Hotel Industry Returning to Normalcy?

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It's beginning to look a lot like the old days: big-ticket transactions, banks looking to lend and a new brand announced every few weeks.

A news story Monday quoted executives from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. saying now was a great time to be lending to the hotel sector. Another story over the holiday weekend detailed Accor's plans to expand the Sofitel brand in the U.S. and launch a new lifestyle brand called So.

Earlier this month at the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show, newly formed Advaya Hospitality announced plans to create several new lifestyle brands, while in September at the Lodging Conference Virgin Hotels and B Hotels & Resorts were introduced.

Also Monday, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels projected global hotel transaction volume would increase 30 percent to 40 percent next year. A recent wave of trophy assets being bought by public REITs has driven up the average selling price per room to levels not far off the all-time high in 2007.

With as far as things have fallen since then, it's hard to believe the industry is all the way back, but judging by the recent news, many believe it is or soon will be.

Hopefully it is a return to normalcy, and some lessons have been learned, so there's not a return to the lunacy that helped lead to this mess.

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