Disaster impact rippled through the industry in 2017
Disaster impact rippled through the industry in 2017
26 NOVEMBER 2018 8:22 AM

HNN recaps the biggest events from 2017 as part of its look back at 10 years of the hotel industry.

GLOBAL REPORT—The hotel industry faced a slew of disasters in 2017 including a series of hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and even a deadly shooting at a Las Vegas resort. But the industry proved its resiliency as hoteliers quickly mobilized and entered recovery mode

Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area in August and hoteliers assessed and reacted to the damage best they could. Speakers at the Southern Lodging Summit in Memphis at the time gave some early thoughts on how industry metrics might fare.

Jan Freitag, STR’s SVP of lodging insights, told the conference audience that it’s possible the impact of Hurricane Harvey would reduce supply growth in Texas and across the United States. (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.)

“This would imply that if demand growth and (average daily rate) growth remain at what we have projected, (revenue per available room) growth could be stronger in the long run than previously thought,” he said.

Then Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through Florida and the Caribbean one after another, causing hoteliers to once again take stock of damage. 

Speakers during the first day of 2017’s Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit all shared a similar sentiment about the hurricanes, wrote HNN’s Jeff Higley, which was insurance payouts and government financial support is like a huge stimulus package. 

The industry was looking for a chance at renewal. 

“A lot of CapEx takes place, a lot of properties modernize and take advantage to fix things they have had a chance to fix before,” said George Spence, principal with Leading Property Group. “It’s a time for rejuvenation in the industry.” 

Members of the Lodging Industry Investment Council also spoke on top-of-mind concerns while at the Lodging Conference in November.

“We’re getting to a point now where things that we cannot foresee seem to be happening more quickly, and that’s sort of our reality … that one thing after another (is happening,) and that’s concerning,” said Andrea Foster, SVP of development at Marcus Hotels & Resorts. “We can look and see that we have labor shortages; we can look ahead and we can see we have labor costs rising, construction costs are rising. We can plan (for) that,” but not so much for other unexpected events, she added. 

Hotel developers were also working to offset those rising costs of construction labor due to a robust construction pipeline.

Meanwhile, experts began looking at warning signs that might signify a downturn was looming and which markets might be most susceptible to a large drop.

Maybe AccorHotels CEO Sébastien Bazin said it best at the South American Hotel Investment Conference on staying ahead of the industry’s numerous disruptors: “In today’s world, either you change or you will be changed. So either you act and then you make some hard decisions and take some risk … (or) somebody is going to be acting for you—that’s somebody called Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb, Google, Amazon, Facebook.”

Read through the stories below for more industry news from 2017

Sheraton pulls from Marriott playbook to improve brand
Hoteliers adapting to changes in resort fees
After Vegas shooting, no simple path for recovery
Hoteliers see interest-rate increases as new status quo
What US tax reform could mean for hotel industry

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