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Hotel success comes in many ways
  Date:6/10/2014  Tags: hotel news success 

As two speakers at last weeks NYU Investment Conference demonstrated, there are a variety of strategies to strike gold when investing in hotels.

Theres more than one way to make a lot of money through investing in hotels. Two speakers at last weeks 36th annual New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference shared their proven, highly profitable, but divergent investment strategies with attendees.


To Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate at The Blackstone Group and chairman of Hilton Worldwide Holdings, the key is finding consensus and then betting against it.


As HNNs Jeff Higley reported, the company took a number of gambles in the hotel industry during the recession because, as Gray said, Blackstones view was the downturn was cyclical, not secular.


You dont create outside returns with consensus, he said, summing up his investment philosophy, one that Blackstone followed in its so-far winning bet to hold ownership in Hilton until the market improved, and one that will be tested with its $1.7-billion acquisition of The Cosmopolitan casino-hotel in Las Vegas.


While obviously Gray and his team at Blackstone are brilliant investors, as the saying goes there is more than one way to skin a cat, and Mit Shah believes hes found a way by taking another approach to hotel investing.


During a general session, Shah said Noble Investment Group, of which he is CEO, is successful because we dont do what were good at; we do what were best at.


In Nobles case, thats developing, acquiring and investing in premium-branded select-service and extended-stay hotels.


Shah is a portfolio builder, but he doesnt fall in love with his hotels, and he knows when it is time to recycle the companys investments. He told the NYU audience Noble plans to sell $1 billion in real estate in the coming year.


The approaches demonstrated by Gray and Shah are different, but theyre not the only ways to be successful in the hotel business. The key, as these two have proven, is to find a winning strategy and stick to it.


And finally

I want to thank the organizers of the NYU Investment Conference for recognizing me and my 40 years in the hotel business during a luncheon presentation. The honor was unexpected but totally appreciated.


In particular, I want to thank Jonathan Tisch, conference chair and chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, for the kind and flattering remarks about me he conveyed to the audience. And a special thanks to Dorothy Jennings, conference coordinator and a long-time friend, and my boss Jeff Higley for their roles in arranging the honor.


As someone pointed out to me later, while I received the recognition on the stage of the New York Marriott Marquis, I share the honor with the scores of journalists who cover the hotel industry on a daily basis. It is through their hard work, dedication and seemingly-endless travel schedules that hotel owners and operators remain informed about the industry and the trends shaping it.

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