HNN@ALIS: Day One recap
HNN@ALIS: Day One recap
27 JANUARY 2015 8:34 AM
Intermittent rains weren’t enough to dampen the positive vibes emanating from the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Monday afternoon. The venue, host to the opening general session of the 2015 Americas Lodging Investment Summit, proved true to the conference theme of “Don’t worry, be happy.” Presenters were all smiles as they discussed everything from positive industry performance to the promise of technological innovation. Yes, a down cycle might be inevitable, but as conference chair Jim Burba implored of the 2,800 people in attendance: At least one year, they need only sit back, take stock of their surroundings and simply enjoy the ride.

Company news and announcements:
Photo of the day
Big names in the hotel industry kicked off this year's Americas Lodging Investment Summit with a “Don't Worry, Be Happy” video parody highlighting the universal optimism in the hotel community. From left: Thomas Corcoran, chairman and founder of Felcor Lodging Trust; Raj Chandnani, director of strategy at WATG; and Nancy Johnson, founder of Hospitality Motivation, get the crowd in a happy mood during the opening general session. (Photo: Stephanie Ricca)

5 things to know from ALIS
1. There’s only one Moxy Hotel open—a property at Malpensa Airport in Milan—but that didn’t stop Marriott International from announcing that the brand will launch in eight U.S. metropolitan locations, including New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans and Chicago. Moxy’s first New York property will be created by the design firm Yabu Pushelberg.
2. Hyatt Hotels Corporation joined the lifestyle hotel bandwagon when President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian announced the launch of the Hyatt Centric brand.
The move adds another brand to Hyatt’s lineup of 12 existing brands. Plans include having 15 Hyatt Centric hotels open and operating by this summer.
Hoplamazian said during an event held in conjunction with ALIS that Hyatt had been working on the brand for a couple of years. It will appeal to the “modern explorer.”
3. Technology is advancing at such a rapid state that human might be rendered useless within 30 years, said Monty Bennett, chairman and CEO of Ashford Hospitality Trust, during an executive spotlight. The smartphone alone will have the computing capacity of today’s super computers by then, he explained. Thus, it’s not unlikely that same smartphone could perform the functions of most jobs—and perhaps do it even better than the average human.
4. The buzz over a revived group business sector continues to build as hoteliers are reaping the benefits of steady demand growth. The topic came up several times during Monday’s Lodging Industry Investment Council meeting.
Charlie Muller, VP of acquisitions & development for Omni Hotels & Resorts, said group rates are increasing but still haven’t returned to peak levels. The general consensus of the group is that booking windows are starting to expand, but group business largely remains an in-the-year-for-the-year proposition.
5. The “spontaneous guest” was a recurring theme during at least the “Game changers” panel. The trend is most evident in the swell of last-minute bookings. Whereas once guests booked months in advance, now that window has shrunk to the same week or even day. New platforms are emerging to fill that need. The most recent entrant?’s Booking Now.

Slide of the day
In his data presentation on Monday at ALIS, senior VP of strategic development at STR Jan Freitag shared a new slide showing the impact of five hotel companies—InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Marriott International—on the global pipeline of under-construction hotels. 
“What you're seeing is that three of four rooms in the U.S. are affiliated with one of these five companies, and half of the rooms in the Middle East and Africa under construction are affiliated with them,” he said. “There's a sort of flight to (these) brands, and we expect that to go on in the foreseeable future.”

Quotes of the day
“Our industry is about engaging with our colleagues. It's about creating memorable experiences for our colleagues and guests, and that's all about our people. We need to identify young people, bring them into this industry and train them well. It's essential to our success.” 
Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt, speaking in an ALIS Spotlight on Monday on the topic of “Thriving communities—hotels as catalysts for unlocking individual potential”
“You’re not dealing with the normal anymore. You’re dealing with the above normal.”
John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo, discussing the hotel industry’s record-setting results
“We’re getting closer to a time when lending standards are getting really, really loose. Lenders have not forgotten how bad things really got, but developers have.”
David Loeb, senior equity research analyst, R.W. Baird

Tweet of the day


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