The Chambers Group

Managing director: Andrew N. Olsen

Specialty: Hospitality industry consulting in development, financial analysis and operations, with management services offered through Chambers Lodging
Year founded: 1990

Headquarters: Seattle

Hospitality industry consultant Andy Olsen sees his market continuing to be “a fairly difficult environment” for the near term.

“The market has improved a bit but not by leaps and bounds ... people think it began with September 11th but the hospitality market has really been difficult since early 2001,” said Olsen, who has nearly 30 years of industry experience. “(Tourist) travel and commercial travel has changed dramatically and I don’t think anyone knows when it’s coming back strong.”

As for supply, Olsen said there hasn’t been a big change locally except for the new Marriott hotel in Seattle. “There are some projects looking for development and in some instances they may make sense. It depends on the market and the developer. But (development) won’t be as it has been in the past,” he said.

In today’s market, “everyone is trying to find new business and expand their portion but they also have to find ways to get rates (and revenues) up as well ... one problem they face is that Internet reservations from third-party sites are cutting deeply into their revenues,” he said.

“The hotels have used the Internet to increase demand at the expense of rates. A trend to watch is the efforts of the hotels to get people to come directly to them at their own Web sites or their central reservation point by offering lower rates than the third-party sites,” he said.

One bright spot, he said, is that “some hospitality markets in the West are even further behind than us.”

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