Stephen Rushmore Jr: global president and CEO of hospitality consultancy, VHS. Image: Supplied

CAPE TOWN- Africa is of huge strategic value to the hotel investment sector in terms of business, says Stephen Rushmore Jr, global president and CEO of hospitality consultancy, HVS.
Rushmore addressed the THINC Africa conference in Cape Town on global hotel valuation trends on Thursday.
“What happens in the United States is indicative of what is happening elsewhere,” said Rushmore. “It is at the peak of its hotel cycle, which has seen eight years of consecutive growth. Many more markets are close to or at peak. So if you’re a hotel investor, you need to think about where you get value appreciation.”

Rushmore said hotel investors, lenders, and management companies have become “increasingly sophisticated over the past 10 years, and as more data has become available, tighter controls are in place so we don't repeat the volatility of the years past”. He added that hotels are less risky investments, and will attract investors with a long holder period. “If you are looking to the market to deliver value appreciation, be prepared to wait eight to 10 years. For the next several years, return on investment will be driven by property related strategies and not market appreciation,” said Rushmore.

The HVS CEO further said that supply was not a significant risk because it is being absorbed but that construction financing has become a challenge and that entrepreneurial incentive have declined. “In general, around the world, there aren't very many ‘hot markets’ and opportunities are becoming increasingly niche. Specific types of hotels in specific markets,” he said.

Rushmore mentioned he is often asked about Airbnb and if posed a threat to the hotel industry. “At this point in time, not a major risk to your hotel investment. They shouldn't be a battle that the hospitality industry should fight. They cater mainly to the leisure traveler and are inducing their own demand, especially when demand is unaccommodated in the market,” he said.