11/19/2021 | by
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1315_REITworld_Rob Hays_2021-11-03_v1

Rob Hays, president and CEO of Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE: AHT), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITworld: 2021 Annual Conference.

Hays discussed some of the signs of industry recovery he is currently seeing. Hotel rates are almost back to where they were pre-COVID, he noted, adding that this is unusual to see when emerging from such a unique situation as the pandemic. Rates are within 5%-10% of where they were pre-COVID, he said.

Meanwhile, occupancy rates are getting back to the low 60% range, he said. While leisure and resort properties are leading the recovery, Hays said it is hoped that business travel will start to rebound once large national companies return to the office in full force in the new year.

Hays also said the acquisitions transactions market is particularly healthy, noting that private real estate funds are “pouring tons of money” into transactions. With almost all assets back to pre-COVID values, and many well above, previously reluctant sellers are now reconsidering, he added.

Hotel debt markets are also healing, Hays said. He added that he expects 2022 will be a “massive” year for acquisitions. For its part, Ashford entered the COVID crisis with too much leverage, Hays said, and will “dip our toe in” as the balance sheet heals.