Please Stand By? Hoteliers Say ‘No’

In this issue, you’ll find our report from ALIS (Americas Lodging Investment Summit), which was held at the end of last month in Los Angeles. In fact, many of you were probably among the 3,000 industry professionals there. The theme of ALIS 2017? “Please Stand By.” But many industry leaders are choosing just the opposite and instead of staying static, are moving ahead with plans and projects—and forward-thinking initiatives.

Hotel Business had the opportunity to interview more than a handful of industry leaders, capturing this dynamic sentiment—in addition to catching up about company programs, and investment and development strategies—on video during the conference. Check out our video coverage at hotelbusiness.com. You’ll hear from executives including David Kong, CEO, Best Western Hotels & Resorts; Pat Pacious, president/COO, Choice Hotels International; Tony Capuano, EVP/global chief development officer, Marriott International; and Scott Berman, principal and industry leader, Hospitality & Leisure Group at PwC, among others. Their thoughts on standing by? A collective “no.” Maybe, like Capuano quipped, they’re hoping their competitors do, though.          

But it seems nobody is, as the air at ALIS was upbeat and positive with the industry remaining strong and energized—and optimistic (there’s that word again!)—despite RevPAR growth expecting to slow a bit in 2017 (after 80-plus consecutive months of growth); the uncharted territory of a new administration (ALIS took place just three days after the inauguration of President Trump); an unsure political and economic climate; and the downside of supply expected to exceed demand.

Panels and sessions certainly addressed those topics, and conversations in the lobby of the JW Marriott L.A. Live and over dinners discussed the news of the day but, by and large, hoteliers chose to focus on the continued growth of the industry and the potential for future investments and opportunities even in the face of some of these uncertainties. Forge ahead instead with a new brand like Tapestry Collection by Hilton (the hotel giant’s 14th one); a rise in innovations from brands, such as Marriott further evolving its Element and Aloft brands; and an overall positive outlook for 2017; perhaps, in some small part, because some of the anxiety of 2016 has been replaced by uncertainty, which is more manageable. Maybe the word we oftentimes favor to describe such investment conferences, and related industry events, should not always be optimism but, rather, resilience.