Good times roll for hotel industry

|
Good times roll for hotel industry
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

LOS ANGELES — The 2015 theme at this week’s Americas Lodging Investment Summit here was “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” And while the reference was to the mellow Bobby McFerrin hit from 1988, the mood was quite a bit more raucous.

“Looking at last night’s parties, it sounds a little like 2006,” convention panelist moderator Adam Weissenberg, global leader of the travel, hospitality and leisure practice at Deloitte & Touche, said on Tuesday. “Last year, there was nothing like that going on.”

The mood among the approximately 2,900 hospitality and real estate executives and analysts was decidedly optimistic. Some analysts called 2014 a record year for hotel room demand while many panelists said there was at least another three years left in the current upswing.

STR's Jan Freitag forecasted that all hotel sectors, save midscale, would have 2015 revenue per available room (RevPAR) increases of more than 6%.

Matching the boldness of hoteliers who announced new brands and acquisitions at the event was conference presenter Jan Freitag, senior vice president of hotel research firm STR. He started the proceedings on Monday by saying that the all-time U.S. occupancy record of 64.9%, set in the mid-1990s, was within reach this year.

Largely fueling the rosy outlook were reports of resurgent group demand and a development pipeline that will keep room growth at less than 2%, at least for this year. 

And while urban lifestyle properties catering to younger travelers were the flavor of the day, Freitag forecasted that all sectors, save midscale, would have 2015 revenue per available room (RevPAR) increases of more than 6%.

“There’s tremendous strength in the luxury segment,” said Alan Fuerstman, CEO of luxury hotelier Montage Hotels & Resorts. “Luxury’s not a bad word.”

Naysaying was kept to a minimum. Per usual, some panelists pointed out the pitfalls of more aggressive supply growth within a few years as well as a European economy that continues to struggle.

Still, most believed that with stricter lending practices in place and the memory of the development surge that preceded the 2008-09 recession, the U.S. lodging industry would remain a smart place to invest for at least the next few years.

“The view from the outside is that the U.S. economy has sorted itself out,” said panelist Simon Turner, president of global development at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “The industry still appears to be quite disciplined.”

“We had a headwind for quite a while, and now we have a tailwind,” added fellow panelist Michael George, CEO of Crescent Hotels. “I’ll take all the help I can get.”

Comments

From Our Partners


From Our Partners

The Latest in Las Vegas
The Latest in Las Vegas
Register Now
Historic Highlights of Germany Guide
Historic Highlights of Germany Guide
Read More
Discover Worldwide All-Inclusive Ski Getaways at Club Med
Discover Worldwide All-Inclusive Ski Getaways at Club Med
Register Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI