecycle

The Hotelier Middle East Sustainable Design and Operations Summit 2015 will bring together directors of development, directors of engineering, general managers, design directors, and consultants on June 3, 2015 at Grosvenor House Dubai.

In its second year, Hotelier’s sustainability-focused summit will zero-in on the importance of sustainable design and operations. From deciding on how many rooms to build and conceptualising the hotel’s theme, to selecting the right suppliers and ensuring ROI on technology investment, the event will focus on creating and operating the ‘hardware’ of a hotel.

Prior to the event, Hotelier Middle East gathered an advisory panel consisting of some of the event speakers, to talk through the various challenges and opportunities for operators and developers in the design and build stage of hotels, and to set the agenda for the summit.

A recurring theme during the meeting was the subject of incorporating sustainable practices and elements during the early stages of hotel development.

Ròya director — construction development Graham Stanley points to the problem of developers focusing on the bottom line in order to achieve the highest return on investment.

“We, from our company point of view, would very much target the developers and try to convey that from an ROI point of view, it’s good to be sustainable, good to minimise your energy and your staffing requirements. But even today, they all want the maximum return on capital investment, and we’ll look at tomorrow,” he says.

Cutting corners at the construction stage will only increase the need for retrofit projects soon after opening, Hilton Worldwide Middle East & Africa director of engineering operations Vinesh Hurrychurn says.

“Yes we look at the initial capital investment, but what about the lifecycle? After we open, we often find stages where the costs are high and we need to look at the cause, and then you opt for retrofit solutions, and these might not tie in with the existing design,” he asserts.

“So if you get that in the early stages, it makes a real difference. And also from a development point of view, coming from an operator point of view, if we show that we have a good base cost, it’s a better sell for the owner,” Hurrychurn adds.

Sofitel The Palm Dubai director of engineering Rohit Salunke also believes there isn’t enough information about the availability of retrofit solutions in the market.

“People really want to understand the best practice being followed and the products being used. Especially in new hotels, it’s up to the operators to face the challenges that come up,” he says.