MEMPHIS, TN—The Southern Lodging Summit took the pulse of attendees at its 13th annual conference and overall results showed a continued upbeat outlook on the industry in its first “State of the Industry” report.
Hoteliers specializing in development and operations in the Southern U.S. responded to topics such as the future of the industry, the impact of Airbnb and which technologies will play the most important role in hotels moving forward.
“Now is an excellent time to be in the hospitality industry, and our conference attendees clearly believe the good times lie ahead for the foreseeable future,” said Chuck Pinkowski, president of Pinkowski & Company and conference co-founder. “58% of respondents believe 2016 will be even stronger than 2015, and the remaining 42% opined the industry would stay at its already healthy levels. No one responded that 2016 would be worse. Barring an unforeseen black-swan event, our panelists and attendees were unanimous in their opinion that the future remains very bright for hoteliers both in the Southern U.S. and nationwide.”
Technology was one of the hottest topics among respondents, with 35% asserting that WiFi broadband capacity would have the most impact during the next 12 months and 98% agreeing that faster, free WiFi is the most important amenity for Millennial guests. Attendees were divided over whether or not Airbnb is a threat to the industry (48% agree, 42% disagree, and 10% are undecided.)
Full results of the poll are available at the SLS website.
The annual conference was held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center and featured industry updates and outlook analysis from Jim Abrahamson, Interstate Hotels & Resorts CEO and AH&LA president and chairman. SLS was cofounded by Pinkowski & Company, an independent, Memphis-based hotel industry consulting firm, and the Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association.