The COVID-19 crisis has practically paralyzed the engines that drive the U.S. economy, including the lodging industry. One of the cogs that turn the wheel is the hotel franchising system. While many hotel franchisees have long been dissatisfied with the power franchisers exert over their businesses, the coronavirus crisis has exposed even greater levels of frustration. Hotel companies are waiving or reducing fees and suspending brand standard reviews for months, but many owners say it’s not enough as they face a true financial meltdown. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s series on the state of hotel franchising. It is also part of a special report on the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hotel industry.
Lodging Econometrics has tracked the hotel industry since 1998. Its global database includes new-hotel pipelines as well as renovations and brand conversions. Hotel franchisers once eager to launch new brands are focused on converting existing hotels because it’s a faster way to recover revenue lost to the COVID-19 pandemic than through new construction. In Episode 346, Lodging Leaders explores the increasing number of conversions in the U.S. hotel industry and what owners and operators need to consider before repositioning an asset.
In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., financiers anticipated a swell of distressed hotel businesses. Some raised rescue funds to respond to what they thought was a pending crisis. Though there are financial rescues taking place, the level of such activity is far below what industry advisers and fund managers expected. Commercial real estate investors positioned to act in the early days of the pandemic held off and are now just beginning to unleash their cash hoards totaling billions of dollars. Episode 345 of Lodging Leaders podcast explores the state of capital investment in the hotel industry.