The Real Deal Miami

Hospitality industry report set to debut at CIASF event

By Jennifer LeClaire | April 16, 2009 04:07PM

Hotels face a weak summer, and market watchers are figuring out the relationship between a poor showing from the hospitality industry and the state of local real estate values. They’ll also be watching the industry for its role in Florida’s economic recovery and can tackle all these questions at the Commercial Industrial Association of South Florida (CIASF).

The group will offer insights into these and other issues this week. The group is releasing its First Annual Hospitality Report during an event at Downtown Miami’s Epic Hotel tomorrow at 6 p.m. 

“We’ve teamed up with Florida International University, the cruise industry, the ports and the Foreign Trade Zone to develop our First Annual Hospitality Report,” said Viktoria Telek, CCIM, president of CIASF and vice president of Miami-based ComReal’s industrial and office division. “This report offers a good picture of how the local hospitality industry is impacting commercial real estate.”

Specifically, the report will offer facts and figures about the number of employees in the local hospitality industry, how many hotel rooms are online, how many rooms are being delivered in 2009, and the economic impact of the commercial real estate industry. 

“Several associations, organizations, and groups track various statistics and offer opinions about the impact of the hospitality industry, in large part from an operations, management and promotional point of view,” said Guy Trusty, CCIM, president of Lodging and Hospitality Realty in Coral Gables. “Alternatively, the CIASF’s First Annual Hospitality Report will examine the hospitality industry, primarily concentrating on hotels, from a real estate perspective.”

Trusty, a scheduled speaker, said the report will also answer questions about the demand for new hotel development, employment and property revenues, why so many condo-hotels were built, and what effect the glut has on the local tourism industry. 

Rob Käll, president and co-founder of Bookt, a Miami-based web solutions company focused on the hospitality industry, called the report timely. Hotel revenues are down significantly in South Florida, he said, and this sector of the commercial real estate industry is looking for answers.

Käll has witnessed aggressive pricing as one solution to the down market, but he said getting too aggressive can have a negative impact on revenues. That’s not a welcome scenario in a local commercial real estate industry where property valuations are already suffering.

“Aggressive pricing doesn’t mean you discount everything,” Käll said. “It means you discount the rooms you are not able to sell in any other way. If you are relying on your own Web site, the cost of booking is much lower than if you book through an Expedia or Hotels.com, so search engine optimization is a key strategy for local hotels.”

Käll has not yet seen the report, but his experience tells him the market will get worse before it gets better. The hotels that survive 2009 will be well positioned to remerge next year with stronger revenues.

People who attend the Thursday event will receive a complimentary copy of the report. The fee for members is $35. The fee for non-members is $45. Walk-ins will be charged $50 at the door.