Hotel Industry Overview: Summer 2011


Hotel Industry Overview: Summer 2011

We are pleased to provide an update of our hotel industry coverage. As markets have stabilized and patterns have settled in, we will be doing this on a quarterly rather than a monthly basis going forward unless there are urgent developments that need to be reported on.


Summary of Key Performance Indicators

The industry recovery has continued over the past several months despite signs of weakness in the overall US economy. RevPAR gains have been maintained despite increasingly more difficult year-over-year comps. This is illustrated by the fact that for June and July, weekly year over year growth has generally been in only the 5 to 6% range, compared to the 8-10% numbers we saw through May. However, more of the growth is coming in rate as opposed to occupancy. Upper-upscale chains such as Marriott and Hilton, as well as suburban and urban hotels continue to lag some of the other market segments, as do the big Eastern cities, mostly because they were ahead of the curve on the upswing last year and have tougher comps. Other segments and markets, including luxury, resort and West Coast locations are still playing catch-up, and have racked up some pretty impressive growth numbers so far this year.


Real strength is observed in Florida, where Orlando in particular has absorbed significant supply growth and still managed to register big gains in both rates and occupancy. Universal Studio’s new Harry Potter attraction deserves a lot of the credit for this. Hawaii, at least Oahu, also seems to be doing very well on the STR numbers despite anxieties caused by the Japanese earthquake and high airfares, but anecdotally there has been significant softening on the outer islands in recent weeks.


There is fundamental weakness, however, in Washington DC and other government-dependent markets (e.g. Norfolk VA and smaller state capitals), for the short term, as government-related business is down due to uncertainties as to the outcome of the deficit-cutting and debt ceiling measures.


2nd Quarter YTD (thru 7/17/11)
Industry Total 3.5% 4.5% 8.1% 3.2% 4.7% 8.0%
Luxury 6.2% 4.9% 11.4% 6.1% 5.4% 11.8%
Upper Upscale 3.7% 2.5% 6.3% 3.8% 2.9% 6.9%
Resort 5.2% 4.7% 10.2% 4.5% 5.5% 10.3%
Key Markets
NY 8.5% (1.1%) 7.3% 6.4% (0.9%) 5.5%
Boston 4.2% 3.2% 7.6% 4.2% 2.8% 7.2%
DC 1.3% (0.9%) 0.4% 2.0% (0.5%) 1.5%
Chicago 6.5% 3.1% 9.9% 5.6% 4.9% 11.1%
New Orleans 6.0% 3.7% 9.9% 7.3% 4.0% 13.8%
Orlando 5.4% 7.5% 13.3% 5.2% 7.5% 13.3%
Miami 9.4% 9.8% 20.1% 5.3% 7.5% 13.5%
Phoenix 0.9% 4.8% 5.7% 2.8% 7.5% 10.6%
LA 4.3% 6.0% 10.6% 6.2% 6.3% 13.1%
SF 13.6% 5.3% 19.6% 13.5% 5.9% 20.4%

Source: Smith Travel Research, Raymond James US Research


The performance of major brands that are operated by publicly traded hotel companies reinforce these trends. Generally, higher scale and more urban-oriented brands have achieved better performance. It has not gone unnoticed that Marriott brands have been lagging the overall market for the past year or so. Part of this is due to the fact that they started to recover earlier and thus have tougher comparisons, but it is also true that their stable of brands is considered very conservative (less of that urban “edge”) than their competitors, particularly Starwood and Hyatt.


Q2 2011 Rolling 4 Quarters
Marriott (full service) 4.1% 1.2% 5.4% 3.9% 1.4% 5.4%
Ritz-Carlton 4.8% 5.4% 10.6% 3.4% 5.3% 8.9%
Sheraton 3.5% 3.3% 7.0% 3.1% 5.9% 9.3%
Westin 4.9% 5.1% 10.2% 3.6% 5.4% 9.2%
Luxury Collection 6.8% 8.5% 15.8% 5.6% 8.1% 14.3%
W 7.4% 5.8% 13.6% 6.9% 7.5% 15.1%
Le Meridien 6.6% 6.1% 13.0% 9.1% 4.6% 14.1%

Source: Company earnings releases Outlook


There are some mixed signals on the overall outlook. On one hand, new supply growth continues at a very low pace of 0.8% YTD, as compared to a 5.8% annual rate on demand growth, however as will be discussed below, the pipeline is building, especially in certain markets. Gasoline and jet fuel prices are still relatively high, which has both direct and indirect impacts on travel patterns, but they appear to be stable for now. On the other hand, persistent weakness in the job and housing markets have dampened consumer confidence, and GDP growth coming out of the recession seems to have stalled; preliminary estimates of 2nd quarter growth are in the 1 – 2 % range, which is far below typical recovery levels.


Industry pundits PKF, Smith Travel Research and others have tempered their 2011 forecasts. PKF is currently predicting 6.9% RevPAR growth for the year (down from 7.1% three months ago), about 1/3 from rate and the balance in occupancy. For 2012, PKF is looking for 8.7%, also down a couple of tenths, however more of the growth (over half) is expected to come from ADR improvement.


STR’s current RevPAR forecast for 2011 is 6.1%, and 8.6% for 2012, again with growth coming largely from occupancy this year and rate next year, but those have not been updated since February. A new set of forecasts is expected to be released in early August at Smith Travel’s Data Conference.


Our view is that hotel operators are anxious to drive rate, but they are still a little nervous because no one wants to be the first in their market to raise prices; they would rather follow than lead. Although demand in general is up, it is still spotty on the group side in the short term (although 2012 is looking very strong in some markets), which makes compression more difficult. The other factor is price sensitivity, as on the business side, corporations are still putting pressure on hotels to keep rates steady, and leisure customers are increasingly turning to OTA’s (online travel agencies) to seek out the best deals. It is now more important than ever for hotels to employ sophisticated revenue management strategies to maximize yields, and increasing penetration of social networks beyond the basic Facebook/Twitter paradigms will be a key to this.



The transaction pace continues at dizzying levels. The overall economic uncertainty and supposed lack of debt capital does not seem to be affecting asset pricing, which appears to be defying gravity especially for public company acquisitions in major markets. Here is a sample of key transactions over the past several months:


Date Hotel Location Price ($MM) # Keys Price/Key Buyer
Mar ’11 Viceroy Santa Monica CA $80.1 162 $494K LaSalle
Mar ’11 Hilton Bayfront San Diego 475.0 1,190 399 Sunstone
Mar ’11 Royal Palm Miami 130.0 409 318 Undisclosed
Mar ’11 W Hotel Boston 89.5 235 381 Pebblebrook
Apr ’11 Morgans Hotel New York 52.7 113 466 FelCor
Apr ’11 Westin Gaslamp San Diego 133.0 450 296 Pebblebrook
Apr ’11 Hotel Monaco Seattle 51.2 189 271 Pebblebrook
Apr ’11 Mondrian Los Angeles 137.0 237 578 Pebblebrook
May ’11 W City Center Chicago 128.8 368 350 Chesapeake
May ’11 Embassy Suites Phoenix 19.0 224 85 Sunstone
May ’11 St. Regis Washington 100.0 193 518 Westbrook
May ’11 New York Palace New York 400.0 899 444 Northwood
May ’11 JW Marriott Denver 72.6 196 370 Diamondrock
May ’11 Montelucia Phoenix 111.7 262 426 KSL
May ’11 Courtyard Westside Los Angeles 47.5 260 183 Hersha
May ’11 Royalton New York 87.3 169 517 FelCor
May ’11 Sheraton National Washington burbs 54.2 417 130 HEI
May ’11 Hilton Garden Inn Chicago (O’Hare) 38.0 253 150 Apple REIT
May ’11 Se Hotel San Diego 49.0 184 266 Kimpton
May ’11 Westin Las Fuentes Los Angeles 92.0 350 263 HEI
May ’11 Radisson Lexington New York 335.0 702 471 Diamondrock
Jun ’11 Algonquin New York 76.0 174 437 Cornerstone
Jun ’11 Park Central Hotel New York 405.5 934 434 LaSalle
Jun ’11 Yotel New York 315.0 669 470 Kuwait RE
Jun ’11 Hotel Monaco Baltimore 33.0 202 163 Kimpton
Jun ’11 Red Lion 5th Ave Seattle 71.0 297 239 Lowe
Jun ’11 Hotel Indigo San Diego 55.5 210 264 Chesapeake
Jun ’11 Denihan portfolio New York 910.0 1,638 556 Pebblebrook
Jun ’11 Four Points Times Sq. New York 112.0 244 459 Gehr Develop
Jun ’11 Courtyard Navy Yard Washington 68.0 204 333 Chesapeake
Jun ’11 Embassy Suites Chicago 18.0 237 76 Montclair
Jun ’11 Hyatt Union Square New York 104.1 175 595 Hersha
Jul ’11 Summerfield/Sierra/ AVIA Portfolio (24 properties) Various 802.0 3527 227 Hyatt
Jul ’11 Grand Hyatt Washington DC 442.0 888 498 Host
Jul ’11 Innkeepers Portfolio (5 properties) Various 195.0 764 255 Chatham
Jul ’11 Hyatt Place/Summerfield Portfolio (8 hotels) Various 110.0 1092 101 Hyatt/ Noble JV
Jul ’11 W Diamond Head Honolulu 18.5 51 363 Nobukca
Jul ’11 Hilton Garden Inns (2) Omaha/PHX 45.5 300 152 Apple REIT
Jul ’11 Hotel Adaigio San Francisco 42.3 171 247 Chesapeake
Jul ’11 Courtyard Waikiki Honolulu 85.0 401 212 Rockpoint
Jul ’11 Marriott La Jolla San Diego 70.9 360 197 HEI


Note- these are only the highlights of transactions for full service hotels and resorts in major US markets. There were many more deals reported for international properties, gaming assets, small market and limited service properties. According to hotel broker Jones Lang LaSalle, total transactions in the Americas are expected to top $16 Billion this year, up from their previous forecast of $13 Billion. Transaction volume is up 187% year to date, but much of it was driven by some of the pricier New York deals.


Public Company News

IPO, Financing, Mergers and Acquisitions

  • In early June, RLJ executed an IPO that raised $568MM including the green shoe. Share price has declined slightly (from $18 to about $17.50) since the offering. They also completed a $300MM non-secured revolver. RLJ owns approximately 140 hotels, mostly in the select service category, in many major urban markets.
  • Ashford Hotel Trust, a major REIT, had a follow-on equity offering of 7 million shares, which raised about $100MM, which will be used to pay down debt and for future acquisitions
  • Another large REIT, Strategic Hotels and Resorts, completed a $300MM senior credit facility, underwritten by Deutsche Bank. The facility is secured by a portfolio of Ritz-Carlton hotels, and is priced on a grid with rates 275-375 over LIBOR. It matures in three years.
  • Chesapeake Lodging (REIT), which has been very active on the acquisition front (see above), has completed a number of financing transactions, including a $130MM three year term loan secured by hotels in San Francisco and Chicago (rate was fixed via swaps at 4.65%) and a $95MM five year fixed rate loan on the Hyatt Boston at 5% w/30 year amortization.
  • Chatham Lodging Trust acquired an interest in 67 limited service properties formerly owned by Innkeepers USA Trust (which was affiliated with Chatham’s principals) in a bankruptcy auction.
  • Felcor, another REIT actively acquiring properties, sold $575MM of 6.75% senior notes in June. In addition to financing acquisitions, the proceeds were also used to retire more expensive (9-10%) corporate debt obligations. They also had a $159MM equity offering in April.
  • Hyatt repurchased approximately $400MM of Class B stock from the Pritzker family in May, continuing the process of liquidating the founding family’s holdings.
  • Hospitality Properties Trust renegotiated lease/management agreements on 71 hotels with Marriott, which extends them through 2025 (with future options) and also provides for certain guarantees and commitments for capital spending. They also renegotiated their IHG leases; this provided for the release and possible sale of 42 hotels.
  • Host Hotels raised about $500MM through a privately placed sale of senior debt, at a 5.875% coupon due in 2019; the proceeds were used to retire more expensive debt as well as financing some of their recent acquisitions and providing capital for future expansion
  • Hersha Hotels, yet another active acquirer, issued $100MM of 8%-yielding preferred stock.
  • La Salle REIT raised about $200MM in late April from a common stock offering pursuant to its shelf registration. Most of this was used in connection with their $405MM purchase of the Park Central hotel in Manhattan in June
  • The Pebblebrook REIT amended and restated its unsecured credit facility which will now provide $200MM with a three year term and an option for a fourth year as well as an accordion feature to expand it to $400MM. Interest is the greater of 7% or 10 year Treasuries plus 300 bp. There were also other provisions relating to which properties it may include in its borrowing base for this facility.



A summary of Q2 earnings for the major companies that have reported as of July 28 is as follows:


Company Date Reported Reported EPS* Consensus EPS* RevPAR Guidance for 2011
Starwood July 28 0.50 0.46 7-9% (unch.)
Marriott July 13 0.37 0.37 5.5-7.25% (lowered)
Host Hotels July 21 0.31 0.29 6-7.5% (lowered)
La Salle July 20 0.55 0.56 6-8% (unch.)
Wyndham July 27 0.64 0.56 6-8% (raised)
Diamondrock July 25 0.15 0.17 6-8% (unch.)

*Generally excludes unusual items; figures are for FFO on REITS


Again, a mixed bag. Starwood Host and Wyndham had solid beats. Marriott was viewed as a disappointment, and LaSalle and Diamondrock also missed their numbers, but those were primarily due to ramp-up on new acquisitions. Our view is that the REIT’s who are actively acquiring properties, especially Pebblebrook and Chesapeake, will see pressure on their EBITDA/earnings as they based their (high) purchase prices more on future performance than how those hotels are actually doing.


Stock Performance

As shown in the table (below), most hotel stocks have been trending sharply downwards; most of the damage was done in the May-June period, which is when it generally became clear that economic growth in 2011 was going to be below expectations. Hotel stocks tend to be a leading indicator, and they had run up quite a bit in the last quarter of 2010 and the first couple of months in 2011. Choice was particularly hard hit because it plays in the low-end segment which is most sensitive to gas prices, and Marriott was slammed because of a combination of its lagging growth compared to its peers and the spin off of its timeshare units, which was not favorably viewed by the Street. The only large cap hotel stock to buck the trend was HPT, which was driven in large part by its recent renegotiation of its lease terms with major operators (see above). By comparison, the Dow is up 6% for the year and is flat since April 1.


Publicly traded hotel company stock performance (US based companies with market capitalization in excess of $1Bn)


Company Type Primary Segment (s) Price as of 7/28/11 Change Since 4/1/11 Change Since 12/31/10
Marriot International C-Corp Upper Upscale,Luxury, Resorts $33.16 (6.1%) (19.8%)
Starwood Hotels C-Corp Upper Upscale, Luxury $56.95 (2.0%) (6.3%)
Choice C-Corp Limited Service $31.07 (19.6%) (18.0%)
Hyatt C-Corp Upper Upscale $39.81 (7.5%) (13.0%)
Host Hotels REIT Upper Upscale, Luxury $16.18 (8.0%) (9.2%)
Hospitality PropertiesTrust REIT Limited Services $25.04 12.2% 14.7%

Note- all prices adjusted for dividends paid
Source: Yahoo! Finance


Development Projects

The pace of development activity, from both public and private companies, seems to be accelerating in recent months. While there is the usual assortment of lower-end limited service highway hotels and convention center-oriented properties in tertiary markets, there are also a couple of notable full service projects which appear to be gaining momentum, including:

  • 1,000 key Marriott Marquis property in Austin Texas (by White Lodging, who recently opened a similarly sized property in Indianapolis). They are also planning a 130 key Residence Inn in a Chicago suburb.
  • 1,500 key conference hotel proposed for Denver by Gaylord. They also said they were not abandoning their proposal to build a similarly sized project outside of Phoenix.
  • A $2 Billion expansion of the Boston convention center is proposed which would create a demand for up to 1,200 additional rooms. Several other smaller projects in Boston are expected to break ground this year.
  • A 532 room Hilton Hotel is under construction in Columbus OH, scheduled for a September 2012 opening.
  • 460 room Hyatt expansion in downtown Chicago (design/build contracts let). Also in Chicago, a 150 room boutique hotel is planned for the Navy Pier.
  • Several new projects have been announced for New York City, including 200+/- rooms at Brooklyn Bridge Park, 56 rooms on Mott Street in Chinatown and a 139 key hotel just south of the World Trade Center site.


The logic for new builds is compelling in that demand is still expected to be very strong by the time these are completed in 2013/2014, and developers are afraid of missing the window. Due to overall softness in the economy, construction materials and labor costs are depressed (anecdotally running as much as 20-25% less than at the peak), and interest rates continue low, which makes the break-even point that much more attainable. Similar themes are also popping up in downtown commercial office building development in many major markets, which are fueling record high prices for existing well-located assets.


While many lenders are still reluctant to do construction financing, a combination of guarantees, high initial equity (in many cases the owners will contribute the land that they already own), availability of public money (think “JOBS!”) and a building sense of bandwagon momentum will (as they historically have done) magically result in the money pipe being opened up.


Other Industry News

  • Host Hotels has sued brokerage firm Molinaro Koger, alleging that they used unethical business practices to flip properties for their own account rather than getting the best price for Host. Koger has countersued, claiming that Host obtained information illegally.
  • In late June, Marriott provided pro forma data relating to its upcoming spin-off of its time-share group.
  • It was recently reported by the Wall St. Journal that the primary broker-dealer for the Apple REIT family, a major non-traded player (which has raised over $6Bn over the past decade) is being investigated by financial regulators for possible misrepresentation.
  • International expansion by major US brands is accelerating, with Starwood and Hyatt announcing major Chinese projects, Marriott Autograph collection expanding with six European properties, and increased activity by Hilton and others in Mexico and Colombia.


US Economy General Statistics

Key Economic Indicators

Measure Period Value/Trends
GDP Q1 2011 Revised to 1.8% , at the same levels as the “advanced report” ; was up 2.8% in previous quarter
Consumer Confidence Jul-11 The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was 63.8, a two year low, which is a sharp decline from the 71.5 in June and the 74.3 in May
Unemployment Jun-11 9.2%; up from 9.1% in May. The rate has crept upwards in recent months
CPI Jun-11 Down 0.4% vs. for month and up 0.2% over the last 12 months. Excluding food and energy, the increases were 0.3% and 1.6% respectively. Energy prices were down 4.4% in June and down 1.0% in May 2011
Retail Sales Jun-11 Up 0.2% for month; up 5.0% vs. year ago.
New Home Sales Jun-11 4,770K units; down 0.8% from last month and down 8.8% vs. year ago. Home prices have rebounded slightly and are up 0.8% compared to last year, up 16.7% in 2011

Sources: National Bureau of Economic Research; various government agencies including US Department of Commerce