The FORT Podcast: @SomeHotelGuy

On this episode, Chris talks with the anonymous “Some Hotel Guy” ( about the hotel industry. SHG details the nuances of owning & operating both independent and branded hotels, the process of working with “The Big 4” Hoteliers, how the industry was affected by COVID-19, and how he sees the industry moving forward. Enjoy!

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(03:04) – What’s your position within the industry?

(04:00) – Do you operate under one or multiple brands?

(04:49) – What types of hotels are you involved in?

(05:47) – Describe Upper Mid-Scale, Upscale and Upper-Upscale Hotels

(07:26) – Do you have to get approved as an owner/operator to be associated with one of these brands?

(09:26) – Is there ever conflict within owners working under multiple brands?

(10:22) – Scenario: I’ve never owned a hotel, but I own a great piece of land for a hotel and I approach Marriott: How does that conversation go?

(11:53) – How does the payment structure work as an owner?

(13:45) – Do the “Big 4” have a true monopoly over the resources available to hotel owners such as booking software?

(17:15) – What’s the difference between an independent hotel and brand affiliated?

(17:49) – In an independent scenario, is the owner often the operator?

(18:31) – Who’s bearing the risk in a situation of an owner franchising a hotel and hiring an operator?

(22:12) – How do you see the owner/operator relationship changing in light of the last year?

(24:08) – When did you know something was about to happen from a business standpoint in 2020?

(25:51) – What happened from your perspective in April/May for hotel Owners & Operators?

(28:48) – Did the industry suffer a lack of clarity in terms of a uniform response across the country?

(31:!7) – Are closures determined on local government mandates or customer demand?

(32:34) – How much do labor markets play into what hotels decide to do?

(34:19) – Is there anything you’re seeing legislation-wise that will be beneficial to the hospitality industry?

(35:10) – What are the Big 4 brands mandating as it comes to cost structures over the next couple of years? Where are you saving money and where do you need to add costs?

(38:19) – Is there anything that keeps you up at night or are you more optimistic as we move forward?

(41:19) – What’s the % of hotel stays that are international vs. domestic in a market like New York?

(42:40) – Is the international issue more that we won’t be letting people in or that they won’t want to come?

(43:34) – Are there hotels that will fare off better than others? Or will everyone recover the same?

(44:49) – Have there been any notable transactions as it pertains to M&A within hotels?

(48:35) – What’s going on at hotels that aren’t open?

(51:26) – What’s the state of capital markets?

(53:49) – Are you having to underwrite differently now?

Twitter Questions

(54:57) – What does the hotel industry think about Airbnb and its place in the industry?

(57:10) – Is Airbnb going to get into the hotel industry?

(59:11) – What are your thoughts on the Kayak hotel opening?

(1:00:21) – If you had $100m, what would you go do in the industry?

(1:01:53) – Do you see the check-in experience changing?

(1:03:02) – Is there any technology that interests you right now?

(1:04:42) – What amenities matter in hotels or things on the horizon people want?

(1:06:35) – Room Service vs. Uber Eats/DoorDash

(1:08:41) – “If I own a 1960’s hotel in Trenton, NJ that is primarily longer stays for low-income folks: Do I sell now and cash out before it’s too late? Or, how long do people with roach motels have before it’s an obsolete asset?”

(1:10:17) – What are some common mistakes independent operators make pre-opening?

(1:11:57) – What are some common mistakes inexperienced operators make?

(1:14:17) – Is there still room for independent boutique hotels in the industry?

(1:15:06) – SomeHotelGuy’s Fear of Heights


Episode Summary

The discussion dives straight into hotel real estate transactions, unwrapping the different dynamics and expectations that wrap around the processes of buying and selling. SomeHotelGuy highlights the absolute need to understand the unique challenges of the market, emphasizing the crucial role of strategic planning and nuanced decision-making to ensure transactions not only meet investor objectives but also sync with market dynamics, ensuring investments are profitable and sustainable.

Moving along, the talk goes through the complexities and practical challenges enveloping hotel property development. From working with contractors to managing unexpected challenges and ensuring adherence to quality and regulatory benchmarks, SomeHotelGuy stresses the importance of strategic planning, practical problem-solving, and adaptive management to navigate development projects towards successful completion and starting operations.

Switching gears to property flipping and quick sale strategies, the conversation explores the fast-moving world of the flipping market, discussing various aspects from identifying properties to managing renovations and strategic pricing. The shared insights shine a light on strategies and approaches that investors can use to navigate the turbulent waters of the flipping market, ensuring decisions are strategic and in line with market trends and investor objectives.

Moving into the world of rental properties and long-term investment strategies, the conversation dives into the various aspects of managing rental properties. From managing relationships with tenants to property maintenance and regulatory compliance, SomeHotelGuy offers a wide-angle view into the world of rental property management, sharing insights and strategies that ensure sustainability, profitability, and regulatory adherence in rental property investments.

As the discussion unfolds, the conversation moves through the financial landscapes of hotel real estate investment. SomeHotelGuy, sharing perspectives on optimizing financing, managing investment portfolios, and ensuring financial sustainability, provides a guide through the financial management strategies crucial in reducing risks and ensuring sustained profitability in hotel real estate investments.

In the later segments, the dialogue explores the intricacies of risk management, discussing the various risks that investors might face in the hotel real estate market and the strategies to mitigate these risks. The conversation highlights the importance of strategic planning, prudent decision-making, and judicious management in ensuring investment strategies are not only lucrative but also secure and sustainable.

Looking forward, the discussion explores future trends, challenges, and opportunities in the hotel industry, providing listeners with a roadmap to navigate through the evolving landscapes of the market. From technological advancements to changing consumer expectations and market dynamics, the shared insights offer a comprehensive overview of the future trajectories of the hotel industry.

In the final moments of the discussion, SomeHotelGuy and Chris Powers wrap up the overarching themes and insights shared throughout the dialogue, providing listeners with a holistic perspective of the hotel real estate sector. From investment strategies and financial management to operational strategies and future trends, the dialogue provides a comprehensive guide through the complex terrains of the hotel industry, ensuring listeners are equipped with the knowledge and insights required to navigate through the multifaceted world of hotel real estate investment.

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts

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