Los Angeles, CA (May 8, 2013) - The upswing in this part of the hotel industry's cycle still has a lot of life to it, but there remain plenty of things to be concerned about, speakers said during a CEO panel discussion Tuesday at the Meet the Money conference.
The chief executives taking part in the wide-ranging discussion all agreed the hotel industry is continuing to take steps toward recovery, but there remain issues that threaten the comeback.
Ken Cruse, CEO of real estate investment trust Sunstone Hotel Investors, said company officials find themselves pounding their fists on the table to try to get their hotel operators to take a firmer stance to raising rate.
"I think the hotels themselves are the one party at the table that hasn't been aggressive enough," he said.
Adding to the rate problem, he said, is the fact that many hotels negotiated multiyear rates with companies during the dark days of 2009, said Chris Russell, CEO of Pillar Hotels & Resorts. Still, a lot of the inability by hotels to raise rate comes from the hotel officials themselves.
"A lot of it is the confidence that hotel companies have to charge what they're worth," he said.
Gregory Mount, CEO of Richfield Hospitality, alluded to the rise of online travel agencies as another reason why hotels have a difficult time making significant increases in rate stick.
"There's more transparency out there," he said. "People are able to commoditize your rates to a certain degree."