LOS ANGELES—It’s not work when you love what you do, which means Roger Hill hasn’t worked a single day in the past 25 years.
That’s roughly the time he and a handful of fellow aspiring entrepreneurs from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration formed Gettys, a design firm which has since expanded to five offices across the globe.
“I feel really proud of the fact that a lot of people dream of starting a business and working with people they really care about, and a lot of people really dream about having a job that they look forward to going to everyday,” said Hill, now chairman and CEO.
“I can honestly say that I get to experience this all the time.”
That passion was on full display during a break at last month’s Americas Lodging Investment Summit, during which Hill highlighted five trends he thinks are shaping the hotel industry.
1. A shift in sentiment
“What’s most exciting—and you can feel it right here at the conference—is there’s a nice trend in confidence. There’s a high degree of certainty that now people feel like we we’ve gotten through the—I’d much prefer to look at 2008 as an event rather than a Great Recession because there’s nothing great about it. I’m very excited about our industry. … People are feeling good about making capital expenditures and making a greater commitment to our industry.”
2. Learning from history
“A lot of people are reflecting on (lessons learned from the downturn), and there is some more diligent underwriting processes that are being put into transactions. That will keep an appropriate lid on new supply. That will make this next leg of the recovery that much stronger and lengthier.”
3. High-tech hospitality
“It’s great to see how people are continuing to use technology to enhance the guest experience. I really think that is something that’s going to continue to move extremely rapidly. It’s touching all price points in the hospitality spectrum. If that’s a way that everybody can run their business more profitably or give travelers a nicer guest experience and it’s more cost effective, then that’s providing a greater service and pushing more to the bottom line. And it’s also allowing us to have a more personalized experience.”
4. Moving on mobile
“We historically tend to often be a late adopter to trends. As it relates to technology now, I think people are really embracing the power of (mobile) and recognizing that it makes a lot of sense to not wait for mobile technology and all of the kinks to be worked out.”
5. Extracting social value
“Ten years ago, the revenue manager of the day was someone adding a tremendous value to the hotel. They still do. But the person who’s in charge of social media is adding virtually the same amount of value because they’re helping guests understand what the experience will be like at the hotel, and they’re also using that as a booking channel. That is something that is just the way of the future and the way guests want to communicate. The companies that are embracing that are really truly winning.”