31 May 2009
Hospitality Lawyer with hotel industry insights from New York City.
The NYU Hotel Investment Conference is the grand daddy of them all — Stephen Brener would be proud if he were alive today to see what his vision had blossomed into. And as much as I love our Meet the Money®, and the Phoenix Lodging Conference, this is the greatest hotel investment conference in the country. It is the place you have to be if you are in the industry and doing business.
The Conference kicked off tonight with its Grand Reception at the Waldorf=Astoria with the Who’s Who of the industry present, and here is what we see.
The NYU Hotel Investment Conference
As I said, if there is only one event you attend for hotel investment, and it is not our own Meet the Money® conference held every May, then NYU is THE event you must attend. This year, the organizers are expecting about 1,600 people which is down a little from the all time peak, but a very strong showing compared to other industry groups, and the truth is that there may be fewer people, but all the right people are here. Most companies are putting fewer people on the road for everything, so if they sent 10 people last year to this conference, maybe they are sending only 3 this year, but the most senior people are here — the ones you want to see.
They have a great program and really deserve a lot of credit for industry leadership. We are very proud to be sponsors of this conference, and if you are in town, please come to the general session I will co-moderate with Frank Nardozza and an all-star panel on Tuesday morning at 10:00 am on “Economic Bailout and Restructuring: Impacts and Opportunities for Lodging.”
The Grand Reception tonight (Sunday, May 31) was fabulous. The slightly lower attendance was a great positive from my perspective (and most people I talked to) who did not feel quite so “jammed” in the Grand Ballroom, and we were actually able to move around a little more easily and see some of the people we really wanted to connect with. This may go down as one of the best conference receptions ever.
The Lodging Industry Investment Council prelude.
I am privileged to be one of the co-chairs of the Lodging Industry Investment Council along with Mike Cahill and Sean Hennessey. This is the hotel industry “think tank” whose membership owns or operates many billions of hotel investments, and involves all aspects of the industry. Before the NYU, Phoenix and ALIS conferences, we hold our meeting to compare notes on a very candid basis, and to get an executive briefing from Mark Lomanno of Smith Travel.
This is usually a highly selective representation of the best insights to be gleaned from a hotel investment conference, and I trust that this one will be similar,
Tomorrow, I will pass on some of my notes from this brain trust and further notes from the conference.
The Mood of the NYU Hotel Conference
But for now, if you ask me about the “mood” of the conference, I would call it a resigned sense of having to deal with a new reality. The mandatory “RESET” of leveraging, values and approach is starting to become a reality. It has a very austere and unpleasant element to it, but realism has now washed away hopes of any easy fix or quick turnaround.
By the way, we all hope for the turnaround in the economy, and the sooner the better, but “recovery” to anything near 2007 pre-crash levels are years off. Owners are starting to say, “We are not going to feed the negative cash flow anymore.” Lenders are realizing that borrowers have been carrying projects from their own cash reserves and may not do so much longer.
There are interesting opportunities beginning to show signs as everyone becomes realistic in this new environment.
For other insights from the 31st Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, please see
This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer, signing off. We’ve done more than $60 billion of hotel transactions and have developed innovative solutions to unlock value from troubled hotel transactions. Who’s your hotel lawyer?
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