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NYU Hotel Investor Conference To Spotlight International Growth

By Barbara DeLollis

Starting on June 2, New York City will be abuzz with hotel talk.

That’s because the CEOs of many of the world’s best-known hotel chains, along with owners, developers and financiers, will descend on the Big Apple for the 35th annual New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.

The two-day event is considered one of the important hotel investment conferences in the USA and will take place at the Marriott Marquis in the heart of bustling Times Square. The high-level crowd attracts key decision makers who help create new hotel rooms around world – and operate them with an eye on profits.

To give you an idea of how high-level an audience this is, the kick-off panel consists of the CEOs of well-known hospitality companies such as Hilton Worldwide (Doubletree by Hilton, for example), Carlson (Radisson Blu) and Choice Hotels International (Sleep Inn).

The development of new hotels is a primary focus at this conference. Since 2009, the mood’s been clouded by both the recession and the financial meltdown, which wiped away financing for many new hotel projects.

Will optimism rule this year? To find out, I checked in with Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of NYU’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.

He expects the mood will still be “mixed,” but “much more positive than negative.”

International-related growth – both in terms of new hotels and new travelers – is helping fuel optimism among U.S. companies such as Hilton Worldwide and Wyndham. They’re all scrambling to plant their flags in countries such as China, India, Russia, Brazil and Turkey.

The hot topics expected this year? Hanson anticipates these five will grab the most attention:

· Hotel chain expansion in China and India

· International tourism continues to grow

· Disaster preparedness and response

· The cost of health care and regulation

· Growth in the number of new construction starts of hotel rooms

ReviewPro CEO RJ Friedlander and I will be attending the conference this year. Friedlander expects industry leaders will also be talking about using online reputation data to help guide key investment decisions, ranging from the potential acquisition of a group of hotels to the size and scope of an individual property’s renovation.

“Today, savvy investors realize that a hotel’s reputation with consumers has a direct and ongoing impact on future revenue,” Friedlander says. “That’s why competitive online feedback analysis is becoming a routine part of the due diligence process for hotel investors.”

I’ll be moderating a panel on Tuesday (11:45 am to 12:45 pm, 4th Floor in the Wilder Room) about how the hotel industry is catering to travelers’ growing appetite for health and wellness-oriented options.

We’d welcome the chance to say hello. Just email barb@reviewpro.com or call/text 240.462.2451 to schedule a time.