Costa Mesa, CA, June 5, 2009 – HICAP UPDATE Japan wrapped up in Tokyo at the ANA InterContinental last week, and followed the successful launch of HICAP UPDATE Southeast Asia in Singapore at the Ritz Carlton Millenia a few days earlier. Both events exceeded the organizer’s expectations in terms of attendance and the high quality of attendees and both events presented a reality check about the investment climate today in Asia. The HICAP UPDATES pointed to better days ahead in the not too distant future.
Over 400 industry leaders from across Asia and the world attended the HICAP UPDATES. Both events kicked off with a leading economist; Jesper Koll, President & CEO, Tantallan Research Japan opened the Tokyo program while Philip A. Bowring, Columnist, International Herald Times opened the Singapore program. While Japan was expected to come out of the recession slightly behind Southeast Asia, both regions are expected to see growth again by late 2009, or early 2010 pointing to a better hotel investment future.
Overall, the mood of the delegates at both conferences was practical, cognizant of today’s economic realities, and focused on the future. Many investors expressed interest in acquiring hotels, and if the lenders weren’t quite ready to provide debt, some investors expressed a willingness to buy hotels for all equity, and secure the debt in two or three year’s time. The rebound in acquisitions is expected to be led by local and regional private firms and high-net worth individuals and families.
A back-to-operating-basics sentiment also prevailed in Japan, where the lowered profitability of current hotel operations, was leading to serious discussions of how to better manage assets, and run hotels more efficiently. “The pendulum has swung and it is now a buyers’ market. We expect to see a number of high profile hotel assets trade around the region but not necessarily at fire sale prices,” said HICAP UPDATE Southeast Asia speaker Mike Batchelor, Managing Director, Investment Sales Asia, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.
The speakers in Singapore expected deal activity to increase over the next six months, while those in Japan were more cautious and foresee growth in deal activity to start more slowly. October 14-16, 2009, the hotel investment community leaders will gather again at the InterContinental Hong Kong at the original Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP). HICAP will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and is Asia Pacific’s largest and most prominent hotel investment conference. HICAP looks to be a great bellwether of how fast the economic recovery will take place in Asia.
First Trailblazer Award to Peter A. Barge
HICAP UPDATE Southeast Asia featured the presentation of the first Trailblazer Award. The award was presented to Peter A. Barge, Chairman, Asia Pacific, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels by Tony South, Chief Development Officer, Asia Pacific, InterContinental Hotels Group on May 21, 2009 at HICAP UPDATE Southeast Asia.
“We are thrilled to be presenting HICAP Trailblazer Award to Peter Barge. His accomplishments, beginning with the founding of Transact and then leading Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels’ groundbreaking efforts in Asia Pacific really set the standard for the regional real estate transaction and advisory business, “ said Jim Burba, President of BHN.
“We felt it was time we collectively recognized Peter for his significant contributions to our industry,” said Robert Hecker, Managing Director, Horwath HTL. “Peter was a real pioneer. His efforts really blazed a trail for the industry. Not only has he been an outstanding leader; he’s also inspired many people and mentored some great leaders in a very successful career. We’re very proud to be presenting this award to him.”
The HICAP Trailblazer Award will be a first for the HICAP events. The award is presented selectively to only the most deserving recipients and will not be awarded every year.
A simple yet powerful navigational instrument, the sextant was invaluable to sailors and is still in use today. We chose the sextant as a physical representation of the HICAP Trailblazer Award to symbolize Peter’s having traversed and led the way for others in the industry.