Hunter Hotel Conference 2024 Recap

Hunter Hotel Conference 2024 Recap

If you’re planning a hotel project, you want your design and procurement consultants to know what’s happening within the industry.

When we do our homework and connect with others in the hospitality marketplace, we can gain insights that help us better understand the challenges our clients face.

The Innvision team attends premier industry events such as the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference each year, which “welcomes anyone involved in the financing, management, and development of hotels,” including franchisors/franchisees, owners, management companies, lenders, consultants, designers, lawyers, and more. In this post, you’ll learn our highlights from the event and what we plan to bring back to our clients.

What We Learned

The 35th Hunter Hotel Investment Conference held in March had panels of industry experts who shared a wealth of information regarding the availability of capital, stats on leisure and business travelers, and which direction the hotel brands are taking with both new builds and renovations. It is clear that while lending, labor, and supply chain obstacles still exist, the hotel industry has recovered from the pandemic by many important measures.

Here are some other key takeaways from the Hunter Hotel Conference:

  1. Increased interest rates are making it challenging to secure funding for PIP renovations and new construction, and there are higher construction costs overall. However, developers are still building hotels and broker transactions in 2024 are happening at a faster pace than in 2023. Furthermore, the hotel broker panel expected transactions to rise in the second half of 2024.
  2. Hospitality is getting more attention and capital from lenders than most other commercial real estate sectors. One broker referred to hospitality as “the belle of the ball.”
  3. Over the last four years, there have been more first-time hotel buyers than ever before.
  4. If you can get capital, now could be a great time to buy a hotel at a discount to replacement value and with fewer buyers competing for each deal.
  5. Room demand has recovered significantly since the pandemic, but is still down slightly relative to 2019 (CoStar).
  6. CBRE forecasts 3% 2024 RevPAR growth, citing that consumers have discretionary income with employment staying strong and wage growth outpacing inflation.
  7. CoStar noted that people are planning vacations, more so than in 2019. Inflation-adjusted leisure spending was up 9% in 2023 and should grow 15% in 2024 and 18% in 2025.
  8. The return of group and business travelers is a compelling storyline. Group meetings are almost back to 2019 levels, though business travel won’t fully recover until after 2025 (CoStar).

Many industry experts at Hunter talked about being bullish on hospitality. But we heard hoteliers lament how capital is tougher and more expensive now, and hotel projects take longer and cost more than they did in 2019. Our advice to clients is this: invest in your assets now so you can stand out in your submarkets. Waiting until industry tailwinds return will often mean getting in line behind your competition. Find hands-on partners such as Innvision who can save you time and headaches during projects to help you open/re-open your hotel doors without costly delays and other nasty surprises.

Innvision at the Hunter Hotel Conference

When we attend the Hunter Hotel Conference, we are most excited about meeting the attendees and growing our business relationships, including those with architects, brands, developers, general contractors, hotel management groups, owners, and others who need design and procurement help with new builds and PIP renovations. Innvision held an appreciation cocktail reception with both prospective and existing clients to connect, collaborate, and celebrate our 20th anniversary.

We’re excited to cultivate our new and existing relationships from the Hunter Hotel Conference, and to use what we’ve learned to benefit our clients. If you’re ready to start your hotel project, contact us today!