Cornell Hospitality Research Summit Outlines Hotel Industry Recovery

Feb 04, 2011

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,

Cornell Hospitality Research Summit Outlines Hotel Industry Recovery

Keynote speakers and presenters see rapid demand increases, but slow price recovery
Ithaca, NY, February 3, 2011 – Even as the hotel industry recovers from the recent recession, hotel operators must find a way to work on pricing and distribution in the brave new world of the internet. Keynote speakers and presenters at the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit (CHRS), produced by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research in October 2010, discussed the status of the industry's recovery and outlined the job ahead. The Cornell Hospitality CHRS Proceeding is available at no charge from the CHR at

Keynote speaker Randell Smith, CEO and co-founder of STR, noted that although occupancy for U.S. hotels crashed to 54 percent in 2009, the industry as a whole remained profitable, due to improved operating and capital structures. In the same vein, Mark Woodworth, president of Colliers-PKF, said that the industry survived the worst year on record, but is experiencing slow price improvement, in part due to the "jobless recovery." Both Smith and Woodworth said that the end of supply additions will help the industry build occupancy, as demand has recovered rapidly.

Another keynote speaker, Gerald Lawless, executive chairman of Jumeirah Group, pointed to another potential limitation on hotel growth: the number of airline seats available for a destination. He urged the world's governments to increase the number of routes to top destinations. Woodworth also noted the strong correlation between airline seat capacity and hotel demand in major markets.

Smith explained the importance to the hotel industry of finding a way to work with online travel agents (OTAs) in pricing and distributing rooms. Presenter Kurt Ekert, chief commercial officer of Travelport GDS, pointed out that OTAs will continue to grow, if only because substantial levels of business currently go through nonelectronic channels. He sees much of the growth coming in developing markets. Expedia's Brian Ferguson, vice president of supply strategy and analysis, suggested that hoteliers think about how would-be guests use the internet. He pointed out that in particular they are searching for value. Along the same lines, Smith declared that "value is king."

These speeches and presentations covered just one of many topics presented at the CHRS, which brought together top-level industry practitioners. With four keynote speakers and a total of 45 breakout presentations, the CHRS also covered such issues as restaurant issues, revenue management, social media, and sustainability.

The CHRS was made possible by the following sponsors: Avaya, Charlie's Grilled Subs, Hotel Business,,, (HNN),, and J.D. Power and Associates.

Thanks to the support of the CHR partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 81 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Schneider Electric, Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

Center Friends: • American Tescor, LLC • Argyle Executive Forum • Berkshire Healthcare • Center for Advanced Retail Technology • Cody Kramer Imports • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • • • Hospitality Technology Magazine • Hotel Asia Pacific • Hotel China • • Hotel Interactive • Hotel Resource • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • J.D. Power and Associates • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • LRA Worldwide, Inc. • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • PhoCusWright • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • RealShare Hotel Investment & Finance Summit • Resort and Recreation Magazine • • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • The Wall Street Journal • The TravelCom Network • Travel + Hospitality Group • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM