As we gear up for yet another NYU Hospitality Conference, the lodging industry is flush with optimism as hotel performance remains robust throughout the U.S. and the overall economy continues to improve. Suffice it to say the traditional Sunday night cocktail party at the Marriott Marquis that kicks off the conference will be full of smiling faces and celebratory toasts. And why not? The bar has been set high for 2014 and beyond for the entire hospitality industry.
Similarly, we like to think we’ve set the bar pretty high here at Hotel Business when it comes to our annual NYU issue. Admittedly, I am biased but I think we exceeded that bar by a long margin with this particular issue.
For example, if you’re looking for exclusives, you’ve come to the right place. We have the story of hospitality giant Thayer Lodging Group, which is poised to be acquired by Brookfield Asset Management in a deal expected to close any day now. We also have a Q&A with former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who recently joined Cushman & Wakefield as president of Risk Management Services, and talked about some of the past events that have impacted our business as well as his expectations for his new position. This issue also includes coverage of our most recent Executive Roundtable on Development Dynamics, which detailed current development conditions from the perspective of a number of different disciplines throughout the industry. Within these pages, you will also find an analysis of the EB-5 Visa program and what its impact is on the lodging industry.
These stories notwithstanding, we understand the story that will likely garner the most attention is our cover story on Airbnb, which also includes an exclusive interview with hotel veteran Chip Conley. The online company has been in the news for a number of different reasons of late, few of which have been positive, ranging from tax issues to prostitution. (I’m not necessarily condoning prostitution but let’s be honest it’s not like a hotel room has never been used for such purposes.) But what has been positive is the company’s growth, which has been nothing short of remarkable.
Getting a reaction
I’m certain we will hear from many traditional hoteliers in the industry on this story and the refrain will likely be, ‘How could you do a story on these guys? They’re not true hoteliers.’ And my response will be, ‘How could we not?’ As the leading news publication in our industry, we have an obligation to cover such a story for our readers.
No, it may not be Hilton or Marriott, but it certainly is hospitality. And there’s little question that a company, which has some 600,000 listings for accommodations, certainly will impact the industry, in a major way. Much like just about every other conference this year, Airbnb will likely be a hot topic of conversation at NYU. Regardless of what your opinion is, I trust you will find the story entertaining and informative. At the end of the day, that’s where the bar has been set for us.