HB ON THE SCENE: Industry Optimism Underscored at ALIS

LOS ANGELES—The positive vibe that’s been running rampant through the lodging industry was underscored yesterday as the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) got underway. According to conference chair Jim Burba, the event—which is being held at the JW Marriott at LA Live here—has some 2,800 delegates in attendance.

John Silvia, managing director and chief economist, Wells Fargo, offered some more good news to the industry. He noted, “2015 is probably the best year of this economic cycle… There’s no sign of a recession for the next year or two.”

Silvia also linked the continually improving U.S. employment picture to more business meetings for hoteliers. “The meeting aspect of your business is going to be really significant,” he said.

Silvia acknowledged that interest rates are likely to rise in the near future, but “not much.” He added, “I don’t think the Federal Reserve will be very aggressive.” Silvia also commented that “corporate profits are still growing. A lot of U.S. profits are made abroad.”

Meanwhile, Steve Forbes, chairman, editor-in-chief, Forbes Media, delivered the keynote address. He insisted the U.S. needs to establish a monetary policy. “It’s boring but it’s absolutely critical.”

Forbes also touched on the impact of international markets and urged attendees “to not get discouraged by what happens overseas. Things are beginning to change.”

He referenced specifically the U.S. healthcare system, and the delivery of healthcare, as well as a consensus on the tax side of the equation. Forbes told attendees to “be happy. But the thing is thankfully for the next few years as we go through some of these turbulent changes, they’ll be a lot more happiness to come.”