REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Though the U.S. economy is showing signs of improvement, hoteliers still have a slew of concerns about how instability and uncertainty will shape the industry in the years to come.
Next week, hundreds of hoteliers will meet at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta for the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference to discuss the most pressing issues on the minds of owners and investors.
HotelNewsNow.com spoke with several executives slated to moderate general sessions for a sneak peek of what conference attendees can expect.
Nancy Johnson, executive VP of development of the Americas region for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, will be connecting with hotel industry data gurus for the session titled “Statistically Speaking: The Past, the Present and the Future.”
Johnson said three of her four panelists will tackle this data presentation from differing points in time.
Nancy Johnson, executive VP of development of the Americas region for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
Jan Freitag, senior VP of global development for STR (the parent company of HotelNewsNow.com), will be presenting data from a historical standpoint, where he’ll analyze what happened during 2011. Tim Hart, executive VP of business intelligence solutions for TravelClick, will take on the present and give a snapshot of what the industry is seeing now. Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Consulting, will look into the future and determine what hoteliers can expect for the remainder of 2012 and 2013.
Average-daily-rate growth among the secondary and tertiary markets is one of the specifics Johnson wants to analyze with her panel. “We saw some positive movement recently. It’s declining in the first part of 2012 … Has the industry lost its pricing power?” she asked.
Cyril Ranque, senior VP of global lodging at Expedia, also will sit on the panel, sharing data on consumer booking patterns. Ranque will look at the “nature of the people who are booking and what that means to us in this industry,” Johnson said.
The effects of the rising price of gasoline and the economic crisis in Europe have on industry performance are additional topics Johnson wants her panelists to tackle.
“Getting some different insight into what we should be looking at and what we should be responding to is critical,” Johnson said.
Don Landry, owner of Top Ten Hospitality Advisors, will cover a variety of topics with his panel of hotel industry leaders during the general session titled “Leadership and Experience.”
The 2012 presidential election and world events will be hot topics on the panel. Panelists will discuss the changes, if any, that will develop from the upcoming election. “I can safely say there’s dissatisfaction with at least one of the regulations coming out from the government,” Landry said.
Don Landry, owner of Top Ten Hospitality Advisors
The panel also will look at trends in the industry, specifically market dynamics; technology; financing; development; marketing; and operations, he said.
Landry also has some intriguing questions lined up regarding new products and brands. “It seems we are creating more brands than we are opening new hotels, so I’ll harass them a little more about that. Is there really a … need or are the brand people just getting bored?” Landry said.
The boutique hotel trend and food-and-beverage operations also will be addressed. “I personally find it interesting that … food shows on TV are at an all-time high. We are getting out of the food service business, but the consumer is getting more and more into the food business,” Landry said.
Michael Medzigian, chairman and managing partner of Watermark Capital Partners LLC and president and CEO of Carey Watermark Investors, will discuss timely issues with industry leaders during the “President’s Panel.”
“We saw a real change … in August of 2011 in the markets with fears of what was coming out of Europe and what that might mean for the economy,” Medzigian said.
Michael Medzigian, chairman and managing partner of Watermark Capital Partners LLC and president and CEO of Carey Watermark Investors
While hotel performance in the U.S. has continued as it was before, there are still changes occurring from an investor’s perspective, he said.
“The downturn in 2008 and 2009 was the worst we’ve seen since 1933. There are still a lot of people that are underwater, and there’s going to need to be recapitalization of their capital,” Medzigian said. “Some are going to be successful … Some are going to lose their assets.”
The presidents and CEOs on his panel will discuss what they think the outcome is going to be for those who have significant amounts of debt capital coming due during the next couple years.
Another major topic the panel will discuss will be the hotel industry’s revenue model, which continues to be fluid, Medzigian said. “Roughly 25% of demand is now coming through the (online travel agencies) and it’s a big issue.”