Krissy Gathright, executive vice president and COO of Apple Hospitality REIT (NYSE: APLE), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2018 Annual Conference in San Francisco.
Apple Hospitality recently announced plans to extend its portfolio beyond Hilton and Marriott to include the Hyatt brand. Gathright said the inclusion of Hyatt offers additional investment opportunities.
“We feel there’s an opportunity to benefit from margin expansion as the World of Hyatt loyalty program continues to grow in value and result in additional direct bookings and lower distribution costs,” Gathright said.
As for revenue per available room (RevPAR) trends, “if you factor out the noise of storms and calendar shifts, we would classify it as modest and steady,” Gathright said. Leisure overall has been strong, she noted, particularly in the Florida, California, and Arizona markets. Southeast markets are also benefitting from lower costs that are attracting businesses and residents to the region, she said.
Gathright also noted that while low unemployment has led to increased wages, which helps consumer spending at hotels, it has also made it more challenging for operators to attract and retain talent. In response, Apple Hospitality has helped managers implement a labor management tracking system to help improve productivity and reduce overtime, she noted. Managers are also being encouraged to offer competitive wages and incentives for good performance.