We spoke with Marco Gilardi, Operations Director of Italy and New York at NH Hotep Group, one of our panellists at Best Stay 2019.

1. NH Hotel Group operates over 350 hotels in 28 countries. What differentiates NH Hotel Group from other hotel chains? It is a great pleasure for me to talk about the strengths of NH Hotel Group, a consolidated, trusted operator with a multi-national network of nearly 400 hotels. In 2019, the Company is working with Minor Hotels on integrating all of its hotel trademarks under a single corporate umbrella brand with a presence in over 50 countries worldwide. A portfolio of over 500 hotels has been articulated around eight brands – NH Hotels, NH Collection, nhow, Tivoli, Anantara, Avani, Elewana and Oaks – to forge a broad and diverse range of hotel propositions in touch with the needs and desires of today’s world travellers. Over 35 years of experience makes NH Hotel Group a reference in excellent service and customer care. Our main motivation is the satisfaction of each of our guests and we are proud to have the best professionals who have been trained to guarantee excellent service. Their commitment and constant dedication are highly valued by our guests and shareholders. We are hosts to more than 16 million guests a year. We offer them the best value for money in privileged locations in the main destinations of Europe and Latin America and our aim is to work towards growing and developing further. Our organization is strengthened by the use of efficient management tools and a powerful distribution and sales network which allows us to be highly competitive. We have solutions that adapt to the way of life of our guests, the way they work and interact, which make their experience with us memorable. At our hotels, we aim to exceed their expectations and make them feel special. All this we do because our ambition is that one day, whenever anyone contemplates a trip to a city for an overnight stay or meeting, for business or pleasure, they will always ask themselves: ‘Is there an NH hotel at my destination?’. Our competitive advantage is that “we like and enjoy what we do”. Apart from being a business, we love to give service to people, we love to make people smile and we love to surprise.

2. In 2019, NH Hotel Group added 11 new hotels to their portfolio. Could you share with us your future plans, are you planning other new openings in the next few years? Yes of course! For 2020 and next years, NH Hotel Group strategy still maintains a constant focus on expansion with a plan that brings also a significant upgrade of the existing portfolio. We have in plan to rebrand many hotels from NH Hotels to NH Collection, our upper upscale brand; upgrade some others included in the existing portfolio from 4* to 5*; expansion with new properties (i.e. Milano City Life; NH Collection München Bavaria, NH Collection Antwerp Center; etc); opening of new hotels in top city destinations such as Verona, Murano, Rome, New York, etc… And we plan to continue the expansion of nhow, our most chameleonic and unconventional brand, with new openings in London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Santiago de Chile and Lima.

3. At Best Stay you will participate as a panellist on the following topic: Will new technologies change tourism and to which extent. In your opinion, how do the latest technologies fit into the hotel industry? For those in the hospitality industry, keeping up with the latest technology is of the utmost importance, not only to improve the customer experience, but also to improve internal processes at the same time. In the modern age, customers expect to be able to interact with companies across a variety of technology and digital channels to receive rapid responses and/or improve their daily life. As examples: data collection has grown rapidly across almost all industries, but can be used to great effect by hospitality businesses to provide a more personalized experiences; virtual reality has the capacity to place customers in virtual settings (we use it to present properties during fairs); robotics in tourism is another exciting tech trend (as leaders in the hospitality industry, we decided to take the next step by implementing in the upcoming nhow London a robot, named Henry, which we will use as an unexpected addition for our guest relation service); and even the ‘Internet of Things’ that involves extending internet connectivity to everyday objects, devices and appliances (i.e. we presented Mood Room™ in Germany where guests will now be able to customize their hotel room using only a tablet to control lighting, music, curtains and temperature).

4. Could you share with us your expectations from speaking at Best Stay event? What are you most looking forward to? For sure I have great expectations in terms of awareness, in fact, NH Hotel Group has a great presence all over the world (From 2019 we are part of Minor Hotels) but we have still low awareness in few countries such as the Balkans in general where we are not present. I think it is very important that everyone knows the way we do hospitality and interpret the Hotellerie, despite the fact that we have a presence or not in a specific country.  We are innovative, open, inclusive and we believe both in opportunities that create wealth, both in diversities that enhance experiences and stimulate productivity and innovation. We have an innate passion for doing our job well, we are among the most beloved hotel chains and also very efficient from an operational point of view. We have a strong commitment to sustainability and CSR.

Get a chance to hear Marco speak at Best Stay 2019, grab your ticket today – register here.