I just came back from the 32nd Annual New York University International
Hospitality Industry Investment Conference at the New York Marriott
Marquis. So what’s the buzz? The hotel executives on hand expressed
more optimism concerning the lodging industry’s recovery as demand
returns, but they also remained on the look out for when rates will
begin to increase.
During the opening panel, David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western
International; Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels
Corporation; and Andrew Cosslett, CEO of IHG; expressed cautious
optimism about signs of the industry’s recovery. Meanwhile, Arne
Sorenson, president and COO of Marriott International, said he was
“wildly optimistic.” He pointed to the numbers showing occupancy and
Kong said that last year there was a “perfect storm” of factors that
led to dismal numbers industrywide. He noted that in 2009 demand
decreased nearly 6 percent, while supply increased nearly 3 percent,
but those trends have turned around for this year.
In addition, the four executives discussed the proliferation of
brands in today’s environment. “If you have a brand that means
something to people, you’re fine,” Cosslett said. “If you’re a fly by
night, you’re probably dead.”
Later, Cosslett told reporters, "We are trying to make sure we
have brands that appeal to particular people. You can have brands in
the future that are quite small. You have to have distinctiveness.”
What’s your take?