The entire editorial staff just returned from the 38th Annual New York University International Hospitality Investment Conference—fondly referred to simply as NYU—and busily started working on coverage of the event for this issue (see our cover story, page 1). There were quite a few HB on the Scene reports posted immediately online at hotelbusiness.com and, simultaneously, distributed through our digital newsletter—mostly about specific sessions and company news announcements. It’s our print coverage, however, that takes a more macro-view of the highly anticipated and well-attended event each June. Our report says it all right in the headline: “Braking but bullish.” The takeaway, we determined, is that the hotel industry is still doing just fine—in fact, by most accounts, better than fine—even with some signs of slowing earlier in the year.
There was much discussion, as predicted, about the various factors that might have a more negative impact on our business—disrupters, increased supply and global travel concerns—and considerable discussion, both on the stage and in the hallways, about the current political landscape and its outcome in a mere five months. As a matter of fact, the second-day luncheon featured an in-depth interview with Jonathan Karl, chief White House correspondent, ABC News, conducted by Conference Chair Jonathan Tisch, in which Karl candidly shared his perspective on the two presumptive nominees and what having each as The Leader of the Free World could mean not only for the American people, but the lodging industry.
But with all of the question marks that always exist when it comes to navigating current conditions and forecasting future ones—i.e. the all-too-common inning analogy—and calls to action to advocate for the hospitality industry, one thing seemed overwhelming clear: the reminder that with all of the concerns and considerations, the hotel business is experiencing opportunity that is at an all-time high. Or, as top hotel brand CEOs said over and over again at the conference, the Golden Age of Travel is not so nostalgic after all… it’s actually today. Tourism is on the rise, the middle class is on the rise, and technology, too. And, moreover, the Millennial mindset, whether it belongs to the true “next-genners” or the active Boomers, has made the desire to travel and experience places and cultures explode. And that’s worth its weight in gold, I’d say, for the hospitality industry.