While hope may not be a sound business strategy, there's a lot of optimism floating through the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference underway this week in Atlanta. While few of the 700-or-so attendees believe a turnaround in either the economy or hotel business is around the corner, most see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The bad news, of course, is the tunnel may be very long and full recovery may not occur until next year or even 2011.
But that's the nature of the Hunter Conference, which founder Bob Hunter calls a meeting for “Main Street, not Wall Street.” The entrepreneurs meeting in Atlanta this week aren't willing to just roll over and wait out the recession. They firmly believe they can collectively or even individually will the industry back to prosperity. Obviously, the forces at work are way beyond their control, but healthy doses of confidence—along with solid strategies to minimize the effects of the downturn—will mitigate the effects of the crisis. Nearly every owner, developer or operator I spoke with has an action plan to take full advantage of the turn in the market. Those plans range from acquiring properties to developoing new, but the common thread is a plan for the future.
There's no moping, hand-wringing or blame-placing; just calculated and rational plans for prosperity. That's what they do on Main Street.