Neil Shah, president and COO of Hersha Hospitality Trust (NYSE: HT), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2019 Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
Shah said that Hersha’s core markets—New York, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, northern California, and Miami—are some of the most valuable and visited markets in the world. In the short term from an operating standpoint though, Hersha said they all faced challenges in 2019 due to trade issues, geopolitical uncertainty, and increased property taxes.
“That’s led us to be much more focused on the cost containment front,” Shah said.
Shah also discussed Hersha’s newly-acquired or repositioned hotels, which account for nearly one-third of the REIT’s overall portfolio, and said they provided more than 10% growth in 2019. “We expect them to stabilize in 2021, so we have one more significant year of growth to go in 2020,” Shah said.
Shah also said the short-term rentals market continues to have a significant impact in major gateway markets today but that it remains a leisure segment alternative.
“Our business is still primarily focused on business transient customers…but short-term rentals have and will continue to have a significant impact on our business,” Shah said.