Interview with IHG’s Hakan Ozkasikci – Guest Speaker at IPD MEA Summit

Hakan Ozkasikci - IHG Design Manager - Turkey & South Eastern Europe

Hakan Ozkasikci - IHG Design Manager - Turkey & South Eastern Europe

Starting Sunday is Infrastructure & Property Development MEA Summit on 18-19 May, 2014 at the Park Hyatt Dubai.

The event aims to unite the leading regional property developers and infrastructure authorities with the most renowned world class project consultants.

Included on the agenda is:

• Economy Watch- Reviewing the sustainability of the regional economy to open hidden pockets of opportunities and profits.

• Expansion on the Horizon- Driving growth and increasing investor options through the creation of mega projects.

• Outstanding Design- Performing a delicate balancing act by adopting a superior level of quality, sustainability and convenience within allocated budgets.

• Hospitality Outlook- Evaluating the key success factors to align the interests of owners and operators to develop successful hotel ventures.

• Green Talk to Green Walk- Harnessing sustainable strategies to achieve strong energy performance and prevail over the competition.

In the lead up to the event Green Hotelier spoke with Hakan Ozkasikci, Design Manager for Turkey & South Eastern Europe at IHG – InterContinental Hotels Group – who will be speaking at the event.

GH: Describe your role with IHG and how you’re bringing sustainability into design for them. Can you give an example of a recent project you worked on?

HO: I am the design manager for the IHG portfolio in Turkey and South Eastern Europe. Being the custodian of the IHG brands in my region, I am quite keen to cast a critical eye on each project individually. This requires me to orchestrate a complex set of factors that shape and modify a design, and I am selective while determining their impact on the end product. I am lucky to be active in a culturally rich and diverse region. I can see that this is the foundation of my holistic approach to design, and the awareness of the locale is a serious parameter that shapes the edifice. There is no doubt that corporate responsibility has to be kept intact in every project that we do. Our ability to reduce the carbon footprint of every hotel is strong, but reflecting on the cultural identity of a property that is newly built or converted is one of the toughest objectives in hospitality design today.

A recent example is the InterContinental Tbilisi in Georgia. This is a conversion of an old printing house, and the design team was tasked to dig out all historical information on the building and its relationship with the immediate neighbourhood. We are using almost 50% of the materials from the original building, and the rubble taken out is being filtered and recycled. There are incredible pieces of machinery scattered around, and we are in the process of finding a new role for these components in a high luxury environment. It is a really exciting project with a very diligent process in the making.

GH: Why do you think it’s important to consider sustainability when thinking about hotel design?

HO: The investment made has to be justified, and the ROI period has to be kept as short as possible. Sustainability on a broad spectrum is the outcome to give back to the owner and the environment. The sophisticated traveller profile is rightfully concerned about energy consumption and the environmental effects that hotels have. It is a win-win scheme when we embed sustainability principles into every part of a hotel design process, for the result favours performance at the end.

GH What’s your advice for hoteliers looking to expand / invest / develop in this region?

HO: There are incredible opportunities hiding in plain sight. With the vast existing building stock within an ever dynamic environment, there are innumerable conversion and refurbishment opportunities that lie waiting for the people who have the right mindset to maintain the regional balance and make the best out of what already exists.

Being prudent and frugal in the building process is just as important as the operational carbon footprint of a hotel.

GH: Is there a business case to be made for sustainable design?

HO: There surely is. But I would like to iterate the fact that cutting edge technology is not always the best solution to the unique problems of a building that is meant to be sustainable. Being prudent and frugal in the building process is just as important as the operational carbon footprint of a hotel. Thus, sustainability today is to be scrutinised both for pre-opening and being in operation alike. Progressive hospitality project management will gradually become crucial to maintaining the substantial success of sustainably designing a hotel.

GH: How does Green Engage work to ensure hotel refurbishments or builds include sustainable initiatives?

HO: Although we have a high profile performance monitoring initiative for our hotels in the Green Engage programme, the search for increasing efficiency in the design and execution phase continues. I am currently working on the refurbishment design guidelines for Green Engage in the EMEA, while some of our team are busy with new builds. With the best practice inventory we have with our current portfolio of our hotels, we are now looking into finding ways to support our owners in their endeavours to build their hotels based on sustainable initiatives. Our work enjoys the benefits of having the direct results upfront, whilst determining the ways to achieve satisfactory results starting from the very early stages of design and construction. Green Engage is a dynamic set of tools that caters for the needs of our owners to run their operations efficiently and responsibly, via assessing the real time needs of our hotels.



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