Garvey Schubert Barer’s Hospitality, Travel & Tourism practice group, in conjunction with program sponsors and presenters, recently hosted two morning Hospitality Forums in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. The forums were designed for hotel owners, developers, investors and operators as well as hospitality industry service providers, consultants and lenders. Both events were well attended—a testament to the sponsors and presenters who offered current data, insights and analysis into issues of importance to those in the hospitality industry.
In particular, Matthew Gardner, of Gardner Economics, provided a macro-level discussion of current economic trends and then narrowed the focus to the Northwest. Matthew sees Seattle as having strong institutional underpinnings that will contribute to continued economic growth. Within the Northwest, condominium projects are not being approved by banks. Apartment construction projects in Seattle are being approved but that segment may soon be over saturated. Matthew did not express concern with the limited amount of hospitality construction underway. A similar presentation by Tom Potiowsky, the PSU Chair of Economics and Director of the Northwest Institute for Applied Economic Research, led off things in Portland. Although not quite as bullish on the local economy as Matthew, Tom was confident that a recovery (although slow) was underway in Oregon, and more particularly, the greater Portland market. Copies of Matthew’s presentation and Tom’s presentation are attached.
Days 2 and 3 at this year's ALIS conference were filled with numerous highlights, including a very well attended presentation (or should I say, political commentary) in the Nokia Theater by "the Donald" himself, Mr. Donald Trump. Days 2 and 3 were also filled with hundreds of meetings by conference attendees in nearly every hallway and corner of the hosts JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton.
While optimism continued to be the theme most often heard in the meetings I attended, the optimism was far from unbridled. With so many unknowns remaining in the world (e.g. European debt crises, continued high unemployment, the upcoming presidential election), nearly everyone recognized that the many signs pointing to an industry rebound could quickly change.
It has been reported that the producers of the conference this year were torn between an exclamation point and question mark in the program title. As you can see, the optimistic decision was made to include an exclamation point. As I explain below, I tend to agree with that decision.
Monday marked the opening of the 11th annual ALIS here in Los Angeles. This year's attendance of 2400 makes the 2012 conference the third largest in its 11 year history. From the many conversations I had throughout the day, the optimism expressed in pre-conference survey results was shared by many.
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.