Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Gharbie

Rani Gharbie

Head of Acquisitions & Development, The Pod Hotels

Rani Gharbie is currently the Head of Acquisitions & Development for The Pod Hotels where he is responsible for identifying investment opportunities and working closely with capital partners and strategic investors to fund future projects for the brand. Formerly, he oversaw development and acquisitions for North America at Virgin Hotels.

Prior to Virgin Hotels, Mr. Gharbie was the Managing Director and Founder at Cedar Funds, a New York City based development and investment firm with a focus on progressive hotel and real estate assets, as well as regional Director of Development with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where he was responsible for actively expanding InterContinental Hotels Group's premier hotel brands including InterContinental, Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn.

In his career, Mr. Gharbie has overseen and contributed to the growth of 20 hotels worth over $1.8B in real estate value. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia's Master in Real Estate Development program, where he teaches the spring course Private Equity Development, Hotel Focus. He also holds a Master Degree from the program, an M.B.A. from the HEC Business School in Montreal, a Bachelor degree in Hotel Management from the Glion Hotel School in Switzerland, and a Certificate in Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management from Cornell University in New York.

Mr. Gharbie is a regular guest speaker at many key industry conferences and is an avid traveler, runner, cyclist, golfer and Vinyasa Yogi. He speaks three different languages and currently resides in New York City with his wife Alisha and their son Reece.

Please visit http://www.thepodhotel.com/ for more information.

Mr. Gharbie can be contacted at +1 646-973-4849 or rani@thepodhotel.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.