BLLA draws movers and shakers of boutique hotel community


NEW YORK — If boutique hotels are your business, then there's a good chance you were in New York this week at the Boutique Hotel Investment Conference. The one-day event was held at Florence Gould Hall and featured an array of education sessions focused on the boutique and lifestyle space.

One such paid attention to the New York market, as presented by Daniel Lesser, president and CEO of LW Hospitality Advisors. While supply creep leaves some hotel owners skittish, Lesser said that it's overblown in a city like New York because demand is always so strong. Lesser cited STR numbers that show NYC occupancy consistenty running in the high 80s. (The national occupancy average is around 62 percent.) "There are rooms coming online," he said, "but they are not impacting demand." Instead, "It's impacting rates," he continued.

Lesser, left, with Jonathan Falik, CEO of JF Capital Advisor.

Demand drivers in New York are diverse and many: corporate and leisure demand is driven by the multitude of companies that call New York home, and myriad landmarks and attractions, from Times Square to the Statue of Liberty.

The city also draws groups and meetings though, curiously, as Lesser pointed out, the Javits Center, which has a $1-million renovation plan in place, still does not have a headquarter hotel.

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Lesser also presented a SWOT analysis of New York, which could also serve the broader hotel industry:

SWOT analysis of hospitality industry
S: Fear in the market, but no evidence of impending recession; low gas prices; inbound foreign capital—U.S. seen as a beacon for safety, people want to park money there—strong visitor numbers and group demand. W: Economy underwhelming, bumping along; strong U.S. dollar but damper on inbound travel; negative pressure from OTAs, rising influence of labor unions; international brands coming to NYC; others trying to expand. 
O: Well positioned to react to inflation; hotels and constant repricing of rooms—a great thing in inflation and rising market T: Cyber crime and safety; black swan event; Airbnb; OTAs.

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