SALUSTRI: Lance, you recently likened
the federal government to Inglourious
SHANER: We’ve got to get small businesses
hiring people and growing. And it’s not
happening because we have policies that
say, if something’s successful, tax it, regulate
it, mandate it. When you go after the most
entrepreneurial people in the country,
those who make more than $250,000 a
year—the hardworking, entrepreneurial
people, the backbone of the economy—
they’ll just go on strike. People are scared
to death and they’re not hiring. We’ve got
to reward investment, risk-taking and capi-
tal formation and quit penalizing it.
WILLIAMS: That’s a critical point because
without jobs, the hospitality industry can’t
recover. We’re seeing a pick-up in transient
and smaller group business, but the large
groups haven’t materialized. We need
employment to bolster demand.
BERGER: Corporate America is extremely
cautious. We’ve seen a rebound in business
travel, but we haven’t seen corporate
America step up and participate in the
economy, start driving business the way it
FIELDS: If you look back over the history
of this country, entrepreneurs have driven
the ideas, and the ideas have spurred
industries, and the industries have
spurred jobs and the jobs have spurred
the economy. But some of the policies
that the Administration is sponsoring and
how it’s trying to “socialize” things are
very disturbing. Hopefully the pendulum
will swing the other way so this great
country can do what it’s really good at,
SALUSTRI: Where will we be in a year?
FISHBIN: Despite the concerns that we all
share about the macros, 2010 will surprise us
with RevPAR growth; 2011 will be even stronger, and we’ll be looking at high-single-digit
and perhaps even double-digit growth in
some markets and chain sales in 2012, ’13
and ’14. We’ll also see the emergence of a
debt market and more transactions.
BERGER: Yes, 2010 will stabilize our industry. We’re picking up momentum. I think
2011 will be a fairly good year, with all the
fundamentals coming together, and in ’12,
the economy will be in full stride.
FIELDS: I think we’ll be surprised at the
rate gains we see next year. Demand is
going up significantly, and it will get to
where operators stop being conservative
and take some risk. When the economy
comes back, people will start taking their
vacations. Then we’ll be pricing again.
NG: I’ll go out on a limb too and say in the
next 12 months, some of these larger companies that were taken private a couple of
years ago will go back out in some form, be it
on a smaller or larger scale. Next year, we’ll
be talking about the transactions the REITs
have done, and how private equity firms are
faring compared to the public ones.
SHANER: A month ago, I probably would
have rated the chance of a double-dip recession at 10% or 20%, but I’d raise it now to
30%. The stabilization of the euro is up in
the air. Spain is in trouble. Portugal is in
trouble. And, as the governments in Europe
inevitably cut public spending and employment, it’s going to have an impact. On the
US side, a more balanced pro-growth
approach will mitigate the negatives in
Europe. A big issue is whether the Bush tax
cuts are extended or allowed to expire.
There is also some talk of a 40% capital-gains
tax on income over $250,000, which will be
devastating to the hotel industry.
WILLIAMS: Next year, investors will see the
wisdom of investing in hotels as opposed to
other asset classes that take time to ramp up
in a recovery. Hotels are quick to react, and
that’ll show once again that the sector is a
great place to invest. ◆
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REF JA Hotel Panel p66.indd 70
8/5/10 1:50:41 PM