September 15, 2021
More than 1,700 hotels in the U.S. closed in spring 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of August, 1,200 were closed, reported Kalibri Labs. Meantime, 840 new hotels opened last year and 900 are on track to open this year, according to Lodging Econometrics. Episode 337 of Lodging Leaders explores the challenges owners faced in reopening closed hotels as well as what owners and operators did to ramp up business at hotels that were at such low levels of occupancy, they might as well have been closed. We also feature owners who opened new properties during the pandemic. One owner we interviewed opened two new hotels while doing what it took to keep his existing properties in business. This report is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
August 4, 2021
331 | Breaking Away: How to recruit and retain young hospitality professionals in a post-pandemic industry
Nicolas Graf, associate dean, clinical professor and chair of New York University’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, will soon unveil the school’s new Hospitality Innovation Hub. Departure from the norms of doing business is key to the post-pandemic survival and success of the hospitality industry, says Graf. Companies that offer flexibility in thought and practice among employees will go a long way in leading the industry’s post-pandemic recovery. Episode 331 of Lodging Leaders explores what it will take for owners, operators and others invested in the industry to attract and retain bright young talent who can help build modern and sustainable hotel business models.
July 28, 2021
330 | Youthful Perspective: Industry leader Bijal Patel mourns the loss of ‘an entire generation’ of hospitality workers
Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.
June 9, 2021
Frances Kiradjian understands resiliency. The Los Angeles businesswoman founded Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association 12 years ago at the dawn of the Great Recession. Today, the association boasts hundreds of members from all over the world and is the hallmark for independent boutique lifestyle hotels. During the pandemic year 2020, Kiradjian watched boutique hoteliers dig deep for creativity, operational courage and a positive outlook as the hotel industry quickly spiraled into crisis mode. Episode 325 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Kiradjian in the third and final installment of its series on independent hotels doing business amid the coronavirus crisis.
June 2, 2021
324 | Independent But Not Alone: Franchisers’ soft-brand engines drive business to struggling hotels
Independent hotels struggled just as much as their franchised cousins when the coronavirus pandemic first struck the U.S. in spring 2020. Hundreds of independent properties temporarily closed amid the downturn in business and government shutdowns. Among those that reopened the soonest were independent hotels that are part of soft-branded collections. In Episode 324, Lodging Leaders explores how being attached to a brand engine enabled owners and operators of independent properties to regain their financial footing amid the pandemic recession.
May 26, 2021
The coronavirus crisis hit independent hotels just as hard as their branded counterparts but many of the unaffiliated assets were able to quickly shift to survival mode, cut costs and generate revenue by implementing creative business strategies. The transition to a new era of hospitality continues as owners and managers of independent assets develop solutions that will strengthen their businesses now and post-pandemic. What independent operators have learned may be useful for the entire hotel industry as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis and positions for recovery.
May 19, 2021
The labor shortage dominated the talk at the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference May 10-12 as panelists and attendees commiserated and shared ideas on how to recruit and retain workers. While some hoteliers blame extended unemployment-benefit programs others say the problem is more complex as the coronavirus pandemic is far from over and recovery is uneven across the lodging industry. In this report, Long Live Lodging explores the labor challenges facing hoteliers and what experts are advising, including totally rethinking traditional employment models now and post-pandemic.
May 12, 2021
Hotel owners and operators who believed they could go it alone before the coronavirus pandemic devastated the hotel industry are having another think and turning to third-party managers to work their way back to profitability in the post-pandemic recovery. Another trend contributing to the growth in third-party managers’ business is more commercial real estate investors armed with cash entering the hotel sector and in need of an experienced operations team. Episode 321 of Lodging Leaders podcast explores the growth of third-party management companies over the past 12 months. This report is part of Lodging Leaders’ coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
April 28, 2021
The phrase “stronger together” has been used throughout the coronavirus crisis to encourage Americans to join forces to curb the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. The concept also has taken on new meaning in the hotel industry as companies form joint ventures – either by creating new partnerships or redefining what collaboration looks like. Long Live Lodging interviewed leaders at hotel companies that have formed strategic partnerships to survive and thrive through the pandemic recession. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
April 14, 2021
Ginny Morrison of Evanston, Illinois, is a 33-year veteran of Spire Hospitality, a hotel management company with a portfolio that spans coast-to-coast. As vice president of sales and marketing, Morrison saw the coronavirus pandemic decimate the meetings business. More than a year later, she’s witnessing a comeback as small-meeting planners are actively booking events for the last half of 2021 and beyond. As public health agencies expand COVID-19 vaccination programs across the U.S. and states ease up on public-gathering restrictions designed to keep the virus at bay, the hotel industry is seeing small meetings begin a comeback. In Episode 317, Long Live Lodging covers the state of the small-meetings sector and how hotels can grab their share of the meetings business during and post-pandemic. This report is part of our ongoing coverage about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the hospitality industry.
April 7, 2021
316 | Pandemic Trailblazer: Hunter Hotel Investment Conference leads lodging industry’s 2021 event circuit
The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference will be the industry’s first large event to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta event will be a hybrid format of in-person and virtual access, also an industry first. Lee Hunter, chairman of the conference, knows the level of expectation is high among other conference planners as well as industry professionals eager to network after more than a yearlong hiatus. Episode 316 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Hunter as he tells what it takes to re-launch the industry’s conference circuit amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 24, 2021
More than 1,760 hotels or 5 percent of U.S. room inventory have permanently or temporarily closed since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first gripped the country, reports Kalibri Labs. Though last year was the worst on record for hotel business performance, the reason behind the change in the metrics is different than in previous economic crises. The shuttering of hotels as well as government restrictions on travel are skewing national averages in key performance indicators, including average daily rate, experts say. For the most part, hoteliers have been smart about holding rate as much as possible in contrast to the “race to the bottom” seen in past economic crises. Episode 314 explores what is truly impacting hotel rate during the coronavirus pandemic. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
March 10, 2021
Spring breaks will be shortened or reduced as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact travel and tourism. Many schools and colleges are skipping the annual rite to party. But that doesn’t mean hotels have to give up trying to attract guests this season. Staycations are increasing as people tired of being cooped up seek a respite close to home. In this report, Long Live Lodging explores the origin and evolution of the staycation and how hotels can capitalize on people’s desire to get away from it all, even if it’s just for one or two nights. This report is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
March 3, 2021
A year ago, Darshan Patel, CEO of Hotel Investment Group in San Diego, California, was one of the first hoteliers in the U.S. to step up and offer properties to overwhelmed hospitals seeking places to care for COVID and non-COVID patients as well as vulnerable populations. As the crisis eases and Hotel Investment Group works to return the hotels to business, Patel is negotiating with local governments to pay for the wear and tear on the properties. Patel is not alone as many hoteliers are unexpectedly dealing with problems that state and local governments’ urgent decisions have created, including property damage, increased costs and eviction bans. This report is the second in a two-part series examining the pros and cons of opening hotels to alternative uses during the pandemic. It is part of Long Live Lodging’s special coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
February 24, 2021
Dhruv Patel, president of Ridgemont Hospitality, in October shared a bittersweet moment with his parents, Pravin and Sima Patel, when the family business sold the first motel that Pravin had built from the ground up more than 30 years ago. But they rest assured knowing it was the right decision because the 22-room property is being converted into affordable housing for military veterans at risk of homelessness. The transaction is among hundreds taking place across the U.S. as state and local governments work with non-profit agencies to create affordable housing solutions for vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Episode 310 Long Live Lodging reports on the financial and legal aspects of what it takes to convert a hotel into long-term housing. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s special coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.
February 17, 2021
308 | From Guests’ Mouths to Managers’ Ears: J.D. Power study reveals what satisfies hotel customers in COVID-19 age
Crestline Hotels & Resorts, a third-party management company in Fairfax, Virginia, recently celebrated its first-place position in J.D. Power’s inaugural Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark. Long Live Lodging features Aaron Olson, senior vice president of operations at Crestline, and Andrea Stokes, who led the benchmark study at J.D. Power. They share best practices hotel managers are implementing to keep guest satisfaction at an all-time high, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.