Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What ALIS Needed Was a Little More Laughter

Maybe it would have been better to just take an anti-depressant and stay home? Here at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in San Diego, I had the opportunity to sit through two days of general sessions. One speaker after another marched out to the stage and gave their own take on just how bad things have gotten in the lodging industry. Some of the speakers used highly illustrative and detailed charts and graphs to emphasize the severity of the downturn. In a panel format repeated each day, leading hotel company executives went on and on about their inability to get financing, declining occupancies and falling rates. Did I feel sorry for them? Not a chance. Their companies just went through several record years of prosperity. Many of them are probably millionaires because of it. (Of course I empathize with those of you out there who are truly suffering from the recession.)

At last year's ALIS, a lot of time was spent highlighting the many advantages to building and operating green hotels—definitely more exciting and interesting! At this year's event, there were just two 35-minute sessions dedicated to the topic, and those sessions were held during lunch in a corner of the trade show area.

I believe there should have been much more attention given to the importance of going green to reduce costs, improve asset value, etc.—especially at this critical time. I guess that would have made too much sense. Thank goodness those speakers who participated in the green sessions all agreed that the green movement is as strong as ever and that greening operations makes all the sense in the world in a recessionary economy.

Maybe next year the organizers of ALIS will pay a little more attention to green lodging? If you attend, be sure to check the lunch schedule first...because you never know.

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