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 June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.