Earlier this month Continental’s Hailey Marchyshyn and Renee Bagshaw attended the BisNow Lodging Summit in Washington, D.C. Hailey joined Continental earlier this summer, and brings a unique perspective to her new position as an Assistant Project Manager. With experience gained from working in both subcontractor roles and the ownership and management side of hospitality, she appreciates the nuances inherent to every hotel renovation. You can read more about Hailey and the rest of our team here.

On August 2, Renee Bagshaw and I attended the BisNow Lodging & Investment Summit in Washington D.C. The afternoon was filled with many knowledgeable and admirable panelists from the ownership, investment, management, construction, and design sectors of the hospitality industry. Topics included acquisition trends, operations, and management trends – specifically those addressing long-term outcomes following the unprecedented pandemic and its impacts on the industry as a whole – in addition to construction and development considerations and trends.

Sitting in on the panels and listening to how a variety of industry professionals led their organizations through this unpredictable time reaffirmed my recent decision to return to the hospitality industry. From the dedication organizations have shown to help keep their workforces intact, to the industry’s resilience through the highs and lows of the last 24 months, I walked away confident that the tight-knit hospitality family can and will continue to persevere.

For Renee and me, the construction panel was equally enlightening, highlighting some hot topic issues and trends that have been top of mind here at Continental.  We’ve outlined a few of the key takeaways from the panel below, in hopes of furthering the discussion:

Discussing Top 20 Market (& Submarket) Fluctuations
While there is always some risk involved with new construction projects, the current market has amplified the risk associated with underwriting new construction builds. Continued cost uncertainties due to fluctuating market conditions, interest rates, and permitting hurdles, to name a few, have caused concerns for investors. As an alternative, the panel advised that investing in existing portfolios with established properties in need of upgrades have more certain outcomes for costs.

Conversions in Markets
Many investors are seeing an uptick in urban markets, investing office space into hospitality assets. Additionally, the University markets are seeing activity of unique spaces/properties being converted into hotels, and leisure markets in the Southeast are becoming increasingly favorable for hospitality opportunities.

Importance of Collaboration on PIPs – Teamwork
Property Improvement Plans (PIPs) can only be efficiently executed when collaboration is a priority among all players. Collaborating with designers, architects, and owners to efficiently identify P&L impact, protect the balance sheet, reach asset milestones, and avoid guest impact ensures the vision of the project – and the finished result – is upheld and delivered across the board. There has been an evolution of architecture & design within hospitality construction to view every project with the lens and voice of an owner. With each stakeholder supporting each other to come up with the best use of dollars we can limit the sensitivity to budget constraints while upholding quality and brand standards with ownership. Keeping the conversation open about materials, labor, and guest satisfaction are imperative to successful builds and fostering industry relationships.

Today’s Trends: Who is the Traveler?
Other trends of note/key takeaways, and what we’re following:

    • Sensitivity to budget constraints, particularly in urban markets
    • Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration
    • Brands focusing heavily on catering to Gen Z and Alpha’s – the generation born after 2010 – and their hyper-connective tendencies
    • Large focus on diversity, equality, & inclusion as companies move from a “statement of equality” to an actionable plan to increase DEI efforts
    • Guests want access and answers quickly. Providing a mobile check in option, a great text response from guest services directly within the brand’s app, and a carefully cultivated presence on Instagram are currently trending

I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to spend the day listening and learning from so many industry colleagues and leaders at the BisNow Lodging & Investment Summit. Events like Bisnow not only offer insightful and varying perspectives among industry professionals and contribute to an understanding of how both ownership and management sides are thinking, but they also provide great networking opportunities to build relationships with industry colleagues. As panelist Sequoyah Hunger-Cuyjet, VP of Determined by Design, put it, “Build communities, not properties.” And at Continental, that is the sentiment we bring to every project and new relationship alike.

— Hailey Marchyshyn, Assistant Project Manager