Mixed in with the buoyant mood in Berlin was caution about recent shocks, such as the impact of the Middle East crisis on oil price rises. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan have given the big hotel groups further reason to temper their optimistic forecasts for 2011.

Since late January and the start of the Egyptian uprising, hotel share prices have declined by more than 4 per cent, according to the Baird/STR index of companies publicly traded in the US. Five days after the Japan disaster, the index was down 7.4 per cent.

Katie Taylor, chief executive of Four Seasons, the luxury hotel brand, says: “There’s no question [the Middle East turmoil] had a dampening effect. The disaster in Japan has now had another, not only shock to the global system and, of course, the dire situation that the Japanese people are facing, but that also has an impact on momentum in the recovery.”

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