Lucia Grambalova’s presentations during 2023 at major hotel investment conferences throughout the Asia Pacific have provided valuable insights and strategies for investors and asset managers in the hospitality industry. Lucia has spoken on the importance of hotel investment of value sourcing and creation and the priority of risk management. She has also addressed the role of asset management. Her expertise and experience have been instrumental in supporting the hospitality industry during challenging times. Her insights and strategies will continue to guide and shape the success of hotel investments for partners and clients of Hotel Capital Partners.

As the hospitality industry continues to evolve and adapt to an ever-changing landscape, hotel investors and asset managers must stay up to date with the latest trends and strategies. This is where Hotel Capital Partners comes in – a leading investment and asset management group that is continuously confronting operational and ownership issues that impact value.

Lucia Grambalova is Chief Investment Officer and Head of Asset Management at Hotel Capital Partners (‘HCP’). Her broad experience in the hospitality industry has made her a sought-after speaker at major hotel investment conferences. In 2023, Lucia represented HCP at major conferences including Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (‘HICAP’), HICAP ANZ, Australasia Hotel Investment Conference & Exhibition (‘AHICE’) Adelaide and HOFTEL Southeast Asia Hotel Investors Summits and Conferences (‘SEAHIS’).

The 2023 conference trail started at AHICE Adelaide bringing together over 1,200 executives from the hotel investment and hotel management community to discuss the future of hospitality investment. As a presenter, Lucia shared her insights on the importance of critical assessment and selection of assets for hotel investment. One panel she shared with representatives of a major domestic superannuation fund and a private high-net-worth investor; she highlighted the need for a conscious investment selection in the prevailing high interest rate environment ensuring alpha is created in a sustainable and risk-managed manner. Expressing HCP’s answer to this challenge, Lucia detailed the strategy of converting hotel real estate to coliving assets. This is a core strategy of HCP due to the low completion risk compared to build-to-rent, plus delivers superior returns (mid-teens, net IRR).

In her second panel, Lucia elaborated on the current state of play, explaining the investment appetite from global private equity partners, that HCP represents and their view on valuing investments in the prevailing market. In 2023, HCP represented global private equity investors on transaction assessments with a combined value of circa $1.5 billion.

SEAHIS held in Bangkok was a gathering of hotel owners, operators, and investors from around the world. Lucia spoke to recent operational changes and developments impacting the traditional structure of hotel management agreements from the ownership perspective. The panel was represented by a hotel management company, legal and owner-operator representatives and Lucia represented the ownership perspective. She highlighted the need to push back on the operator’s excessive CAPEX requirements when it came to writing ‘a blank cheque’ to fund renovations to meet brand standards. In addition, Lucia explained several critical legal provisions every owner should ensure are explicitly negotiated in the management agreements. This was well-received by the audience and in particular first-time hotel owners.

In Sydney, HICAP Australia brought together industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the Australian hotel market. Lucia’s presentation focused on risk minimisation and the role of asset management in mitigating potential risks. She highlighted the importance of having a proactive approach to asset management across the total hotel P&L from revenue and operating expenses through to every ownership expense below the GOP line. Lucia highlighted the importance of:

  • Energy contracting and understanding the forward market
  • Insurance, noting that insurance brokers are the experts, but they still need direction particularly when it comes to business interruption and cyber insurance
  • Strata plan management and ensuring the strata manager equitably deals with the hotel strata relative to the other strata members (typically residential) in mixed-use ownership structures
  • Management of owner costs that relate to land value and the importance of aggressively pursuing land value objections.

This resonated with the audience as hotel investors must have a solid risk management plan in place. During her second appearance, moderating the equity panel, Lucia held a meaningful conversation between a fund manager, owner-operator and investment manager, ascertaining how each industry player sees the current environment in terms of investment expansion, capital improvement and value realisation.

Last but not least, HICAP Asia, held in Singapore, broadly recognised as the premier hotel investment conference in Asia Pacific. As the industry continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, the conference focused on highlighting how hospitality operations and investment have both changed and adapted.  Lucia led the Oceania panel, discussing her insights on deal sourcing and value creation in the prevailing environment. She emphasised the importance of strategic partnerships and leveraging technology to drive revenue and enhance guest experience.

Overall, HCP’s participation in these conferences as presenters and as planning advisory board members showcased the group’s expertise but also demonstrated HCP’s commitment to the hospitality industry at a time when asset allocators are increasingly focused on the sector.

Lucia’s successful representation of Hotel Capital Partners at major hotel investment conferences in 2023 highlights the group’s commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry. Her presentations and discussions on various topics surrounding hotel investment and asset management have provided valuable insights and strategies for industry professionals.

Stephen Burt
Stephen Burt
CornerManaging Director

The company is headed by one of the most experienced and respected industry professionals, Stephen Burt, Managing Director with over 35 years experience across all aspects of hotel investment, hotel funds management, asset management, hotel brokerage and hotel operations.

Stephen was one of the founding partners of what is now JLL Hotels APAC, inaugural Chairman of Travelodge Asia, and CEO of Mirvac Hotels & Resorts and Mirvac Hotel Funds Management.

As a trusted advisor and fund manager, Stephen completed a lifecycle of four highly successful hotel funds representing the interest of sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms, high net worth individuals and listed companies. He has held the position of Responsible Officer for HCP funds and institutional funds.

Lucia Grambalova
Lucia Grambalova
CornerChief Investment Officer

Lucia Grambalova, Chief Investment Officer, and Head of Asset Management draws on over 20 years experience in the hotel industry with leadership roles across property investment, asset management, funds management and hotel operations. Lucia is an experienced and accomplished investment professional focusing on equity and debt investing.

During her career, Lucia led the execution of real estate investment and asset management mandates including sourcing and acquisition of hotel real estate investment globally, debt opportunities, deal structuring and capital raising together with the provision of bespoke asset management for companies such as Mulpha Australia Limited, CapitaLand (Ascendas) and Mirvac Group.

Previously a Responsible Officer for Ascendas Hospitality Funds Management and Mulpha Funds Management’s AFSL.