hunter hotel conference 2019 key takeawaysEvery year, the Hunter Hotel Conference features sessions that share insights on the current state of the hospitality industry and what hotel owners and investors can expect to see in the future. We recently attended the 31st annual event and are eager to share what we gathered from the three-day conference:

Industry Setbacks

Global travel grew in 2018 while international visitors to the United States shrank, so the U.S. hospitality industry has been losing share. The primary reason for this dip is the fact that the U.S. dollar is getting stronger. Tariff increases and government shutdowns also hurt hotel business across the country. Other challenges we currently face include high labor costs and turnover rates, while low unemployment and difficult talent sourcing have led to a glut – over one million – of unfilled hospitality positions.

Boutique is Bigger Than Ever

Boutique hotels are growing at a faster rate than extended-stay properties, with both soft brands and lifestyle brands booming. The importance of experiential concepts has played a vital role in this, as the unique nature of boutique hotels allows even new properties to flourish as they come into a seemingly saturated market.

When building a boutique hotel, it’s important to find a niche and differentiate yourself. Food and beverage can be a significant distinguishing factor, with the emphasis on the beverage. Today’s guests typically drop by hotel restaurants for a drink more so than for a meal.

Changes for Full-Service

Full-service brands are experiencing an evolution with a recent shift from mega-sized properties of 500-1000 rooms to smaller ones with between 150-300 rooms. This change opens up more opportunities for new-build, conversion, and adaptive reuse properties and makes full-service properties a more viable proposition in smaller markets.

Other Takeaways

With so many sessions packed with information, it would be impossible to sum up everything we learned at this year’s Hunter Hotel Conference. Here are some highlights we’d be remiss not to mention:

  • Since 2010, U.S. consumers’ spending on lodging has increased by 44%.
  • Airbnb is becoming a channel and less of a competitive threat.
  • Economic growth is moderating around the world, with the U.S. outpacing other G7 developed economies. The domestic hotel market is showing signs of stable, albeit slow growth.

While there are plenty of challenges to overcome in 2019’s hotel market, there have also been exciting industry changes and growth. Innvision Hospitality looks forward to continuing to expand our industry knowledge to offer our clients the best FF&E procurement services available. Reach out today to see how we can help your property reach its full potential.