HD Vegas Hospitality Show Update

We spoke with over 60 CEOs during our 48 hours in Vegas and the comments felt polarizing this year. For some, attitudes were dampened by the recent Chinese tariffs. They felt decline in attendance and trepidation as key players in the hospitality sector exited the show. Several commented that HD-Vegas is becoming a regional show for the west coast players while BDNY is becoming the major show. Keep an eye on this.

However, most participants cited good business and strong backlogs, particularly those with North American manufacturing/sourcing. We saw many showrooms with pricing options clearly displayed with variations for China tariff pricing, Vietnam non-tariff pricing, and North American pricing. We also saw several showrooms take advantage of the tariff buzz by declaring their booths “Tariff free” zones. It’s a complicated picture with a great deal of ambiguity, everyone concurs that a tariff solution is needed—and soon. Interestingly the Vietnam sourced goods are frequently showing higher prices due to the demand in that country, given the mass movement out of China.

Quote of the Market #1: “The value of my US factory just went up again” stated one of the CEOs of a domestic manufacturer.

As we walked the hall and spoke with industry CEOs, many discussed the following topics:

  • Embedded Electronics: With technology becoming more and more ubiquitous and iPhones, iPads, Air Pods, and laptop computers continuing to need power and serve as drivers of activity in common areas, we are seeing a new trend of embedded chargers and speakers in upholstery making the rounds in hospitality, commercial and residential settings.
  • Capital & Strong Balance Sheet: With the closure of JLF and this market’s announced exit of Flexsteel from the custom commercial market, many purchasers are asking more questions about the stability and financial solvency of their vendors. This is particularly important in the hospitality industry given the prevalence of deposits as a standard practice of doing business. As a result, many believe this cycle will favor the big and cash rich companies who can provide long-term assurances to their customers of financial adequacy and depth.
  • AirBnB and VRBO: As millennials continue to use apps and home booking sites for their vacation travels, it is putting pressure on hotels to up their game to stay relevant. This is leading to more ambitious common area projects designed to attract and retain customers.

Quote of the Market #2: “The real game changer for the hospitality industry… driverless cars. Interstate-side hotels will become obsolete, as snoozing through the night as your car continues towards the final destination becomes common place,” foretold one forward thinking industry CEO.

The merger and acquisition market remains vibrant with a nice balance of buyers and sellers. Companies that demonstrate strong 5+ years of improving sales and margins are commanding a premium from Private Equity, Strategic and Adjacent Industries buyers. We are working with several companies in the space now and hope to make some announcements later this year. The M&A market is good!

Stump & Company has had a very strong 36 months with fourteen ‎total transactions closed, with four of them in the Hospitality Sector. We would like to do more!

We will be at Neocon in June. Call us if you would like to discuss opportunities in this active climate.

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