ALIS 2020 predictions: Prepare for cautious optimism
ALIS 2020 predictions: Prepare for cautious optimism
24 JANUARY 2020 8:01 AM

The 2020 Americas Lodging Investment Summit kicks off next week. Here’s what might happen, according to HNN’s Sean McCracken.

We’re just days away from the first major check-in for the hotel industry, the 2020 edition of the Americas Lodging Investment Summit.

The HNN team will be there, of course, to share all of the big news coming out of the show (of which I’m sure there will be at least some) as hotel executives present their outlooks for the coming year.

I’m going to use this space to share some of my predictions on the themes, takeaways or other miscellanea to expect from ALIS 2020.

Expect a heaping helping of caution with your optimism: There is a bit of a performative aspect to these shows, especially since it’s a big meeting ground among brand execs, who have to maintain at least a somewhat rosy attitude even in the worst of times, and owners and operators. That is why the buzz phrase for this show, like every big hotel investment show in recent years, will be “cautious optimism.” With industry metrics continually decelerating and no big trajectory-moving events on the horizon, expect a bit more oomph on the caution-side of the equation than usual.

Brand growth will continue, and complaints won’t deter it: We’ve already seen an example this year of how the hotel industry will continue to see new brands, with Hilton launching an upscale lifestyle brand called Tempo by Hilton. There is no reason to expect the brand companies to stop launching new hotel brands, and there is every reason for hotel executives, particularly owners and operators, to complain about there being too many brands. The question is when the conversation shifts from being about whether there are too many brands to what is the nature of a hotel brand and whether the only brands that matter today are the loyalty programs.

Some big merger will be planned that we won’t hear about for months: This one is a bit of a cheat, because it will be hard (at least immediately) to hold myself accountable on it, but one thing we can reliably expect is there will be some backroom meeting or chat over drinks that will serve as the initial spark of some massive, multi-million-dollar deal that reshapes the industry. Feel free to send me any guesses on what those companies (and dollar figures) might be.

Let me know what you expect to hear at ALIS via email or on Twitter.

Speaking of asking for your input, I asked readers where they draw the line with guests mistreating their employees. Here are some of the responses:

Brian Bell, director of sales and marketing at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Phoenix: “I have encountered a lot of unhappy guests in the various properties I’ve worked. Where I would draw the line was when a guest would start to yell, swear or make incessant demands. I have always been good at allowing someone to get their grievances out because I believe that is a very important part of the process of ultimately turning that situation into a positive. However, there are times when other guests are impacted from yelling or swearing that I felt it was my responsibility to manage. There was never one phrase or tactic for doing this, and it was very much based on the situation, but I found that taking a guest that was upset aside to chat in a quieter area was a good option or simply letting them know that I was there to help but I couldn’t help if the behavior continued. If the person was not willing to cooperate with my efforts I would ask if they needed help to find reservations elsewhere and ask them to leave.”

Chetan Patel: “We have guest who thinks they are always right, they book the wrong room type through third-party sites and it is the hotel’s fault. I will throw out a guest who uses vulgar, racial language or treats my staff with disrespect. We are here to help and not to be used as punching bags for their ills in life.”

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