LODGING LEADERS

Straight Talk About Hot Trends

An award-winning weekly podcast that examines trends and issues impacting the hospitality industry, shared through engaging stories told by co-hosts Jon Albano and Judy Maxwell, and amplified by interviews with experts and other thought leaders.

  • 317 | Together Again: U.S. hotel industry begins to see return of small meetings
    CORONAVIRUS
    April 14, 2021

    317 | Together Again: U.S. hotel industry begins to see return of small meetings

    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.

  • 316 | Pandemic Trailblazer: Hunter Hotel Investment Conference leads lodging industry’s 2021 event circuit
    CORONAVIRUS
    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.

  • 315 | COVID Comp Sets: The pandemic has dramatically altered hotels’ playing fields
    LODGING LEADERS
    March 31, 2021

    315 | COVID Comp Sets: The pandemic has dramatically altered hotels’ playing fields

    The coronavirus crisis has dramatically altered the traditional competitive set most hotels use to benchmark their business performance. During the pandemic, properties have reduced services; they’ve closed either permanently or temporarily; or they’ve transitioned to alternative uses by contracting out to essential travelers or social agencies in search of housing. Episode 315 explores the genesis of the hotel industry comp set and how the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the strategic business tool. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

  • 314 | No Discounts Available: Smart rate management keeps hotels afloat amid COVID-19 storm
    CORONAVIRUS
    March 24, 2021

    314 | No Discounts Available: Smart rate management keeps hotels afloat amid COVID-19 storm

    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.

  • 313 | Staging a Comeback: Hospitality leader Ron Vlasic helps industry build post-pandemic revival
    LODGING LEADERS
    March 17, 2021

    313 | Staging a Comeback: Hospitality leader Ron Vlasic helps industry build post-pandemic revival

    Ron Vlasic has held several leadership roles over the course of his 30 years in the hospitality industry. While serving as COO at Hostmark Hospitality Group, the Chicago native has answered the call to help the U.S. travel and tourism industry recover from the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. For the next two years, he will serve on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In an interview with Long Live Lodging, Vlasic tells the story of his career journey and what it will take to revive the industry post-pandemic. This feature story introduces our Lodging Luminaries program.

  • 312 | Spring Breaks for Homebodies: Staycations are a growing trend amid the coronavirus pandemic
    CORONAVIRUS
    March 10, 2021

    312 | Spring Breaks for Homebodies: Staycations are a growing trend amid the coronavirus pandemic

    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.

  • 311 | Shelters From the Norm: Hotels used for hospitals and housing face unexpected problems
    CORONAVIRUS
    March 3, 2021

    311 | Shelters From the Norm: Hotels used for hospitals and housing face unexpected problems

    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.

  • 310 | Hotels Convert to Housing: Federal COVID-19-relief funds fuel transactions
    CORONAVIRUS
    February 24, 2021

    310 | Hotels Convert to Housing: Federal COVID-19-relief funds fuel transactions

    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.

  • 309 | ‘Stay the Course’: Kathleen Bertrand recalls hospitality career focused on growth through diversity
    BLACK HISTORY MONTH
    February 22, 2021

    309 | ‘Stay the Course’: Kathleen Bertrand recalls hospitality career focused on growth through diversity

    Kathleen Bertrand believes Atlanta is a city where dreams can come true. A jazz recording artist, she served at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau for more than 30 years, finding new ways to promote to the world the best things about the city she calls a “melting pot” of races and cultures. In Episode 309 of Lodging Leaders podcast Bertrand gets vocal and tells her story of rising through the ranks as one of the few Black women in leadership in the tourism industry. This session is part of Long Live Lodging’s special report commemorating Black History Month and the hospitality industry’s impact on the Civil Rights Movement.

  • 308 | From Guests’ Mouths to Managers’ Ears: J.D. Power study reveals what satisfies hotel customers in COVID-19 age
    CORONAVIRUS
    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.

  • 307 | ‘A National Story’: Black travel in America evolved with the Civil Rights Movement
    BLACK HISTORY MONTH
    February 15, 2021

    307 | ‘A National Story’: Black travel in America evolved with the Civil Rights Movement

    Noelle Trent is director of interpretation, collections and education at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. The museum is in the historic Lorraine Motel, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The venue is hosting the Smithsonian Institution’s The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition, which tells the history of Black travel in mid-20th-century America. In this report, Long Live Lodging explores how African Americans travelers learned to safely navigate the nation’s highways and byways during the age of segregation. We also feature the Lorraine Motel and its enduring significance to racial equality in America.

  • 306 | Calculated Risks: Catastrophic 2020 means higher insurance costs for hotels
    CORONAVIRUS
    February 10, 2021

    306 | Calculated Risks: Catastrophic 2020 means higher insurance costs for hotels

    Ben Seidel is founder, president and chief executive of Real Hospitality Group, a third-party manager with a portfolio of more than 100 hotels. Like most owners and managers, Seidel and his team view the coronavirus pandemic as the biggest risk facing hotel performance but acknowledge that other threats also loom large. The number and severity of climate-related catastrophes in the U.S. broke a record in 2020. As a result, Seidel has seen property insurance costs dramatically increase for 2021. Long Live Lodging explores how changes in commercial insurance coverage is affecting the hotel industry. This report is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

  • 305 | ‘Traveling on Hospitality’: Andrew Young remembers life on the road toward civil rights
    BLACK HISTORY MONTH
    February 8, 2021

    305 | ‘Traveling on Hospitality’: Andrew Young remembers life on the road toward civil rights

    Andrew J. Young Jr. became a civil rights activist 65 years ago, starting as a Baptist minister in Georgia. For more than a decade he traveled alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in pursuit of racial equality in America. Young, 88, has a storied career of public service. He served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a U.S. congressman and mayor of Atlanta. In this special report, Young shares his remembrances of hoteliers and private homeowners showing hospitality to civil rights workers in mid-century America. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s special project commemorating Black History Month and how the hospitality industry impacted the Civil Rights Movement.

  • 304 | ‘This is Huge’: Choice Hotels makes history with Black-owned multi-unit deal
    BLACK HISTORY MONTH
    February 3, 2021

    304 | ‘This is Huge’: Choice Hotels makes history with Black-owned multi-unit deal

    As a former analyst with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fred Washington knows commercial real estate development, if done with the community in mind, can change residents’ quality of life. Washington wants to do the same thing with the six hotels he’s building in Florida. A new hotel investor, Washington recently made history when he signed Choice Hotels International’s first minority-led multi-unit franchise development deal. This report kicks off Long Live Lodging’s special series commemorating Black History Month when we explore the impact the hospitality industry has had on the Civil Rights Movement. This report also is part of our ongoing coverage of the state of diversity, inclusion and equality in hospitality leadership.

  • 303 | Hotel Tech Goes Viral: COVID pandemic forces industry to modernize operations
    CORONAVIRUS
    January 27, 2021

    303 | Hotel Tech Goes Viral: COVID pandemic forces industry to modernize operations

    The coronavirus pandemic is forcing hoteliers to deploy new technology to run more cost-efficient businesses and to ensure customers that properties are safe by providing such services as contactless check in and mobile key. Long Live Lodging explores how the COVID-19 outbreak has invigorated hotels’ adoption of tech solutions and looks at what types of products owners and operators are investing in during the coronavirus crisis and for the post-pandemic era. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

  • 302 | Value Judgment: Hotel asset pricing in COVID-19 age is different from previous recessions
    CORONAVIRUS
    January 20, 2021

    302 | Value Judgment: Hotel asset pricing in COVID-19 age is different from previous recessions

    Hotel appraisers and brokers expect distressed assets to come to market as the pandemic recession continues into 2021. Analysts say billions of dollars in private equity are waiting in the wings to acquire hotels underperforming as a result of the coronavirus crisis. But pricing will be different than in previous economic downturns. While a transaction may be distressed, it will not necessarily reflect distress pricing,” said Daniel Lesser of LW Hospitality Advisors. Long Live Lodging explores the state of hotel values as well as what may lie ahead with regard to transactions in 2021 as the spread of COVID-19 continues to stifle lodging performance. This report is part of our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

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