As any investor will tell you business ventures come with associated risks. Obtaining funds, wrangling through government red tape and dealing with the ebb and flow of different economic cycles tests the mettle of even the strongest business person. Yet, at the end of the day, investment is necessary if business and cities are to survive and thrive.
When it comes to hotel investment, the challenges are significant. In fact, as several of this month’s investment stories — written to coincide with this month’s Canadian Hotel Investment Conference — illustrate, it takes a great deal of ingenuity and imagination to create and build a hotel from the ground up. It also takes a great deal of confidence and chutzpah to generate the funds required to undertake a mammoth project, get it off the ground and sustain it. And let’s not forget that hotels are more than just places to put heads in beds, they’re part of a broader community as well as an important generator of jobs and contributor to the government’s tax base.
“If we expect to be the beneficiary of increased travel to our cities, and if we expect luxury properties to succeed, then we need to effectively market this country to the rest of the world in a way that resonates and builds excitement about our destinations.”
Last month, real-estate mogul Donald Trump trekked north to officially open his eponymous hotel in the epicentre of Canada’s financial district. Though Trump doesn’t own the hotel, his marquee name, the owners hope, is the springboard to what will be a successful venture. As the first Trump hotel in Canada, and only the second outside the U.S., there was much hype surrounding the opening. Of course, it also marks the second of four luxury products recently opened in the Toronto market. Such activity speaks volumes about the confidence investors have in the Canadian economy, and it bodes well for the jobs it creates and the increased profile it gives the city and the country.
But, just as investors put their money on the line to help build our cities, other stakeholders must also step up to ensure we can deliver on guest expectations and create the experiences world travellers expect. For years we’ve speculated about whether Toronto can sustain the level of luxury it’s creating. Well, over the course of the next few years, we will certainly find out. But one thing remains certain: if we expect to be the beneficiary of increased travel to our cities, and if we expect luxury properties to succeed, then we need to effectively market this country to the rest of the world in a way that resonates and builds excitement about our destinations. Anything less just won’t do.
May 2012 Investment Issue Features