NEW YORK CITY—While many hotel investors—including Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray—talk about the incredible appeal of the select service segment, luxury also is a top performer, according to the participants in the “Check In from the CEOs” panel at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment conference.
“We’ve seen remarkable RevPAR growth around the world,” said J. Allen Smith, president and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
Added Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International, “There’s been extraordinary growth in luxury and there’s a base of travelers that are more global, diverse and younger than ever before. It’s also interested that people are not choosing luxury based on something defined, it’s based on what they want. They’re seeking properties that reflect their locations in some way.”
Executives at Starwood Hotels & Resorts saw living proof of the younger trend recently, noted Fritz van Paasschen, president and CEO. “The first person to check into the revamped St. Regis in New York was an 18 year old.” Incidentally, the second person to check in was that guest’s mother.
But the luxury segment isn’t the only one faring well, asserted Richard Solomons, CEO of IHG. “We have travelers who stay in multiple price points, multiple brands and locations. Our biggest brand is the Holiday Inn. The 18 million Chinese travelers we’re all trying to capture are not luxury travelers, for the most part. They’re mid-market.”