HB ON THE SCENE: Positive Mood Pumps Up ALIS

LOS ANGELES—Executives attending the annual Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) being held here this week at the JW Marriott, were in a positive mood, reflecting the general direction in which the industry continues to head.

Following a welcoming songfest by the Angel City Chorale who trilled “Happy Days Are Here Again,” the event’s 13th iteration found chairman James Burba, president of BHN, declaring the conference’s theme, “Going Up?” no longer needed to be viewed as questionable, and that the industry is quite definitely on the upswing with RevPAR going up and lenders returning to help push deals through.

Another barometer was the number of attendees, approximately 2,600, the second largest attendance in ALIS history, many of whom could be found in and around the JW Marriott and Nokia Theatre talking deals and networking. Some 25 countries, plus the United States, are represented by the delegates in attendance.

Burba noted in a survey sent out to ALIS attendees that 100% of respondents (minus two respondents who said it would be flat) believe there will be an increase in RevPAR growth in the United States this year.

“The belief in RevPAR growth is pretty strong in our community right now,” said Burba.

In a similar survey, 45% of those surveyed in China felt RevPAR growth would increase, while a European survey found 89% were confident of RevPAR growth.

“Who would have thought Europe would be more optimistic than China?” said Burba.

Another question around whether deal activity would be greater in 2014 than last year showed 64% felt there would be more activity, 32% felt it would be the same, and 4% felt there would be less.

In addition, other survey questions indicated “the belief of the ALIS investment community is that there is going to be more deals, more hotels being built in this country in the coming year, and that’s a big change,” said Burba.

“The takeaway is that things are, indeed, looking up. Things are pretty positive,” he said.