12/10/2014 | By Sarah Borchersen-Keto
Drew Sims, chairman and CEO of SoTHERLY Hotels Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHO), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2014: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
SoTHERLY owns full-service hotels primarily located in the high-growth markets of the southern United States.
Sims said the last nine months have been the best in the nearly 60 year history of the company.
He underscored that SoTHERLY has seen growth across its portfolio, with total revenue almost 40 percent higher year-to-date and adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) about 41 percent higher. Meanwhile, the third quarter saw revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth of almost 14 percent, Sims added.
“Clearly we’re in the sweet spot,” he said. “We’re very pleased with what’s transpired.”
Sims also reflected on the company’s $61 million purchase of the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta earlier this year. Built in 1911, the iconic hotel is located in Atlanta’s revitalized midtown business district. The Georgian Terrace “has outperformed on almost every metric,” according to Sims.
“We’re very pleased with the investment,” he said.
Sims noted that Atlanta’s midtown business district is seeing a high level of commercial and residential construction activity, in part due to Emory University’s new Proton Therapy Center, which is due to open in the fall of 2016.
Sims also discussed some of the trends in the lodging industry that SoTHERLY is paying close attention to. One such trend concerns the buying habits of millennials.
“Millennials are buying hotel rooms in a much different way. We are very focused on how these buying decisions are made,” he said. Sims added that millennials are “looking for an authentic experience that’s based on geographic location, so we’re trying to capitalize on that.”