In early 2016, JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group named Managing Director Gilda Perez-Alvarado the new lead of the Global Hotels Desk. Shortly after, she became the first woman to win the Jack A. Shaffer Financial Advisor of the Year Award at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), prompting Lodging Magazine to do an extensive profile of her career and achievements.
With six months in her new role under her belt, national recognition for her accomplishments and a recent wave of media attention, Perez-Alvarado has been thrust into the spotlight of foreign hospitality investment. Through constant conversations with foreign investors, she has unique insight into offshore capital and where investors are looking to acquire new assets.
According to her findings, foreign investors are interested in the United States because it’s a transparent and liquid investment market.
“Right now our country has a very strong economy, so there is quite a bit of strategic capital coming in,” she told Lodging Magazine. “Additionally, our currency is getting stronger, and that is a huge financial motivator, especially for Chinese investors.”
China is experiencing a significant increase in outbound tourism and, as a result, is currently one of the United States’ biggest hospitality investors. Though foreign investment into U.S. hospitality assets is expected to continue at a steady pace, one challenge foreign investors could face is speed given how competitive the market is.
“The U.S. lodging market is extremely active, and it’s very diverse in terms of investors,” said Perez-Alvarado. “Investors must be able to close transactions quickly in order to win their target deals, which is something many foreign markets aren’t accustomed to.”
As macroeconomic fundamentals shift and the commercial real estate industry progresses through the current cycle, navigating the U.S. lodging market will be a dynamic challenge. Perez-Alvarado offers this advice to hospitality investors:
- Treat every deal differently. Every property has a story, and every transaction is unique. Focus on the details and ensure that you are considering all angles for each project you tackle.
- Keep the current cycle in mind. When analyzing potential deals, consider where you are in the current economic cycle and where you might be one year, five years and ten years from now. Also take the type of asset into consideration, whether it’s a trophy asset or a portfolio of economy hotels, for example, as the investor universe varies from type to type and so will your exit strategy.
- Prioritize relationships. Hotel transactions involve many different parties –ownership, brands, management companies, employees, etc. You need to maintain healthy, positive relationships with each of them to keep deals on the right track.
It’s an exciting time to be working among the world’s most active hospitality investors. Regardless of what happens in the economy or the next real estate cycle, foreign investors will be the center of attention given how truly global our industry has become.
Managing Director, JLL's Hotels & Hospitality Group