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DLA Piper 2010 Hospitality Outlook Survey

January 2010

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


Faced with a marketplace still struggling to regain its footing, the majority of hospitality executives remain bearish, but bullish sentiment has begun to gain momentum.

According to the DLA Piper 2010 Hospitality Outlook Survey, asset values are expected to stabilize during the next 12 months and the majority of respondents expect the US hospitality industry to rebound in 2011.

This growing sense of cautious optimism has been spurred by hospitality executives’ strong sense of confidence that current market conditions continue to create “good” buying opportunities, which will be led by investment activity from private equity and foreign investors. Looking abroad, the majority of respondents identified Brazil and China as the most attractive foreign markets for US investors.

Notably, one in four respondents reports having a loan that will mature in the next year, but only a small fraction of these respondents think their loan will move into foreclosure.

HIGHLIGHTS OF DLA PIPER’S 2010 HOSPITALITY OUTLOOK SURVEY INCLUDE:
  • 68 percent of respondents describe their 12-month outlook for the US hospitality industry as “bearish,” down from 93 percent in 2009.
  • 60 percent of respondents expect the US hospitality industry to rebound in 2011.
  • 42 percent of respondents expect no significant change in hotel asset values, while 20 percent expect values to rise, a sharp contrast to 2009 when 86 percent expected values to decline.
  • 76 percent of respondents think that current market conditions have created good buying opportunities for well-capitalized investors, up from 65 percent in 2009.
  • 1 out of 4 respondents has a loan maturing during the next 12 months, but only 4 percent of these respondents think their loan will move into foreclosure.
  • Respondents identified Brazil (37 percent) and China (29 percent) as the most attractive foreign markets for US investors.
  • The majority of respondents (59 percent) expect that China will be the largest foreign investor in the US hospitality industry.
  • 82 percent of respondents think that investment activity in “green” hotels will continue as a long-term trend, but only 23 percent think green hotels are driving consumer choice.

 



68 percent of respondents describe their 12-month outlook for the US hospitality industry as “bearish,” down from 93 percent in 2009. “Bullish” sentiment rose to 32 percent from 5 percent in 2009.

 

The majority of bullish respondents attributed their confidence to investment opportunities created by the financial crisis (47 percent) and the expected rebound of the US economy (35 percent).

Notably, in 2009 only 16 percent of respondents cited a rebound of the US economy as their primary reason for optimism.

Note: This question was only made available to those respondents who described their outlook as “bullish.”


 
Consistent with responses to the firm’s 2009 survey, the struggling US economy (62 percent) and lack of liquidity (19 percent) remain the top two concerns of “bearish” respondents.

Note: This question was only made available to those respondents who described their outlook as “bearish.”
 

 
Signaling a growing sense of stability in the marketplace, 62 percent of respondents expect either an increase or no significant change in hotel asset values, a sharp contrast to 2009 when 86 percent expected values to decline.

 

The majority of respondents (60 percent) expect the US hospitality industry to rebound in 2011, while 28 percent do not foresee a rebound until 2012.

Interestingly, according to last year’s survey, a similar majority of respondents (59 percent) anticipated that the US hospitality industry would rebound in 2010, but only 5 percent still expect that to occur.



 Among the hardest hit sectors of the US hospitality industry, respondents rank the upscale sector as the most attractive opportunity (39 percent) for investors in the next 12 months, followed by midscale (28 percent) and luxury (19 percent).

 

Providing further evidence of cautious optimism in the US hospitality industry, 76 percent of respondents think that current market conditions have created good buying opportunities for wellcapitalized investors, up from 65 percent in 2009.

 

 For the second year in a row, the majority of respondents expect that private equity investors (58 percent) and foreign investors (21 percent), respectively, will be the two most active investors in the US hospitality industry.

 

 
Compared to 2009, respondents’ expectations for lending activity by investment banks and hedge funds spiked as they ranked investment banks as their top lender choice (tied with commercial banks), while hedge funds ranked third.

Notably, this is quite a reversal from 2009 when hedge funds and investment banks ranked fifth and sixth (last).



Only 26 percent of respondents report having a loan scheduled to mature during the next 12 months.

 

Of the small group of respondents that reports having a loan set to mature during the next 12 months, only 4 percent think this loan will move into foreclosure.

These responses point to a strong (and perhaps unrealistic) optimism among borrowers that they will be able to work out or restructure their debt with their current lenders.

Note: This question was only made available to those respondents who answered “Yes” to question No. 10.



Among those with hotel debt, respondents are split evenly regarding what will happen to this debt in 2010: 31 percent believe it will be refinanced or restructured in the next 12 months, while 31 percent do not.



Respondents identified Brazil (37 percent) and China (29 percent) as the most attractive foreign markets for US investors, followed by India (19 percent).

Brazil’s top ranking was likely bolstered by respondents who view its recent selection as host for the 2016 Olympic Games and 2014 World Cup as a significant boost to the country’s hotel industry.

 

An overwhelming 59 percent of respondents anticipate China to be the largest inbound foreign investor in the United States during the next 12 months.

This strong preference for China was likely fueled by December’s well-publicized joint venture between Shanghai’s Jin Jiang Hotels and US-based Thayer Lodging to acquire Interstate Hotels & Resorts



 
By a small margin, respondents believe the US hospitality industry (53 percent) is showing signs of a faster recovery than Western Europe (47 percent).



8 out of 10 respondents think that investment activity in green hotels will continue as a long-term trend, perhaps drawing parallels to the long-term investments they have made to their properties in this area.

 

Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of respondents (82 percent) believe that investment activity in “green” hotels will continue as a long-term trend, only 23 percent think green hotels are currently driving consumer choice.

Rather than looking at the bottom line, these responses seem to suggest that the US hospitality industry has largely approached sustainability on its merits alone, discounting the financial performance of green hotels in the near-term.<>

Methodology

 
In January of 2010, DLA Piper distributed a survey via email to top executives within the hospitality industry, including CEOs, COOs, CFOs and other senior executives, which was completed by 109 respondents.
 
Question No. 2 was only made available to those respondents who described themselves as “bullish” in Question No. 1.
 
Question No. 3 was only made available to those respondents who described themselves as “bearish” in Question No. 1.
 
Question No. 11 was only made available to those respondents who answered “yes” in Question No. 10.
 
Due to rounding, all percentages used in all questions may not add up to 100 percent.
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Contact:

Sandra Kellman
Global Co-chair and Head of Hospitality
 & Leisure Group US, DLA Piper
+1 312 368 4082
 
Jason Costa
Media Relations, DLA Piper
+1 212 776 3739
 
  Brian Kiefer
Media Relations, DLA Piper
+1 312 252 4113
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