In my customary stance as a hotel industry gadfly, I usually ask impertinent questions in search of pertinent answers. Today, however, I want to give recognition to three hotel industry colleagues whose accomplishments are remarkable and unique:
In a brilliant and savvy move, NYU Dean Robert Lapiner named Bjorn Hanson as divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at New York University. Hanson joined the full-time faculty at the Tisch Center in 2008 after chairing its board of advisors for seven years. He holds a PhD from New York University, an MBA from Fordham University, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
Prior to joining NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Hanson held the position of global industry leader, hospitality and leisure at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) for almost twenty years. He founded the firm’s hospitality and leisure practice and has held various positions at PwC including, national industry chairman for the hospitality industries, national service line director for hospitality consulting, national industry chairman for real estate, real estate service line director, and national director of appraisal services. Prior to joining PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hanson was a managing director with two Wall Street firms where he led banking and research departments for lodging and gaming.
He also co-chaired a committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and was president of the Cornell Club of New York. He has been the Cornell University “Hotelier of the Year,” a Conti-Distinguished Professor at Penn State University, and holds CRE and CFF professional designations.
Hanson is an author and frequent speaker who has been quoted in almost every major business periodical and industry journal, including Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Fortune, US News & World Report, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal (US, European, and Asian editions), Barron’s and The New York Times. He has appeared numerous times on CNN, CNBC, FOX, WCBS, PBS, the Today Show, and media outlets. Hanson has published chapters in all four editions of HOTEL INVESTMENTS and has been named one of the 75 industry leaders in Lodging magazine’s “Profiles in Leadership,” and as “One of the 33 Most Influential People in the Travel Industry” by Travel Weekly. In 2008, Hanson was awarded the Lodging Hospitality Stephen W. Brener Silver Plate Award.
If you haven’t been a subscriber to the Peter Greenberg Worldwide newsletter, you are missing one of the greatest source of travel information on the Internet. Peter is omniscient, outspoken, and articulate. For example, in his June 10 newsletter, he and his guests reported on:
• Deepwater Horizon oil spill
• Off-season travel
• Philly’s funky street-art scenes and vibrant Latino enclaves
• Portrait of American travelers in the face of the new economy
• Trip Advisor’s “Dirtiest Hotels” list
• Highlights and unique qualities about Washington, DC, neighborhoods
• Great American Food and Music Fest
• Luxury travel rebound
• New 580,000 square foot US Capital Visitors Center
• Best use of Fodor’s Online Guides
• Recent award to the Indianapolis Zoo
• How to prepare a meal for the President and other high-profile dignitaries
• Review of “Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World”
• The new US$2 million US Presidential Gallery in Madame Tussaud’s Washington, DC, museum featuring wax figures of all 44 presidents, plus a perfect replica of the Oval Office.
• Deals of the Week
• Peter’s weekly radio show: live, podcasting, and on-demand from all over the world
Peter Greenberg is the CBS News travel editor reporting regularly on “The Early Show.” He may be best known as the travel editor for NBC’s Today, CNBC, and MSNBC from 1995 until 2009. Previous to NBC, Peter was travel correspondent for ABC’s Good Morning America from 1988-1995. Greenberg is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and television producer in his own right.
Also known as the “Travel Detective,” he has published several books with that moniker – Greenberg was brought to NBC’s Today by Jeff Zucker. Previously, Greenberg was a correspondent for Newsweek, among other publications. In addition to his Today duties, Greenberg produces travel segments for America Online; is a contributing editor for Men’s Health; produces a radio show, Peter Greenberg Worldwide; and an online travel site, PeterGreenberg.com. He also produces television specials, such as the highly-rated “Inside American Airlines: A Week in the Life.” Additionally, Greenberg serves as the travel ambassador for AARP, offering travel advice to members.
He also produces and hosts a television series called The Royal Tour, which aired originally on the Travel Channel. The series featured various heads of state giving Greenberg and viewers a personal tour of their country. It has featured a number of world leaders including New Zealand’s Helen Clark, Abdullah II of Jordan, and Peru’s Alejandro Toledo.
His books include the Travel Detective series: Flight Crew Confidential, Hotel Secrets, and The Travel Detective Bible. He has also published a travel health and fitness book, The Traveler’s Diet. His newest book, a New York Times bestseller, is called Don’t Go There: The Travel Detective’s Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World. Perhaps unusually for a travel journalist, this book highlights places readers should avoid.
His “Immutable Laws of Lodging Investment” article, which appeared on the Hotel-Online website on June 14, 2010, is an absolute revelation. Here are his brilliant thirteen laws in no particular order:
– With few exceptions, hotels are not an appropriate asset class for a long-term hold
– Never fall in love with real estate
– Location is and always will be the most important criteria in differentiating real estate – and hotels are no exception
– Leave some chips on the table
– Do not equate luck with skill or intellect
– Easy credit is a leading indicator that the top is approaching
– If you can’t build a hotel so as to open in the initial stages of a growth cycle, you probably shouldn’t build it at all
– Cap rates should be viewed as a derivative of rather than an indicator of value
– There will always be a replacement source of irrational capital
– Leverage over 65 percent loan-to-value is a high-risk strategy for hotels
– Understand the nature of various industry participants and diligently observe their behavior
– The degree to which pricing is rational is inversely proportional to the amount and cost of capital in the system
– The first sign that a down market is about to turn positive is when the vast majority of industry participants have joined in its funeral dirge
Let me add no. 14 to Warnick’s prescient immutable laws: 14. Hire rich as your hospitality real estate consultant, no matter the cost. He will help you make the best decisions, which will provide you with the best results in the long run.
Richard Warnick, ISHC, CRE, is president of Warnick & Company, a Phoenix-based strategic advisory and investment banking firm specializing in hospitality and recreational real estate. The company serves as an advisor to many of the world’s leading hotel and real estate companies, as well as hotel owners, international financial institutions, and government agencies. Warnick & Company is also one of the top hotel brokerage firms in the United States. Reach him at 602-955-9393 or firstname.lastname@example.org .