12/23/2014 | By Sarah Borchersen-Keto
John Murray, president and COO of Hospitality Properties Trust (NYSE: HPT), joined REIT.com for a video interview at REITWorld 2014: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Founded in 1995, Hospitality Properties Trust owns hotels and highway travel centers located throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Turning first to fundamentals for the hotel side of the company, Murray noted that the lodging sector has been in a recovery phase for the past five or six years.
“We’ve continued to see strong growth in demand, so occupancies are up at our hotels. That’s enabled us to grow rates,” Murray said. He added that revenue per available room (RevPAR) “has been up nicely for several years now, and [Hospitality Properties Trust] has been at above average growth rates in RevPAR for the last eight quarters.”
Murray pointed out that the steady recovery has allowed the company to undertake a significant renovation program at its hotels, which has been “very beneficial for our portfolio.”
As Hospitality Properties Trust gets set to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015, Murray reflected on how the company has evolved during the past two decades.
From its origins as a REIT with only 21 hotels in its portfolio and Marriott International as its only operator, Hospitality Properties Trust now owns 291 mid-priced and luxury hotels and works with seven different operators, Murray pointed out. HPT also purchased 185 travel centers, which are operated by TravelCenters of America LLC.
“What’s really changed is technology and asset management. As we’ve grown, we’ve created a very sophisticated asset management program,” Murray said.
Looking ahead, Murray highlighted continued economic growth and muted supply levels as key to HPT’s continued success.
“Hopefully, we can remain disciplined as an industry and the economy will continue to grow,” he said.