Hotel CEOs: 'The Worst Is Behind Us'
Hotel executives this week agreed that the "panic" throughout the industry has mellowed, and most believe a return to more prosperous times is closer than they previously assumed. Midtier and budget brands, which have enjoyed a degree of insulation during the ongoing recession, may be particularly well-positioned, though most executives from companies with luxury brands also expressed optimism here at New York University's International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. "We are actually hopeful and are starting to believe that there will be some signs of the year improving," said Choice Hotels International president and CEO Stephen Joyce. "The unemployment [rate] is still growing, but at a much lower rate than we have seen previously. People will begin to believe that this, too, will turn, and, as a result, we will begin to see a much stronger third and fourth quarter [and] into next year, hopefully getting out of this negative trend."