IDM was pleased to be featured at the 2016 WH&LA Conference where our Vice President of Business Development was joined by Greg Marcus, President of Marcus Hotels, Johnathan Bogatay, CEO of North Central Group, and with Vanessa Sinders from the American Hotel & Lodging Association for the much anticipated “Straight Talk on the Industry” kick off discussion.
Topics varied from the banner year in occupancy we’ve experienced in 2016 to the anticipation of new technology, however two major topics dominated the stage. First was the discussion of the Fair Labor Standards Act, its likelihood, and its impact on many employees in the hotel industry. Concerns were voiced across the board about affordability, but perhaps most importantly about the development of up-and-coming associates who use extra opportunities to gain additional, valuable experience to cross train themselves and thereby more able to easily move upward in their careers. Sean strongly echoed the sentiment presented by Mr. Bogatay by saying “Many of us began in this industry at entry level positions, including myself. Many explored various aspects of the hospitality industry and moved through the ranks of supervisors and managers of various departments. And with this ruling we all think many of those positions are at risk”. While the law is currently frozen, IDM feels one of their goals going into 2017 is to continue to present meaningful opportunities for our associates in the wake of this potential difficulty and encourages others to do the same.
Another thoroughly discussed topic was the continued momentum in new development and how it would affect not only existing older supply and tired existing properties, but it’s trajectory and how it eventually may start causing the industry a disservice. While occupancy continues to rise at an all-time high for most U.S. markets, a positive sign for developers around the country, the panelists pointed out the reality of an eventual peak followed quickly by highly over-saturated and overbuilt markets, causing problems for all hoteliers. “This isn’t just affecting major markets like NY, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco and Nashville. Wisconsin is seeing significant growth in Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madison and this new supply, both branded and independent, will have all of us critiquing our hotels” Skellie said. While the control of these projects is not in the hands of all hoteliers, your involvement in your city or community and it’s officials can shed light on these realities.
IDM & Sean hope all attendees found value from these conversations and we were thrilled to be at the table. We are proud to continue to support and work with our partners at the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association and look forward to many more conferences to come.