After years of steady growth, the hotel industry is bracing for a tough year. “Growth and revenue are slowing down,” Bruce Baltin, managing director of CBRE Hotels, told executives and experts gathered for ULI’s “Hotel and Resort Development: Next Wave of Innovation” conference in La Costa, California, held in June. “It’s hit a peak. We think we’re at a plateau.”
The long-predicted generational shift in the hotel industry is starting to happen, according to speakers at ULI’s recent “Hotel and Resort Development: Next Wave of Innovation” conference in La Costa, California. Baby boomers are growing older and millennials are developing as a buying group, forcing developers and operators to rethink developments. Everyone is racing to determine what works—and what doesn’t—as projects look to adjust to the latest trends, speakers said.
As competition for the dollars of vacationers and business travelers ratchets up, hotel companies are on a never-ending search for ways to differentiate themselves. Guests are looking for uniqueness, local flavor and history, and bespoke experiences that they can capture and share instantly through social media networks, according to a panel of hotel industry experts at the recent ULI Florida Summit in Miami.
The focus of most panelists at ULI’s Latin America Conference, held in late October, was on the stronger markets, including Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile. There also was optimism about a turnaround in Brazil and Argentina’s most recent election.
Newly confident and deep-pocketed consumers are driving vacation-home sales to levels that have not been seen in a decade, said panelists at the ULI Fall Meeting. But prices have not yet reached previous peaks, and buyers are increasingly cautious and cost-conscious.
In a competitive global market, resort designers are racing to define the “new luxury.” The modern concept of luxury is “really about elegance and simplicity,” said Richard Centolella, a principal in design firm EDSA, during a panel discussion at the ULI Fall Meeting.
Tourism is a critical factor in the U.S. and world economies. “The impacts of tourism on a community can be beneficial if planned and managed, or extremely damaging if left without controls,” says Michael Kelly, former chairman of the APA’s tourism planning division.
Technology and changing travel habits are checking in as long-term guests.
The “fear of missing out” is a major motivator for today’s most affluent millennials who want every travel moment to be memorable—and tweetable.
Resorts and vacation homes—always the last real estate sector to recover from an economic downturn—are seeing increased activity, but developers are looking toward the future.