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Covid-19 Upended a Luxury Hotel Truism

Covid-19 Upended a Luxury Hotel Truism

Covid-19 upended a luxury hotel truism in 2020, that wealthy travelers make luxury accommodations impervious to economic downturns.   Those of us involved in the hotels and resorts industry, particularly the luxury segment, well remember the longstanding promoter’s line that luxury hotel investments were among the “least risk” real estate asset classes due to their business being about the rich.

 

As of November 2020, we see that among lodging segments, luxury hotels have been the most dramatically impacted by the pandemic.   Two of the leading luxury destination markets, experienced a decline in occupancy to 37% for the March through August, 2000 reporting period (per a CBRE report).   This is a remarkable result even given the pandemic.

 

Travel restrictions, quarantines, infection rates, and safety concerns have gutted corporate travel and group business of all kinds, adding to how Covid-19 upended a luxury hotel truism in 2020.   Looking ahead, although there is some evidence that the luxury segment rebounded reasonably well after past recessions, there has been no “black swan” economic event similar to this year’s pandemic.   Luxury travel will return, whether for leisure or business, but we may also remember this year as having propelled alternate accommodations – eco resorts, glamping, and the like.

 

Ironically, that staycationing concept and the driving distance lodging distances that are implied, proved to be the winner.  California’s coastal resort segment might have been one exception to the difficulties with luxury travelers, but the additional California policies for shuttering industries (including Covid-19 restrictions for accommodations) was an additional impedance.

 

We will now remember 2020 as the year that exploded this “luxury hotels are the safe investment” myth, perhaps fallacy.   There have always been independent luxury accommodations, since those days when our ancestors traveled the early highways and inns popped up along the way.  But it is the luxury “chain” concept were the “luxury can’t fail line” really took hold.

 

Some History of the Luxury Lodging Segment

 

William B. Johnson helped to propel this promotional line, in the years following his acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand in 1983.   Most hoteliers are unaware that part of W.B. Johnson’s legacy is the initial founding of the Hotel Asset Manager’s Association (“HAMA”).   Founding HAMA members were asset managers involved with luxury hotel investments, each of which on behalf of owners deeply unhappy with the annual coupons coming from these assets.

 

Other luxury lodging brands were getting going in those days.  Just before W.B. Johnson, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts was founded by Caroline Rose Hunt in 1979.   And although a somewhat parallel development, between 1981 and 1983 the first of the boutique hotels opened.  These included the first Kimpton Hotel and the first Morgans Hotel (in New York, an Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell creation).

 

The 1980’s saw more luxury chains take hold.  The Mandarin Oriental name was established in 1985 following the merger of Mandarin International Hotels Limited and the holding company of the hotel The Oriental.   Aman Resorts got its start in 1988, the result of Adrian Zecha’s initial interest in building a vacation home in Phuket which became a plan to open a boutique resort with Anil Thadani and others.

 

In the next decade, in 1999, Fairmont Hotels would merge with Canadian Pacific Hotels, creating the truly iconic luxury lodging brand as we know it today.

 

There are certainly predecessors to these chain roll-outs, such as Four Seasons (which took hold following Inn on the Park in 1970), and, RockResorts which dates is origin story to 1956 at Caneel Bay on St. John USVI.   Few of these founders would have believed that a day would come when luxury hotels were the emptiest of hotels, when Covid-19 upended a luxury hotel truism in 2020.

the future of co-working places and players

The Future of Co-Working Spaces and Players

The future of co-working spaces and players has been propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic but new players were already busy entering the sector.   Coworking is an arrangement where workers from different companies share an office space, with access to common equipment, IT, utilities, and receptionist, and sometimes refreshments and mail services.

 

There has been a continuing evolution in coworking space since the 1960’s, when OmniOffices Group, Inc. (now IWG plc’s HQ brand) and Fegen Suites (whose legacy ended up with Barrister Executive Suites) pioneered predecessor sharing concepts.   Later entries such as St. Oberholz (Berlin) pioneered the Internet cafe and a fully communal experience.

 

The hotel industry is likely to take a large role in providing co-working and remote work spaces to travelers and local businesses.   Hotels and resorts have cost advantages over the myriad of co-working startups, as well as many excellent locations for this purpose, brand recognition, and the opportunity to provide food and beverage, additional personal services, and amenities.  Zoku in Amsterdam (established in 2016) is among the terrific examples –  a self-described “workmeetsplay hotel” concept for the global nomad.

 

The advantages of  the hotel industry are apparent with recent events.  WeWork is the Softbank-funded co-working company that has illustrated the difficulty of its business model; that simply being a well-funded first mover without any sustaining competitive advantages, is no business model at all.   As Covid-19 has weakened all co-working companies, the hotel industry is poised to make larger inroads.

 

In September 2020, AccorHotels has announced its £35 daily fee “Hotel Offices” work spaces, with the added perk of room service and lobby bar (in many locations).   Proper Hospitality is partnering with Industrious to bring the work-from-hotel concept to its hotels in Austin, San Francisco, and Santa Monica, with additional hotels to come.  Scandic Hotels, Sheraton, and Moxy Hotels (Marriott) have also announced similar programs.

 

Proptech firms such as LiquidSpace are bringing tech platforms to coworking, allowing any property owner to inventory and work with tenants desiring co-work, shared, or nearby remote places to work.   These Proptech applications are similar to the disruptive economics and connectivity of sellers and buyers, that companies  like Uber have brought to other industries.

 

 

Coworking Companies - the Latest

 

 

For More Information

 

We track the industry and the prospects for the future of co-working spaces and players, for clients exploring anchor tenant possibilities for projects.  For more information about the co-working industry, its players, history, and recent deals, click here:

 

Co-Working Companies – the Latest

Cold Chain Logistics is Attracting Investor Interest

Cold Chain Logistics is Attracting Investor Interest

Cold chain logistics is attracting investor interest as a real estate asset class, given its increasing demand across industries.   Although cold chain is a specialized kind of asset, it is part of the broad range of facilities within the office and industrial facility sector.

 

Cold chain logistics companies handle temperature-controlled and temperature-sensitives goods.  The logistics include all or part of the supply chain, including procurement, storage, transport, and distribution.   Refrigerated goods handled in the cold chain logistics industry include foods, beverages, and bio-pharmaceutical products (life sciences), among other items.

 

The increased investor interest in cold chain is interesting since many of the large operators and portfolios are somewhat historic having gotten their starts in the early 1900’s.   United States Cold Storage got its start in 1899, for example.   And Americold Realty Trust (Atlanta) traces its origin story back to 1903.

 

Now, newly-established global real estate conglomerates such as Constellation Cold Logistics S/A and Qualianz, each established in 2020, are bringing asset management and best-practices techniques from other industries.   And we’re seeing the acquisition and consolidation transactions to achieve operating footprints than can better support client supply chain issues, such as Lineage Logistics’s recent acquisition of Henningsen Cold Storage (in May 2020), and Americold Realty Trusts’ acquisition of Agro Merchants Group (The Netherlands)- also in 2020.

 

 

Cold Chain Logistics Facilities

 

 

For More Information

 

More information about the the cold chain logistics industry is available through our ongoing tracking services for clients.   A summary of some of this tracking information is available for review, clicking here ==>

Cold Chain Logistics Companies – the Latest

 

life sciences facilities directory

Life Sciences Real Estate is Hot

Life sciences real estate is hot among property developers and investors, and has emerged as a highly-desired real estate asset class.  “Life Sciences” refers to the booming industry made up of such industries as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical devices, genetics and genomics, and research and development (R&D).

 

Life sciences real estate is exceptionally hot among investors, as 2020 heads towards year-end.   The life sciences industry was already a top economic sector as 2019 came to a close, and this Covid-19 pandemic year has only propelled investor interest in the industry.

 

Life sciences facilities are typically clustered in areas with strong university research and teaching programs in the life sciences, and situated in proximity to other facilities and their tenants.  In fact, seven of the top 10 biological science programs are at graduate universities located in the top life sciences clusters of Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego.

 

Some of the top life sciences clusters includes the following cities and districts:

 

  • Boston-Cambridge
  • San Francisco bay area
  • San Diego
  • New Jersey
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Washington, DC – Baltimore
  • New York City greater metro area
  • Philadelphia
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago

 

 

Life Sciences Real Estate is Hot

Life sciences real estate is a hot real estate asset class among real estate investors and developers.

 

As part of the office and industrial real estate asset class, life sciences properties are a more specialized and generally more expensive facility than typical general-purpose office and industrial properties.    The pairing of university bio-science research with private-sector life sciences companies seeking to leverage such research, is a more fine-tuned version of the well-known Science and Technology Parks that got their start in the 1950’s.

 

For more Information

 

We track the life sciences asset class on behalf of our clients.   We maintain a summary of this tracking online, which is available by clicking here ==>  Life Sciences Facilities Directory & Industry Players

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