Laurus Corp CEO Talks Philly's Strong Value-Add Hotel Market
Philly's a good market for value-add hotel plays. Laurus Corp CEO Phil Cyburt, whose LA-based company recently finished a major upgrade of the 146-room Hilton Garden Inn/Fort Washington, tells us why.
1) What does an upgraded hotel need to compete with other hotels in its class? (Besides location.)
Travelers, especially on business, are looking for refreshed, efficient product with a brand they know. Important features include large rooms, and updates such as new carpets, modern furniture and fixtures, new beds, completely refreshed guest bathrooms, thoughtfully curated artwork and improved lighting. These, among other improvements, were included in the upgrade of the Hilton Garden Inn/Fort Washington, Phil notes.
2) What's the amenity that business travelers and leisure travelers want the most?
A number of things are important to both kinds of travelers, Phil explains, but food and beverage stand out. "We've looked to add expanded food and beverage options on-site, and more importantly, improved options, so that the hotel's restaurants are more of a destination, and not simply a place to eat and drink because guests don't know a great local restaurant. A competitive hotel should offer a great place to eat or drink in the area."
3) Overall, what's your outlook for the Philadelphia-area hotel market?
Solid. Philadelphia, with both its diverse economy and its strong tourist attractions, is ideal for bringing in both business and leisure travelers. In Fort Washington, for instance, there's a strong financial and healthcare industry base, which will continue to drive business travelers to the area. "If your property can stand out, you can capture a good slice of that business," Phil says.