As president and head of CBRE Hotels in the Americas, Bill Grice leads a team of over 225 capital markets, advisory, project management, and research professionals solely dedicated to the lodging industry. Grice has over 20 years of hotels and hospitality experience as a lender, debt and structured finance intermediary, and brokerage platform leader.
He shares with Kara Filer, vice president of strategic partnerships and business development for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), what CBRE Hotels is all about, the innovations that are changing the company’s approach, how the industry is evolving, and more.
Can you give a bit of background on your company?
CBRE is the global leader in commercial real estate services and investments. With over 115,000 professionals worldwide, CBRE professionals are ideally positioned to create solutions for our clients, in every commercial real estate sector and across every geography. CBRE’s mission is to realize the potential of our clients, professionals, and partners by building the real estate solutions of the future. From instilling confidence in today’s decisions to reimagining tomorrow’s spaces, the CBRE team continues to thrive in complex and ever-changing environments.
What innovations have changed the way CBRE Hotels approaches its hospitality clients over the past few years?
Spurred in part by the pandemic, we have witnessed a dramatic acceleration in the application and adoption of technology across commercial real estate, along with a major shift in the strategic importance of the built environment. Every day, CBRE Hotels professionals are actively engaging with our clients, leveraging our unparalleled experience, access to data, technology, and industry-leading research to assist our clients in proactively managing their real estate portfolios, identifying new investment opportunities, providing creative recapitalization strategies, advising on operational optimization, and aiding with ESG initiatives.
How did you first hear about AHLA and what made you want to get involved with the organization?
As a seasoned lodging industry professional, it has been a pleasure to work alongside of AHLA leadership and your membership to both support and advance AHLA’s various initiatives. CBRE Hotels actively participates in the Hospitality Investment Roundtable and the ForWard Ambassador Program, enabling our team to stay involved and actively advocate on behalf of our industry.
How do you see the hotel industry evolving over the next five years?
We see many positive tailwinds for the hotel industry in the years to come. Our sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience and continued to rebound from the depths of the pandemic with significant improvement across the board. As new supply growth remains steady, our industry is experiencing noteworthy increases in demand, occupancy, RevPAR, and ADR.
Demand is likely to continue to stay robust as consumers continue to increase their spending on travel and lodging, relative to other areas of personal consumption. Positive demographic trends will also help to bolster hotel performance as two of the heaviest traveling segments, Millennials and Baby Boomers, have more flexibility, more money, and an increased desire for more experiences tacitly leading to increased demand for leisure travel.
The new work-from-anywhere paradigm is also a positive trend for hotels as approximately 50 million U.S. office workers are leveraging locational flexibility, aiding room night demand and increasing the average length of stay. At the same time, group demand is increasing rapidly with U.S. convention volume set to exceed prior peak levels in 2024. Paired with improving inbound international travel, these important tailwinds should continue to benefit the hotel industry for many years to come.
What do you like most about being in the hotel industry?
As the preeminent global lodging advisor providing capital markets, research, advisory, and project management services to our clients, I have the distinct honor to work alongside the most dedicated and talented group of hotel experts in our industry. We are each motivated by our longstanding client relationships, and playing a part in their continued success is immensely rewarding to the entire CBRE Hotels team.