BREXIT, Trump, Clinton and the meaning of life….or as John Cleese so aptly says in Monty Pythons Flying Circus…”and now for something completely different”…
Not really. My latest blog was due and I had just finished reading the incredible update from my partner Steve who as always – has his finger firmly on the pulse of world events, politics and economies.
However; I am writing at a time of massive uncertainty but sadly; uncertainty, change, terrorism and a rapidly changing world are the new norms. Ugh.
Steve summed up post BREXIT and reminded us the world didn’t end thankfully. Keep calm and invest on! With March looming and the triggering of Article 50, the pound slumped against the dollar yet again and now, something we’ve not seen in years…Brits will find the USA suddenly very expensive and the Americans will hopefully come to the UK in their droves to take advantage of a very affordable United Kingdom!
Ok McGlashan, what about the hotel business? What’s the outlook? As always, with any period of uncertainty where leisure travel slows, companies cut expense budgets and travel costs; our industry will be amongst those likeliest hardest hit and it will be a wait and see and hold tight period of time. As an industry, we’ll do what we always do in our crazy 24/7, 365 days a year business. Keep a stiff upper lip; make the hard decisions on how to drive profitability and fight the good fight, all while trying to protect our greatest asset – our employees and providing our guests with the highest levels of personalized service and a warm smile. It’s what we do.
However – hold on a sec. It’s not actually happened yet. Although we saw some soft impacts on trading, in general our hotels in the UK have continued to perform and our owners have correctly decided to continue to invest in our upgrade and re-branding programs. Come spring next year we’ll have one of the freshest, newest and highest performing UK portfolios. It’s a smart decision. If a recession hits irrespective of soft or hard (just like BREXIT….) what we do know is that the freshest and newest hotels with the best guest service experience delivery win the day and beat out the older, tired hotels and brands.
If and when a softening economy and slowdown occurs, much like investing our own dollars and pounds in investment funds and savings platforms; it’s a great time to be buying and we could see some superb hotel assets trading at well below replacement cost yet again. Fortune favors the brave and buying in a downturn inevitably leads to some big gains when everything comes up smelling roses again.
But enough about the UK. What about the USA? Just when we thought gutter politics may be a reality; this latest election campaign has got deep down in the sewers and each week we resemble guppy fish at feeding time as we sit open mouthed, gulping for air and trying to make sense of insanity. What a sad time in American politics. Those small business owners like us are now bracing themselves for 4 years of Clinton and the killing of our entrepreneurial spirits, while no doubt the Republican party are determining how they rebuild and find a candidate for the next go-around who hasn’t spent too much time talking smack in men’s locker rooms.
And so the hotel business here? Much the same as the UK. We’re not seeing anything yet that suggests massive fallout and by all accounts, assuming the next recession is soft’ish’; we should see continued small gains and healthy competition as new projects come online. We have several new build projects in our pipeline and with 2018 or 2019 openings; we will as always remain positive and upbeat for many years of successful trading!
And to close with those very fine lyrics from Monty Pythons ‘The Life of Brian’
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best…
And always look on the bright side of life…always look on the bright side of life…