Hotel Interactive’s Take-Away From the NYU Hotel Industry Investment Conference

In his “Word on the Street” column for Hotel Interactive, Glenn Haussman shares some great soundbites he collected on the road – at the conference and elsewhere. He takes the pulse of the industry through conversations with industry leaders, including Emilio Perez, Vice President of SB Architects. We were interested to hear what Glenn had to say, and thought you might be too, so we’ve re-printed his column here.


The Word on the Street

What are some of the top minds in hospitality thinking? We got your answer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Glenn Haussman

One of the things about being on the road is finding interesting perspectives from industry professional. But sometimes they do not fit neatly in a bow in a way that’s good for the typical article.

So for today we’re throwing out the traditional format and sharing some great sound bites we collected this month during the NYU Hospitality Conference and elsewhere. Enjoy!

On Cuba

Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor

“We operate in Cuba today and have been in Cuba for 10 years and have two hotels. It is small and it’s a wonderful market to be in. It will open up but it doesn’t have the same growth potential as China.”

On Chinese Investment in U.S. Hotel Market

Jonathan Gray, Global Head of Real Estate and a member of the Board of Director of Blackstone Group

“We are in the early days in terms of foreign investment, particularly for Chinese investment. Insurance companies logically look at properties, and buying in New York and London has proven to be rational. The Chinese have bought the Waldor-Astoria and got it for about $1,400 per square foot for irreplaceable real estate.”

Barry Sternlichit, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group

“We are in the early stages of Chinese investment and are already in many asset classes. In Orange County, CA, 80 percetn of what is being sold is being sold to Chinese or Chinese Americans. This is a long-term investment for them and over 20 to 30 years they will make a lot of money.”

On Technology

Monty Bennet, Chairman and CEO of  Ashford Hospitality Trust

“Technology is accelerating and it’s more a part of every business. IT expands and other areas shrink as they become more efficient. In 10 years, one way or another, we will all be tech companies.”

On Customer Engagement

Mark Hoplamazian, President & CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation

“Our number one issue is extending the definition of brand beyond the hotel stay. There is a lot that comes before and after regarding customer engagement. The industry has been historically transactional and we need to go beyond that.”

On Getting Your Company Set for Growth

Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hyatt Worldwide

“I inherited a company that was put together by acquisition. So you have to start with establishing your true north. How do you get 350,000 people in 100 countries unified around a common cause? It’s about creating opportunities for customers and owners, and doing great work in communities, a rallying call of higher purpose. You have a mission and vision and priorities taht make the biggest difference and getting intensely aligned around that.”

On Buying Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for $1.73 Billion


“The best hotel deals are bought at a pretty substantial discount to replacement and have and operational upside. We’ll be adding rooms and energizing the casino floor. We’re also adding restaurants and retail. We’d love to find a way to do more [in Las Vegas] even though regional gaming is easier to build and the barriers to entry are lower.”

On What Scares You

Tyler Henritze, Senior Managing Director in the Real Estate Group and Co-head of U.S. Acquisitions for Blackstone Group

“Excess of cranes and capital. Our view is more likely rates will go up and that impacts how we underwrite assets. We like to anchor on basis and replacement cost, and the best way to manage risk is to buy assets at discount to replacement costs.”

On Creating Experience Through Design

Emilio Perez, Vice President, SB Architects

“More now than ever before, experience is everything. It begins with an iPad used to select a hotel and continues to the property, where the envelope of that experience is the architecture. We must create from the earliest onset a project vision. it is no longer just brand representation for the guest, it’s about placemaking, the destination and its cultural influence. We’re not just architects, but educators, too.”

About Glenn Haussman

Glenn is Hotel Interactive’s Editor-In-Chief, where he manages all editorial content for the hotel industry’s leading online information resource. In addition to publishing the daily magazine, he hosts a weekly on demand radio show and develops educational content for the company’s BITAC and HI Connect Design events.

Glenn Haussman