Be Our Guest: Discussing LA’s Position as a Hospitality Hot Spot at Bisnow’s Nov. 30 Event
Los Angeles, with its warm climate, bustling nightlife, and trendy restaurants and hotels, has all the qualities needed for holding large-scale events. LA has been chosen as the host city for the world’s most popular sporting events, from the 2022 Super Bowl to the 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Olympics.
Christy L. Reuter, a partner at Blank Rome LLP and chair of the firm’s hospitality practice, is optimistic about the lucrative impact that these large, well-attended events will have on LA’s hotel and hospitality industry.
“In the coming years, these high-profile sporting events will attract national and international travelers alike to LA,” Reuter said. “I think it’s going to be an extremely exciting time for the LA hotel and hospitality market.”
Reuter said hotels will be positioned for success during the World Cup and Olympics, especially after LA housed guests during the Super Bowl. Historically, in host cities for the Olympics, in particular, hotels and restaurants book up quickly.
Investors, developers and owners of hospitality assets in the region may wonder how to prepare in advance of welcoming guests for these large-scale events. Bisnow’s LA Hospitality Summit on Nov. 30 will provide registrants with more insight into the state of the hospitality industry. The panelists will explore development challenges, market trends, the next wave of hotels and preparing the landscape for the World Cup and Olympics.
Reuter will lead a panel called A Glimpse Forward: The Future of Hotels in Los Angeles, which will explore trends and obstacles in the sector and the opportunities that lie ahead for CRE professionals.
Bisnow sat down with Reuter to discuss the hospitality market’s performance since 2021, Blank Rome’s process of working with clients and what she looks forward to learning at the summit from professionals who are ingrained in LA’s hospitality market.
Bisnow: How would you describe the performance of the LA hospitality sector in recent years?
Reuter: The state of the market in LA in 2023 is relatively steady, with some caveats given the current financial market and other issues. However, there are some very exciting developments to come, which will certainly be an indicator as to the future of LA hospitality.
2021 was a banner year for California hotel deals. Deals slowed down through 2023 for several reasons, including increases in interest rates and the cost of construction and labor, in addition to local laws affecting transfer taxes.
In the past few years, the hospitality market has seen a strong performance and a nice rebound from the pandemic. However, from the data I have seen, it seems like both leisure travel and business travel are still not back to pre-pandemic levels. Businesses are tightening the screws on expenses, particularly in the threat of a recession.
The 2022 Super Bowl at the new stadium in LA was a huge boost to the hospitality sector, and there are a lot of developments that are happening throughout the LA market. LAX, for example, is working on infrastructure improvements, and projects are underway to improve public transportation in the city. There have been significant hotel developments in LA in the last few years, in addition to new hotel developments in the works. I think it will be a really exciting time for LA as it heads toward the 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Olympics.
Bisnow: How does Blank Rome work with its hospitality clients to protect their interests during each stage of deal-making?
Reuter: We start with understanding our clients’ goals: We like to get involved right from the very beginning of a deal, including at the letter of intent stage. We work with our clients to see what, if any, due diligence they’ve performed, and then we also do our own due diligence by looking into the location of the property, the status of the property itself and any legal challenges that may be presented, including zoning issues, liens, violations and any licensing issues, to name a few. Deals obviously have some speed bumps along the road, so we do our best to always remain prepared to quickly assess issues and client concerns and develop a game plan.
We have done a lot of sophisticated hospitality deals in various markets, and LA is one in which we are looking forward to doing a lot more work in the coming months and years.
Bisnow: You’ll be attending the LA Hospitality Summit and leading the panel A Glimpse Forward: The Future of Hotels in LA. What are you looking forward to most about the event and the panel discussion?
Reuter: I am very enthusiastic to be back in LA, and I am really looking forward to meeting some of the top experts, developers and C-suites in the industry. These folks live and breathe this industry day in and day out, and at the LA Hospitality Summit, they will dive into specific details that lawyers do not deal with on a daily basis. To be given the opportunity to hear about the hot-button issues from a group of high-level industry specialists will be invaluable. They will cover what they are looking forward to, what factors go into their decision-making process, particularly in light of how the economy stands today, and what they anticipate in their two-to-five-year plan.
I am also looking forward to hearing from the panel that will address how hotels are making changes, improving design and how they’re trying to be creative in their developments. Particularly in LA, what I’m seeing is a focus on the food and beverage and entertainment and nightlife aspects of the hotel. I think LA is really doing a great job in those spaces.
"Be Our Guest: Discussing LA’s Position as a Hospitality Hot Spot at Bisnow’s Nov. 30 Event," was published in Bisnow on November 16, 2023.