Contributor/ The Vulture
The late John Peel described his wife as being very similar to his favourite band, The Fall, as “always the same but always different” and, when it comes to the annual Berlin hotel conference (the International Hotel Investment Forum to give its full name) that works pretty well as a description. Most of the hotel sector has certainly been attending for longer than they can maintain a relationship.
I was lately at a warm-white-wine driven industry event where, new year having recently been celebrated, the topic of Berlin – likely flights/hotels/dinners thereof – came up. As usual, there were some naysayers who claimed to be planning not to go this time around and some who would be going but not paying and could be found in the Illegals Bar at the hotel over the road from the conference – what passes for a gathering of the hip amongst the hotel investment community.
So why bother going if the complaint is true – same people, same topics, hefty price tag? The justification is always the same – you have to be seen to be there. If you need any of the following: finance/brands/legal advice so as not to get stiffed when acquiring money/brands – you need to be in the Marlene Bar, moaning about the cost of entry. Fear not those who have a low tolerance for banker partying: there is some play to be had with false memory syndrome, something the Vulture has on occasion used when sneaking off at 2am: “oh but I was there – remember XXX got drunk and tried to hit on that yucca plant?”.
But you can only do it the once, because those who’ve been to Berlin, they can smell it if you’re faking. Because with the relentless noise and kerfuffle and ever-growing influx of Americans, it’s like ‘Nam and as they say in Apocalypse Now: “You don’t know man, you weren’t there”.