NATHIC Attendees Take Home a Dose of 'Reality' and Continued

NATHIC Attendees Take Home a Dose of 'Reality' and Continued Optimism 
NEWTON, MA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/06/12 --  Attendees at the fourth
annual North America Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (NATHIC)
last week in Washington, D.C., rubbed shoulders with a reality TV
show star and were encouraged by optimistic outlooks for the hotel
industry. 
Anthony Melchiorri, host and star of Travel Channel's "Hotel
Impossible," answered audience questions in a session moderated by
Mike Cahill, chief executive officer of Hospitality Real Estate
Counselors. 
"I'm there to turn around hotels, not to make a TV show," Melchiorri
said. "I'm not there to play with (hoteliers') emotions because it's
good TV. I want to help." He announced that the second season of
"Hotel Impossible" would premiere this week. 
Melchiorri was followed on stage by J.P. Ford, senior vice president
of Lodging Econometrics, who delivered an update to the audience on
the current hotel pipeline. Ford said that new construction
announcements totaled 1,218 projects consisting of 151,545 rooms. 
"Underlying fundamentals are improving, and there is a return of
financing," Ford said. New projects are concentrated in the
upper-upscale and upscale segments. He ranked New York, Washington,
San Diego, Houston and Los Angeles as the top cities for room growth. 
Jan Freitag, senior vice president of Smith Travel Research,
presented his organization's latest industry performance data. Year
to date through October 2012, room demand in the United States was up
3 percent, occupancy was up 2.6 percent, average daily rate was up
4.2 percent and revenue per available room was up 6.9 percent, he
reported. 
Smith Travel Research is forecasting gains across the board for 2013,
he said, with demand expected to gain 1.2 percent, occupancy 0.3
percent, ADR 4.6 percent and RevPAR 4.9 percent. The luxury and
upscale segments are expected to benefit the most, with occupancy
gains of 1.9 and 2.2 percent respectively, ADR gains of 6.3 and 5.5
percent and RevPAR of 8.3 and 7.9 percent. 
Freitag's presentation complemented a panel discussion on the
conference's first day that addressed the overall state of the
industry. Panelists included Scott Andrews of GE Capital Franchise
Finance, Bruce Lowrey of RockBridge, Jalil Mekouar of Jones Lang
LaSalle Hotels and Keith Thompson of Hotel Assets Group. 
"The overall sentiment is positive and performance is on the rise,"
Mekouar said. "Debt is coming back and the basket of lenders is
widening, which drives competition and increases loan-to-value
ratios." 
Lowrey said that as customer credit shrinks, guests will look for
hotels with high value propositions, notably select-service
properties. In regard to transactions, Andrews said private equity is
looking at secondary and tertiary markets.  
Summing up the conference value proposition, attendee Andrew Pace,
vice president of development for Atlanta-based Hotel Equities Group,
described NATHIC panelists as "very focused, efficient and candid
about hotel development and investments," which he said is critical
in the "very dynamic political and economic current environment." 
NATHIC, part of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF)
summit series, focused on a wide range of critical topics identified
by the NATHIC Advisory Board, composed of a wide spectrum of
prominent hotel owners, operators, franchisors, management companies,
marketers and analysts who have a pulse on the North American
hospitality and tourism scene.  
Other conference highlights included: 


 
--  Open discussion by the Lodging Industry Investment Council (LIIC), a
    prestigious think tank of hotel owners, brokers, financiers and
    lawyers
--  Briefings by lobbyists regarding their latest government relations and
    policy agenda efforts
--  An overview of current and future construction costs from planning,
    design and project management to the financial perspective and bottom
    line
--  A discussion of how hotel operators can benefit by partnering with
    convention and visitors bureaus
--  Innovative views on maximizing the value of a hotel owner's capital
    investment
--  A discussion about consumer trends and how hoteliers can fulfill those
    expectations

  
The conference concluded with an executive-level "Power Hour,"
featuring some of the hotel industry's most dynamic leaders including
David Pepper, senior vice president, global development for Choice
Hotels International; Bill Fortier, senior vice president-development
Americas, Hilton; and Mark Williams, vice president of North American
development for Best Western International.  
Marilyn McHugh, who oversees the NATHIC show as vice president of
global events for Questex Hospitality + Travel, said this year's
event offered more formalized networking opportunities in an intimate
setting and topics of immediate relevance to attendees. "We put the
content in the hands of industry leaders and give them the power to
determine what they want to accomplish and learn," she said.  
The NATHIC board represents the Trump, Starwood, Hilton, La Quinta,
Marriott, Wyndham and Choice hotel companies as well as senior
leaders from Cornell University, Lodging Econometrics, Embassy Bank,
Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Hospitality Real Estate Counselors,
hotelAVE, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and Daly Gray
Public Relations.
 For more information, visit www.nathic.com.  
Questex Hospitality + Travel, the largest multimedia organization in
the world dedicated to hospitality and travel, drives revenue,
productivity and value creation for these related industries through
strategic investment and deal-making forums, powerful lead-generation
tools, interactive online business solutions, world-class events and
industry-leading publications.  
The Questex Hospitality Group, a division of Questex Hospitality +
Travel, operates throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and
Africa and Asia-Pacific region through a variety of market-leading
properties and services including the International Hotel Investment
Forum (IHIF) Berlin, North America Hotel & Tourism Investment
Conference, Asia Pacific Tourism Destination Investment Conference,
North Asia Hotel Investment Conference, Russia & CIS Hotel Investment
Conference, Central Asia & Turkey Hotel Investment Conference, HOTEC
Design North America and HOTEC Operations & Technology North America;
lead generation portal HotelManagement.net; and industry news
delivery services in print, online and mobile worldwide via IHIF:
Hotel Investment News along with Hotel Management and HA+D magazines.
For more information, visit www.questex.com. 
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