Five takeways from Miami hospitality talk

Panelists included Sherif Ayad, Richard Millard, Niki Leondakis and Susan LaFleur

Oct.October 18, 2016 05:30 PM
Sherif Ayad Miami Beach and panelists

Sherif Ayad, Niki Leondakis, Richard Millard and Susan LeFleur

Coping with the challenges of competition, appealing to millennials and offering memorable service were among the topics at a Miami hotel industry event Tuesday.

Hospitality insiders spoke frankly about Airbnb, mergers and the proliferation of new brands at the event, Miami’s Hospitality & Culinary Surge, hosted by Bisnow at the Loews Hotel.

Here are five takeways from the hotel panel of Sherif Ayad, Richard Millard, Niki Leondakis and Susan LaFleur, moderated by Berger Singerman’s Marc Shuster.

  1. Service matters: “If the service experience falls down, then nothing matters,” Niki Leondakis, CEO of Commune Hotels & Resorts. “It doesn’t matter what the hotel looks like.”
  2. The Marriott-Starwood merger has huge implications:
    • “None of us will say a bad thing about Marriott because we’re afraid of those guys,” Richard Millard, CEO of Trust Hospitality, said. “We’re in markets where they control the whole market.”
  3. Airbnb is impacting the hotel industry in a big way.
    • “As a percentage, there are more Airbnb rooms in Miami than anywhere else,” Millard said. “We’ve got to get smarter about how to compete or how to join [them].”
    • “It’s something I think all of us wish would go away,” said Sherif Ayad, president of ID & Design International, about Airbnb.
  4. Millennials don’t have brand loyalty when it comes to hotels, and lifestyle brands are popping up everywhere.
  5. Most large hotel operators are led by non-hotel leaders
    • “First and foremost we are in the hospitality industry,” Leondakis said. “So much of our industry has become about real estate investment and OTAs (online travel agencies).”

Related Article

Anne Gannon and West Palm Beach (Credit: iStock and Airbnb)

Airbnb sues Palm Beach County … again

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber (Credit: Getty Images, iStock, and Airbnb)

Airbnb settles federal lawsuit against Miami Beach over business and resort tax disclosures

From left: Russell Galbut, Harvey Hernandez and a rendering of Natiivo

Downtown Miami Airbnb-branded hotel-condo project launches sales

Airbnb urges hosts to pay local taxes on short-term rentals in Palm Beach County

Judge bars Miami Beach from turning off water at properties owing short-term rental fines

South Florida Airbnb hosts made $315M in 2018

Airbnb sues Miami Beach over new rules to regulate short-term rental listings

Appeals court overturns Airbnb victory against city of Miami