Horwath HTL has announced the appointment of two senior hotel industry executives to its consulting team.

Wim Ruepert, formerly area general manager responsible for the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) portfolio in New Zealand and general manager of the Crowne Plaza Auckland hotel, has joined Horwath HTL as a senior consultant. Ruepert specialises in providing hotel asset management services. As well as his hotel general management experience, Ruepert has held senior hotel and regional finance leadership roles for IHG in Japan, Australia and China and was group financial controller for 20 resorts in the Caribbean.

Ruepert said he can assist clients in maximising the performance of their hotel.

“There is a risk that, with the current strong market conditions, under performance of hotels can easily be masked. Pro-active asset management can give owners comfort that their hotel asset is achieving its full value potential."

John Farrell is also joining Horwath HTL as a senior consultant, specialising in providing hotel sales and marketing, revenue management, yield management and strategic consulting advice. Farrell, who last year won the New Zealand Hotel Industry Achievement Award, has headed the AccorHotels sales and marketing team in New Zealand and South Pacific for the past 10 years. Farrell was previously CEO of Travelodge Australia for six years in which he was responsible for all aspects of Travelodge’s expansion and operations in Australia.

Farrell said one of the biggest challenges facing the hotel industry internationally is the increasing cost of sale associated with bookings made via third party websites.

“Responding to this challenge is a priority for many hotel managers and owners but this requires a more detailed understanding of the distribution system and how to maximise direct bookings than many people in the industry have – especially independently owned and operated hotels.  We can help with that.”

Stephen Hamilton, Director of Horwath HTL, said he is thrilled with the vast skills and hotel industry knowledge which Ruepert and Farrell bring to the firm.

“Achieving acceptable rates of return on investment in the New Zealand hotel industry has been a challenge for many years. The depth of knowledge that Wim and John have can add significant value to hotel owners.”