Gilda Perez-Alvarado, the Global CEO at JLL Hotels and Hospitality, leads a specialized team of cross-border investment sales professionals based across the Middle East, Asia-Pacific region, the Americas and Europe. Here, she shares her insights into the hospitality landscape.
What is the current state of the regional hotel and hospitality industry?
Despite economic volatility, the global hotel industry remains strong and resilient, with RevPAR surpassing 2019 levels by 11 percent in the first half of 2023. Most regions, including the Middle East, the Americas and Europe, have fully rebounded. While Asia-Pacific is not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, its performance has surged since China’s reopening, with RevPAR only 7.9 percent behind 2019. The hotel industry is expected to continue improving, driven by the return of group, corporate and international travel. Muted supply growth will also further support the industry, particularly with ADR growth surpassing inflation by 3.2 percent in the first five months of the year.
What are the emerging trends in hospitality?
The hospitality industry is undergoing tremendous innovation expanding new verticals and increasing technology adoption driven by AI. Hotels are expanding their offerings, particularly in the luxury space, as the lines between work, life and play have blurred and the world’s HNW (high-net-worth) population continues to grow. These include private membership clubs, yachts and branded residences. Hotels have also embraced technology to enhance the guest experience, leveraging a range of innovative solutions, including virtual tours, self-service kiosks, predictive analytics and AI-powered chatbots. The integration of digital platforms is also transforming workforce processes, empowering employees with new skills and automating time-consuming processes.
In terms of investment opportunities, which regions or countries do you believe hold the greatest potential for the sector?
Investors are gravitating toward urban, safe-haven markets because of ongoing capital markets dislocation and economic headwinds. In H1 2023, urban hotel markets continued to represent the largest portion of overall liquidity and are expected to further accelerate in the back-half of the year as pricing generally remains below pre-pandemic levels and international demand surges. Must-have hotel assets in markets like Tokyo, Paris, London and New York will remain in high demand as global investors look to deploy capital.
What key statistics can you share with us?
Private equity continues to be the largest acquirer of hotel assets globally as investors raise record funds targeting the sector. H1 2023 also saw a notable increase in new investors entering the sector. In fact, 24 percent of global hotel investment volume was driven by first-time hotel buyers, comprised predominantly of HNWIs (high-net-worth individuals) and family offices.