Cornell partners with UniFocus to answer key questions facing the hospitality industry

Hoteliers and hospitality managers will soon gain new insight on the hospitality consumer through a strategic alliance between two research leaders. Cornell Universityâs Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) has joined forces with UniFocus, a leading provider of research and consulting services for the hospitality industry, to give researchers access to a wealth of UniFocus data on consumer behavior in the travel industry.

ãResearchers can use these unique databases to explore a variety of key issues facing the industry,ä said Hotel School Professor Gary Thompson, executive director of CHR. ãIt furthers one of our core objectives, which is to help the industry gain new knowledge on consumer behavior in hospitality.äÊ

UniFocus Hospitality Loyalty Management program includes guest, meeting planner, and employee attitude studies, coupled with labor and financial management systems. Each year UniFocus conducts 3.5 million guest surveys, 250,000 employee surveys, and hundreds of property assessments and implementations. These programs are supported by professional services that deliver performance assessments, organizational reengineering consulting, and training and development.Ê

ãWe are very excited about our new association with Cornellâs Center for Hospitality Research,ä said Mark Heymann, chief executive officer, UniFocus. ãOur broad array of experience enables us to offer unparalleled property and company performance comparative analysis. Teaming our data resources with Cornellâs research faculty to study critical issues facing the industry is a win-win for hospitality managers.



Other real estate "rules of the road": look under cap-rate rocks; watch out for unexpected motivations

John B. (Jack) Corgel, Ph.D.

A new report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research presents eight "rules of the road" for hotel developers&emdash;but sometimes the road takes an unexpected turn. For example, the connection between hotel gross operating profits (or losses) and property values is not as solid as investors or property managers might think.

In the report "Eight Rules for Competing in Hotel Real Estate Markets," Professor John B. (Jack) Corgel compiles and analyzes the results of several studies using his own research, as well as other studies and data collected by such firms as Smith Travel Research, Torto Wheaton, and PKF Consulting. The report is available at no charge from

"In comparing the changes in ADR and occupancy to changes in property valuation, I came up with the "tale of two cities" concept," Corgel said. "ADR and occupancy are not always concurrently related to real estate values, because interest rates and other capital market forces also factor into valuation."

With regard to overbuilding, Corgel presents a detailed examination of the hotel industry's construction cycle. He notes that it has been nearly 20 years since the industry has experienced the abnormal supply growth that harkens back to the 1980s. Moreover, when demand began to weaken in 2000, Corgel points out that the supply side of the commercial real estate markets remained disciplined, rather than succumb to the temptation of overbuilding.

"My report benefits greatly from the fact that we now have systematic data that document the hotel markets' behavior through more than one complete market cycle," said Corgel, who is the Robert C. Baker Professor of Real Estate Management at the Cornell Hotel School. "Additionally, we have firm statistics showing how the market reacted through the wide variety of environmental conditions of the past 15 years."

Here are some other "rules of the road." Industry practitioners and observers are familiar with the fact that the hotel industry is cyclical and that those cycles are subject to various types of time lags. However, Corgel warns that the lags don't always operate as advertised. Another "rule" is to look under the rocks covering hotel cap rates, because they can move quickly and without warning. An unexpected "rule" is that the use of floating interest rates are more appropriate for hotel projects than many borrowers might think.

"Here's one last 'rule' that you must never forget," Corgel warns. "People can mess things up! When it comes to hotel property valuation, you always have to look at the motivations of individual buyers and sellers, because any pair of buyers and sellers can overprice or underprice assets according to their own perceptions."



The Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell Hotel School has formed partnerships with three organizations, furthering its mission to shape the global knowledge base in hospitality management. Joining the Center as corporate friends are KPMG Japan-Global Management Directions, The Resort Trades and Wage Watch.

Global Management Directions, a member firm of KPMG International's Hospitality and Leisure Group, is the premier provider of business advisory services to the hospitality industry in Japan. The Resort Trades, a publication of Wilson Publications and The Trades Publishing Company, reports on the timeshare and vacation club industry. WageWatch, Inc. is the leading provider of web-based compensation surveys for the hospitality industry.

"With these agreements the Center continues to broaden its reach into markets around the world," said Gary Thompson, executive director of the Center, which now has 43 corporate affiliates. "Each alliance gives us new perspectives on the key issues facing the industry. As we broaden our network, we are better able to focus our work on the most timely and relevant topics."

In addition to being a corporate friend of the Center, Wage Watch is also providing data that will be used in Center projects focus on compensation issues. Wage Watch conducts local wage and benefit surveys in 55 markets in the United States and Canada . Its web-based compensation and benefits surveys assure subscribers of the most current and accurate wage, salary, and benefit data for the hospitality industry.

"WageWatch is very pleased to be a partner of the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research," said Randy Pullen of Wage Watch. "Our comprehensive hotel and timeshare compensation database, along with Cornell's tremendous research capability, should greatly benefit hospitality human resource professionals."

About The Center for Hospitality Research

A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the Center's 43 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The Center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly. To learn more about CHR and its projects, visit 

CHR Partners and sponsors: AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp., Bartech Systems International, Cendant Corporation, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, HVS International, JohnsonDiversey, Inc., Kohinoor Group, Marsh's Hospitality Practice, Nestlé, Smith Travel Research, Southern Wine and Spirits of New York, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Thayer Group of Companies, Willowbend Golf Management, and Wyndham International.

CHR friends:  ARAMARK • DK Shifflet & Associates • • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality World • • Hotel Asia Pacific • Hotel China • Hospitality Initiatives India • Hotel Interactive • Hotel Resource • International CHRIE • International Hotel and Restaurant Association • KPMG Japan/Global Management Directions • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • Mobile MoneySaver • National Hotel Executive Magazine • PKF Hospitality Research • Resort+Recreation • The Resort Trades • • Shibata Publishing Co. • The Lodging Conference • TravelCLICK • UniFocus • WageWatch, Inc. •