HB ON THE SCENE: With Eye to Horizon, Industry Optimism Remains at Meet the Money Conference

LOS ANGELES—While the lodging industry’s overriding optimism of the past several years is continuing to permeate its appetite for deals, some 400 owners, operators, developers, lenders and analysts gathered here for the 25th annual Meet the Money National Hotel Finance & Investment Conference already are starting to sound the alert a little louder that the inevitable shift for the good times is just over the horizon, hovering somewhere near 2017.

More than one panelist among the dozens of industry experts gathered here at the Sheraton Gateway LAX by conference organizer Jim Butler of Jeffers Mangels Butler & Mitchell, LLP, attributed varying degrees of “frothiness” to the market.

The sentiment among attendees remained that there continues to be an abundance of capital chasing deals, with foreign investment, particularly out of China, keeping transaction activity robust. That attitude was reinforced for many as numerous lender-panelists detailed their transaction parameters as part of session presentations.

Interest in alternate avenues of financing, such as crowdfunding and EB-5, drew significant numbers of attendees and concerns for what the Federal Reserve might do—or not—regarding interest rates filtered through many of the presentations.

Stefani C. O’Connor

(Editor’s Note: Look for more conference coverage in the May 21 issue of Hotel Business.)