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News for the Hospitality Executive


Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 89

The Beat Goes On; Good News: U.S. Hotel Profit Recovery; Surprise:
Nearly Half of NYC Hotel Developments are Outside Manhattan;
Hotel History: The Mission Inn, Riverside, CA; Quote of the Month

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS, ISHC
May 15, 2012

1.  The Beat Goes On

These recent announcements add up to more than 115 new hotel brands in the past 26 months.
  • Rui Xiang by Movenpick
  • Hotel Castell by K Hotels
  • Baccarat Hotels by Starwood Capitol Group
  • ALT Hotels by Groupe Germain Hospitality
  • Mama Shelter Hotels by the Trigano family
  • ES Suites by Sonesta
  • Quin Hotel formerly the Buckingham Hotel
  • Roger Hotel formerly the Roger Williams
  • Hemingway Hotels by the estate and family of Ernest Hemingway
Impertinent question seeking a pertinent answer:  How many of these new brands were the result of an objective market study?

2.  Good News: U.S. Hotel Profit Recovery

According to the new PKF Trends survey, the U.S. lodging industry produced a 12.7% profit growth in 2011.  80.5% of participating hotels enjoyed an increase in total revenue while 72.3% achieved growth in profits.  The recently released 2012 edition of Trends presents data from a sample of nearly 7000 financial statements of United States hotels.  For the Trends report, hotel profits are defined as net operating income (NOI) before deductions for capital reserves, rent, interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization.

On May 9, 2012, the Lodging Industry Investment Council (LIIC) issued the results of its survey in the LIIC Top Ten, a highly regarded profile of investment sentiment and attitudes for the lodging industry for the forthcoming 12 months.  Altogether, the members of the LIIC represent acquisition and disposition control of billions of dollars in lodging real estate.  The hospitality industry's most influential investors, lenders, corporate real estate executives, REITs, public hotel companies, brokers, and significant lodging equity sources are represented on the council.  LIIC serves as the leading industry think tank servicing the hospitality business.  Here are some of the survey findings:
  • Hotel property values will continue to increase
  • Quality of hotel product or market will continue to improve
  • In 2013, lodging transaction volume to increase
  • Debt financing is returning
  • Hotel development beginning
In the light of the strong increase in 2011 profit growth, a knowledgeable hotel man could conclude that the good news is a reflection of the success of the Obama administration's economic policies even in the face of a recalcitrant and unrealistic political opposition.

 3.  Surprise:  Nearly Half of NYC Hotel Developments are Outside Manhattan

In the past five years, 42 percent of New York City's new hotels opened in the outer boroughs. According to The Real Deal (NYs online real estate news), five hotels opened in Queens in the past year including Z NYC Hotel, the Hotel Vetiver and Wyndham Garden Hotel.  A new Marriott Fairfield & Suites is slated to open in Queens this summer.
The Real Deal reported in March that Lodge Works, a Kansas-based hotel developer will erect a 117 room hotel in downtown Brooklyn.  The new Hotel BPM will open later this year.
Meanwhile, the potential for a new four-star hotel and conference center in the Bronx near the new Yankee Stadium is very positive.  My evaluation reveals a market situation that may be unique in the United States: An urban location with 1.4 million residents that has no full-service three, four or five-star hotels.  The Bronx is larger in population than San Francisco but has no Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, Wyndham, Westin, W, Radisson, Hyatt, Renaissance, Fairmont, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, InterContinental or Holiday Inn.
4.  Hotel History: The Mission Inn, Riverside, California

This beautiful landmark was first built as a two-story adobe boarding house (called Glenwood Cottage) by Christopher Miller in 1876.  From 1902 to 1935, Miller's son Frank changed the name to Mission Inn and converted the Inn with a wide variety of architectural styles.
The result is an enormously complicated structure with a mixture of many historical design periods, revivals, influences and styles.  It contains arched passages, a medieval-style clock tower, galleries, balconies, a five-story rotunda, gargoyles, minarets, flying buttresses, a pedestrian sky bridge and many other architectural features.
A 1983 brochure reports:

Perhaps the most publicized part of the Mission Inn is the Wedding Chapel named for St. Francis of Assisi, a lover of birds and the patron saint of those who fly.  The Chapel contains rare treasures such as the seven Tiffany windows and the magnificent altar covered with gold leaf.  The altar was made more than two-hundred years ago for the Marquis d'Rayas, owner of the Guanajuato Mexico silver mines.
In 1932, Frank Miller opened the St. Francis Atrio containing the 'Famous Fliers' Wall, which was used to recognize notable aviators.  On March 20, 1942, WWI ace Eddie Rikenbacker was honored at the Inn, becoming the fifty-seven flier added to the monument.  Today, 151 fliers are honored by having their signatures etched onto 10- inch-wide copper wings attached to the wall.
Frank Miller died in 1935 and the Inn continued under the management of his daughter and son-in-law, Allis and DeWitt Hutchings, who died in 1952 and 1953 respectively.
The hotel was later required by the Carley Capital Group and was closed for renovations in 1985 at a cost of $55 million.  In December 1992, the Inn was sold to Duane R. Roberts, a Riverside businessman and lover of the Inn.  Roberts completed the renovations and it was reopened to the public shortly thereafter.
For 125 years it has been the center of Riverside, host to a number of seasonal and holiday events as well as occasional political functions and other major social gatherings.  Pat and Richard Nixon were married at one of the two wedding chapels, Nancy and Ronald Regan honeymooned there, and eight other US Presidents have visited the Inn: Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Gerald Ford, and George W. Bush.
Other leaders that have stayed at the Mission Inn include Susan B. Anthony, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Collis and Henry Huntington, Albert Einstein, Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, Hubert H. Bancroft, Harry Chandler, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller and John Muir. 
The list of entertainers who have toured the Inn is extensive; Lillian Russell, Sarah Bernhardt and Harry Houdini were early visitors to Frank Miller's hotel.  Other guests have included Ethel Barrymore, Charles Boyer, Eddie Cantor, Mary Pickford, Ginger Rogers, Bette Davis (who married at the Inn in 1945), W.C. Fields, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Fess Parker, James Brolin and Barbra Streisand, Raquel Welch and Drew Barrymore.  Other celebrities such as Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Glenn Campbell and Merle Haggard have also visited.  (Sources: The Mission Inn: Its History and Artifacts, by Ester Klotz, Rubidoux Printing, Riverside, California, 1982; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

5.  Quote of the Month

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

                                                                                                -Theodore Roosevelt

Reviews of My New Book:  "Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York"

*"passionate and informative"
 The New York Times

*"It's a terrific book"
Fred Schwartz, President, AAHOA

*"You have done an amazing job... your research into the history.... of these properties embellishes the topic immensely"
Stephen Rushmore, President, HVS International

*"I must say here that it has been a sincere privilege to review "Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York"... I found it a fascinating read and it should be for anyone interested in history, building design and hospitality..."
John Hogan, CHE, CHA, CMHS, Ph.D.

To order the book, visit

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Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC

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