As most operators know all too well, running a hotel is all about the details. From the cleanliness of the room to ease of check-in, to the amenities offered — all it takes is one little slip-up to threaten the entire guest experience, especially in these days of social media, where a negative review can go viral in seconds, ultimately thwarting the efforts of the entire team. Talk about pressure.
It’s no different when it comes to hotel investment. Every hotel deal is the painstaking sum of its various parts, which includes location, timing and due diligence. Is it any wonder it takes months and sometimes years for buyers and sellers to consummate a deal?
Still, with all its tensions and challenges, hotel investment is alive and well in Canada. According to the “2015 Canadian Hotel Investment Report” released by Colliers International Hotels last month, “Canada’s lodging investment market continued its upward trajectory in 2014 with deal volume reaching $1.46 billion, marking the fourth-consecutive year hotel investment in the country has surpassed the $1-billion mark.”
Even with the oil challenges in Alberta, and the geopolitical tensions that plague almost every corner of the world, hotels are being developed, acquired and built as brands are constantly launched, developed and expanded. In fact, it’s easy to question whether we are living at a time of extreme brand saturation. Are there, in fact, too many brands? That was one of many questions explored when Hotelier and Starwood Hotels & Resorts hosted the annual Hotel Investment Roundtable recently at The Westin Grand in Vancouver (see story on p. 8).
As developers work hard to build new hotels, operators struggle to compete for an increasingly smaller piece of the pie, working more creatively than ever to capture today’s demanding customer. Some are launching new brands — everything from lifestyle boutiques to eco-friendly properties to hotels that focus solely on fitness. Others are trying to draw customers in by focusing on innovation or unique amenities. Of course, technology is now part of today’s standard amenity package and an important tool in making the guest experience seamless. As consumers, we have never had more choice and more information at our fingertips. But, through all the frenzied activity that defines today’s landscape, operators cannot afford to lose sight of one important factor — the guest experience.
Undeniably, branding is an important driver in determining where today’s guests want to lay their heads. But, at the end of the day, big or small, branded or independent, success is about more than what you’re promising, it’s all about what you’re delivering.