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Hotels & Hospitality: Trends and Recovery

In event # 30 of Industry Insights tradition, Christian Salaman yields to join server Joel Simon to provide insights on the current recovery of the hospitality industry, the newest trends for owners and managers as well as the impact over other asset classes such as senior residences and student housing.
When you last joined us as a guest on episode #17  at September 2020, you informed us to a hoped for but slow restoration of the resort industry, the ugliness of distressed projects, some possible opportunities for mezzanine lenders and certain sellers, flag repositioning and key money for leading home managers. With stride at the vaccine timetable, varying levels of reopening by countries throughout the nation and an uptick in airline travel, I am getting the feeling that there might be some light at the end of the very long tunnel the hospitality sector was staring down back in December.
Spiritual Salaman: That’s right. One of my buddies in the industry would say we don’t know what the wattage is of the bulbs, and people are all trying to figure out, but you are definitely seeing some positive tendencies throughout the travel, hospitality and leisure industry. You see it only in TSA data–the number of folks that are flying. You see it at the hotel occupancy data for specific types of resorts, and it’s only the feeling that people are most likely feeling in all different parts of the nation as things open up pretty widely in some places (and maybe a little less widely in others). People are back outside at restaurants and resorts and doing things of this kind, especially with Spring Break with passed. However, how bright is that bulb? I really don’t think we really know yet.
In part, that’s because of the clear dynamic reality of the pandemic and what is going on with various variants along with the tumor race to beat those variants. The reality of distressed properties and the realities of winners and winners, if you think about owners, lenders, managers, anyone else inside the industry landscape–it’s starting to shake more. A whole lot of folks were, or even sitting on their hands, because”wait and watch” mode, and there’s a great deal less of that. In many ways, there are really more things happening, good and bad, than there was in September.
Simon: There also have been some noteworthy bankruptcies in addition to foreclosures in receiverships, therefore, maybe I am getting a bit ahead of myself that, but I have read the construction market is picking up again. What can you tell us about that?
Salaman: That’s right. There are undoubtedly more noticeable bankruptcies and properties being offered through taxation and the like. Ripped from the headlines today, yesterday or the day beforewe could find examples of these across the nation. But construction is intriguing. If you only look at the latest information, then there are a great deal of rooms under construction and room amounts which are not that different than that which was under construction before the pandemic. Maybe that’s in part because a lot of items were placed on hold, deferred, but just how much has been left handed versus deferred? But from what we’re seeing there are a great deal of people who, since they have abrasive powder and have been thinking about the fact of their long-term placement, are proceeding with their projects, especially ones which were far enough and where they are doing significant renovations. And a number of them have completed it. They have found chance with either closure or partial closure to do that. That is what happened there–the property is still going under construction but if you seen it today compared to this period last year, a lot has changed. It’s a great deal more economical and more brilliant for a very old hotel.
Simon: You cite dry powderChristian, and that I know that that’s driven a lot of action in M&A normally, especially among private equity stores and other investors who have been waiting in the wings for a long time. Has the hospitality sector been able to participate in that M&A rally nonetheless?
Salaman: Absolutely. You’re starting view it directly at the Extended Stay America transaction. You are otherwise visiting lots of folks going into or trying to locate opportunity for themselves in the drive to niches. Otherwise, you see the people REITs and others taking about other niches. Individuals are thinking about other niches, and we find it in the transactions we’re working on. It is not only about the top 10 or even the top 25 markets. They are thinking elsewhere. So that’s driving prices. Those top 10 markets clearly stay important, but those are those which are probably most hampered at the moment, when you think about the massive urban places. New York, Chicago, certainly to a degree even where I sit at San Diego, the conference traffic hasn’t returnedat least not yet.
Simon: And what about management incentives and structures? Have there been changes in those types of things depending on the extended recession brought on by the pandemic as well as the fall off in traveling and indoor dining?
Salaman: ” There is a whole bunch of things going on with supervisors. There’s only form of the negative facts of individuals speaking about performance tests along with the capacity to terminate or use the threat of termination to renegotiate control contracts. It is more on their radar now that numbers for 2020 are closing and perhaps audited or presumed audited whether there’s an audit occurring, is looking at those provisions more carefully and thinking about it. You know in exactly the exact identical light if you are doing a new bargain, the managers are thinking about the reverse side, not just with respect to that provision but some security for themselves. So many functioned to get little-to-no fees since they work from the top line and that’s created a whole bunch of fascinating bonuses. There are a lot of people out there who are aggressive in the M&A market. It kind of gets into the earlier point but in the management standpoint –that there are the people who are better placed or have more institutional availability and whether that’s cash or only the fact that some of their properties were drive-to or even resort-driven in order that they didn’t have as poor about a year as a few of their opponents. They are wanting to find other management firms or chances –key money appears to be on the market, and individuals are using it in a number of the bargains that we’re seeing. So, I think that as we see in so lots of the different facets of the wait-and-see match, the wait-and-see match of the shuffle of management companies and management firms looking for opportunities to increase either through natural growth, discovering new bargains through their organization development teams or through acquisition. I truly think we will see a big push of that for the remainder of the year.
Simon: What do you tell us about another asset classes and how they’ve fared? I am aware there’s been a boom in some specific areas such as house builders, in addition to possible redesign of senior residences and student housing.
Salaman: You notice it certainly here in California. I can think of properties at the San Diego region as well as down the coast, and that I know that it’s true in other parts of the nation. There have been resort acquisitions because countries or other municipalities are purchasing resorts for purposes of homelessness and locating transitional housing for all those people. It’s been heavily used for student housing. I think that’s a trend that’s here to stay. In exactly the exact identical respect, whether it’s senior living or multifamily, people are actively converting hotels. At the moment, we’ve been engaged in a few resorts where clients have either sold it or left management of the property. I can think of a couple bargains where we’ve been involved where folks intend to move forward with the resort but they are really thinking and negotiating, where it’s appropriate to have that skill, whether it’s less likely a couple of years from today –or 5, or 10, 15 years down the road–to have that flexibility. People are thinking about resorts and repositioning that advantage in a way that I can not think of occurring in the almost 25 years that I’ve been connected with the industry.
Simon: Thanks for that update, Christian. I am aware that deal participants are happy to get back to doing what they do best and hopefully things will pick up steam fast but before you go, have your buddies and Misadventure Vodka been in a position to get back to their primary business of earning spirits or so are they still churns out hand sanitizer in their distillery, such as you explained the last time we talked?
Salaman: They’re back to producing vodka. Making hand sanitizer proved to be a excellent step for them and beneficial to lots of their clients when needed, but today they are back to focusing exactly what they do. However, like a lot of people in the resort industry, or other businesses for that matter, they are trying to find out the perfect approach to reengage with clients. Hopefully they are one example along with many in the industry where folks will be thinking of how they go well through the tough days and then discovered a means to prosper as we return to a semblance ordinary.