Industry experts generally look to January's Americas Lodging Investment Summit and last week's New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference to gauge the future direction of the hotel industry. But to get the real story, I can't imagine a better place than the Navy Pier Convention Center in Chicago later this week. That's when several thousand members of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association will gather for their annual conference.
The organization topped 10,000 members last November—in just its 20th year—and a recent report from PKF Hospitality Research showed those members own 40 percent of all hotels in the U.S., a whopping 20,156 properties with 1.8 million rooms. They employ almost 600,000 employees, who are paid almost $10 billion a year in salary, and they spend $31 billion a year on operating costs and $900 million on capital improvements. Of those 20,156 hotels, 75.3 percent are limited service and 62.9 percent are branded.
If you want to hear what's going on at the ground level of the hotel industry, this is the place to be.