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HB ON THE SCENE: HELP Conference Gains Traction

Tuesday April 9th, 2013 - 8:57AM


BOSTON—The second annual HELP conference got underway yesterday with some 375 attendees as executives from several leading research firms used terms such as “terrific,” “very good,” “ebullient,” and “tailwinds” to describe current conditions.

Citing good fundamentals, R. Mark Woodworth, president, PKF Hospitality Research, LLC, noted in the session “Trends: Mega and Micro,” that nationally, room nights on the books for the coming 12 months are up 2% over last year. He added of the industry’s long-term outlook, “The next point where you will be saying I want to be out of the hotel business is 2017.”

Scott Berman, president, PWC, was equally bullish, particularly as it relates to the upscale, upper upscale and luxury sectors, which he noted are all expected to have RevPAR growth of better than 6% in the coming year. “At the high end of the market things are looking strong,” he said.

Berman did add one note of caution with regards to the U.S. government sequestration. “The U.S. economy is improving but the sequestration is a distraction,” he said, noting it needs to closely watched.

David Loeb, managing director and senior research analyst, R.W. Baird & Co., Inc., meanwhile, talked about the REIT sector and what has driven transactions. “The focus of the activity has been on the select service segment. Select-service properties have outperformed their full-service peers over the last six months,” he said.