Safer, more dynamic downtown LA boosting hotel demand: Benjamin Young [Video]
Compared to even a couple of years ago, LA’s hospitality sector is far more robust, thanks to a concerted effort to spruce up downtown and the city’s infrastructure, says Benjamin Young, AEG’s Vice President of Asset Management.
It wasn’t always the case, but now there’s good reason to be optimistic about the prospects of the hospitality industry in downtown Los Angeles.
Benjamin Young should know. He is the Vice President of Asset Management for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) based in Los Angeles.
He is responsible for the performance of the highly successful dual-brand properties – The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles and JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE, as well as the Courtyard and Residence Inn Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.
Young has more than 20 years of experience in the lodging industry with a focus on development planning, acquisitions investments and business strategy.
On the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles, Young spoke to TOPHOTELNEWS on how the downtown LA hotel market is far more robust than 2 years ago, aided by a safer, more dynamic city center.
LA’s hospitality market far more robust
Young: It’s interesting because if you were to ask me two years ago, I would have been far more nervous. But in 2017, when we saw some of the new supply come online. With Hotel Indigo LA Downtown opening in 2017, InterContinental and some of the others, the fact that we have not felt any impact from any of the new supply gives me great confidence. Not just what you would say in your gut, but we have real numbers. So really, from a demand perspective in downtown LA, myself and my company, we’re very optimistic.
Dynamic, safer downtown LA driving hotel demand
Young: When 10 years ago, we opened our hotel, we knew we’d have corporate demand. We knew with the Convention Center next door, we’d have people coming in on the weekdays, Monday and Friday, But we never knew that people would want to come to downtown LA whether they’re on vacation or for an extended stay. But because of everything else that’s gone into downtown LA — because of all the restaurants, because it’s so much more livable down here, so much more safer, I think that’s really what’s driving the demand.
LA has takers for all major Marriott brands
Young: Marriott has 30 brands. And really, what you want to do with each brand is to hit a different demand; have different drivers. There’s four brands that I oversee — the Residence Inn, the Courtyard, the JW and the Ritz-Carlton. And every one of those has a different demand from different clientele. And the great thing about downtown LA is we have all of those clients.
Biggest challenge: rising cost of operation
Young: Our biggest challenge is the rising cost of operations. We’re always looking for creative solutions that does not necessarily impact the customer. We seek more back-of-the-house solutions that make operations more efficient. And so whether that’s more capital investment behind the house, that’s what we’re always looking to do.
Thoughts on the TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
Young: This is my first time, yes, and it’s a great event. You get more personal interaction here, more than any other hotel conference I’ve been to.
Benjamin Young was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles 2019. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.
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