John Murray, president and CEO of Service Properties Trust (Nasdaq: SVC), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITweek: 2021 Investor Conference. Services Properties Trust is managed by The RMR Group.
Murray said he believes that as consumers emerge from the pandemic, they will be “hoping that their next travel experience is really going to be an experience,” and that presents an opportunity for the lodging sector.
“Right now...leisure travel is coming back most quickly,” Murray noted.
Murray also discussed how Service Properties Trust recently rebranded 200 hotels under the Sonesta flag. Because many hotel workers were furloughed during the pandemic, the new Sonesta properties were able to hire “talented industry professionals that have experience with the biggest brands.”
“[Sonesta also] opened a shared services office in Orlando to help them provide accounting, IT, and HR services across the platform of extended stay and select service hotels,” he said.
Turning to how business travel may evolve post-pandemic, Murray said initially, he expects continued remote work and video conferencing, with only just a few workers getting back into travel, due to the cost savings of limiting work travel that many companies experienced during the pandemic.
“Over time, humans are very social by nature, and business travel will come back—I just think it’s going to take longer,” Murray said.