The Great Data Dump of 2009 is set to commence tomorrow afternoon. It couldn’t come at a better time for those of us interested in knowing how the hotel industry is positioned for the remainder of this year and into 2010. The inaugural Hotel Data Conference, presented by Magnuson Hotels, is going to be a cool way to get filled up with numbers—the good and bad ones that tell the story of what hotels are experiencing these days. (Full disclosure: The conference is being hosted by Smith Travel Research and HotelNewsNow.com.)
Perhaps the most common question asked in the industry—and I suppose among the general population as well—involves if the bottom of this recession has been reached. At the Midwest Lodging Investors Summit, some of the general session panelists gave their views:
Bryan Younge of Cushman & Wakefield of Illinois: “We’re bumping on the bottom right now. We’ll go down a little more. People are getting beat up as they’re being dragged on the bottom. … We hit it so hard, we’re bouncing. How long will it be before that stops? Next year will be the ultimate bottom.”
Eric Belfrage of CB Richard Ellis Hotels: “We’re at or near the bottom in terms of metrics. It’s going to be a long recovery. The end of (2010, 2011) is when we see RevPAR increases and GDP growth.”
John O’Neill of Penn State University and Hospitality Advisory Services: “It’s 2010 before we see the bottom, and it’s going to be an uneven improvement. It will be a slow improvement at first. Look at the quality of the new supply—it’s good brands with strong GDSes and quality guest loyalty programs.”
Suzanne Mellen of HVS: “What’s got us most worried is the slide in average rate that’s going on. It’s unsettling and not good for net operating income. We have a long way to climb out. We probably won’t be back to prior peak values to 2013, 2014.”
Dan Beider of Paramount Lodging Advisors: “It depends what we’re talking about at the bottom. Operating statistics? Value? They’re not the same. A full quarter of RevPAR either flat or growth over the same quarter the year before, we will then know we’ve seen the bottom. Then the transaction market will start heating up. If we’re not at the bottom, we’re damn close.”
With those comments to build on, the couple hundred attendees at the Hotel Data Conference this week will learn about the current state of the industry and be treated to an hour and a half of forecasts from Scott Berman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mark Lomanno of STR and Mark Woodworth of PKF. It’s going to be a great opportunity to compare what three industry stalwarts have to say.
Leading up to the final outlook panel will be a number of panels from STR representatives covering a variety of topics, including: Lomanno’s U.S. hotel industry overview in the opening general session, global hotel performance, hotel pipeline and development trends, top 25 U.S. market performances and STR chain-scale trends. Also, Nate Fristoe of RRC Associates will present data about consumer leisure and business travel trends, and Maria Simos of e-forecasting.com will discuss hotel industry demand drivers and economic industry cycles.
Additionally, there will be several open panel discussions, which promise to provide insight and entertainment. The general session panel called “Market Trends Affecting the Hotel Industry” will provide expert commentary from representatives from Expedia, airline industry data-tracking firm SH&E and American Express. The panel will paint a picture—warning, it might be gloomy—of how measurements other than occupancy, ADR and RevPAR affect hotels. Another interesting panel will feature representatives from QL2, TravelCLICK and JDA Software Group, who will discuss revenue generation and projecting bookings at hotels.
With all due respect to all panelists at the conference, I’m really looking forward to hearing the “Revenue Management—Looking at it from Different Angles” breakout session. Moderated by longtime Hilton executive Greg Cross, the panel features Michelle Russo of Hotel Value Asset Enhancement, Jonathan Bogatay of North Central Group and Chad Sorenson of Warnick & Co. It promises to address an array of great questions, including one that every hotelier on the planet asks at one time or another: Is any revenue at your hotel good revenue?
For those interested in attending the conference, there’s still time to register at www.hoteldataconference.com. Walk-in registrations also are available. For those who can’t attend, check out the HotelNewsNow.com staff’s updates in HNN’s daily newsletter and on the Web site, Twitter and LinkedIn. We’re eager to hear your feedback about what is said and the data that’s showcased at the inaugural Hotel Data Conference.