During my first five years at HVS, the time and energy I have invested in my career has provided me with so much more than I could have imagined. HVS has provided an unmatched platform to learn the fundamentals of real estate appraisal and further my interest and passion for the hotel industry. I have developed irreplaceable personal and professional skills throughout my tenure at HVS. As a Director, each day is different, requiring good time-management skills related to preparing for or performing fieldwork, conducting hotel and market research and analyses, writing reports, supervising and reviewing other people’s analyses and reports, and being on client calls, all while working to develop my own client base through research, coffee and lunch meetings, and sales calls. It can be taxing at times, but the reward reaped from being able to make a difference in your local markets and establishing connections with colleagues, brokers, and clients is worth it.
The following is a sample of a typical week:
- Arrive at the office and organize my day: check and respond to any emails received over the weekend, review my planner for the week, and create or revise my to-do list.
- Read some news and catch up on the few subscription emails that I receive every morning about the happenings in DC and national real estate and hotel trends.
- Attend a “mindfulness” seminar that a colleague leads every Monday via webcast.
- Start working on a part of the written portion of an appraisal report that coincides with a project I traveled for on the previous Friday. This entails creating graphics; describing the hotels facilities and amenities; providing the reader insight as to the ownership, franchise, and management of the hotel; and updating information about the overall happenings and health of the neighborhood and market area where the hotel is located.
- I research, analyze, and enter data statistics for the area’s applicable airports, unemployment levels, major employers, convention center performance, and office trends.
- While I had a good basis for the competitive hotels before going into the field on Friday, I spend some time now researching the hotels that are competitive with my hotel. I reach out to hotel managers who weren't available to speak last week or during my fieldwork to try to obtain more intel on how the competition is performing and their insights on the overall market.
- While working on my write-ups and research, quite a few emails funnel through regarding other projects; I respond to these emails and revise my planner as necessary based on the revisions.
- I spend some time reaching out to hotel owners to see if they would be interested in hosting a networking event that other local hotel industry folks and I plan every other month.
- I finish up and proofread the information I wrote earlier for the appraisal report and send the document to our editing team for review.
- Run a check of my emails one last time and review my Tuesday to-do list before heading home.
- Respond to any emails, review my to-do list, and plan for the day. Read up on any news or local information. Based on an article I read about a new development, I spend some time researching and cross-checking our database with the information. This is largely how I end up prospecting new clients and leads.
- I make a call to that developer and some other contacts I have at lending institutions to see if they are actively involved in new hotel deals or loans.
- Join in on our monthly briefing calls to hear from HVS offices around the U.S. to learn about internal happenings and to get updates on our progress in reaching certain goals throughout the different services.
- The written report for a project that I am supervising was sent to me, so I spend a fair amount of time reading this report, applying some changes, and requesting some revisions, which should be made by the junior associate.
- The data that I ordered last Friday came via email, so I begin to work on the numbers portion of my valuation analysis. This process comprises importing the data, reviewing the historical data trends, analyzing the estimated individual performance for the compeititve hotels, forecasting market growth per demand segment, and forecasting the growth pattern of the subject hotel’s future occupancy and average daily rate.
- Our editing department gets in touch with me regarding the write-up I sent yesterday and, together, we make a few tweaks to be sure the reader understands exactly what I am relaying about the hotel.
- I call a potential client with whom I spoke with three weeks ago to get an update on their development timeline. They have been moving along and are now ready to receive a proposal for a feasibility study report from HVS.
- I prepare the proposal for engagement to send to them, listing out the objectives of the feasibility report, describing the scope of the specific project, what research goes into the report, the timing, and the fee.
- I send this proposal through editing and then to the prospective client via email, do another check of my own emails that have come through, and organize my planner for Wednesday.
- I arrive at the office, clean up my inbox, and read an article or two before I get back to work on the analysis I had been working on yesterday.
- Now that I have the forecasted occupancy and average rate of the hotel, I can begin to forecast the income and expense of the hotel.
- I spent time last week before my site inspection on Friday researching comparable hotel’s tax assessments on the county’s website, and I cross-check the hotel’s positioning against those assets based on room count, age, and overall product offering.
- From our extensive database of hotel operating histories, I retrieve comparable statements and analyze the statements to be certain that I forecast the appropriate income and expense. I also review the historical statements of the subject hotel (I entered the data last week before I went into the field, prior to my interviews with the General Manager and Director of Sales).
- After making sure all the income and expense levels are appropriate or revised as necessary, I move to the sales comparison approach of the appraisal, where I pull area hotel transactions and data in which to compare with the hotel I am working on.
- I revisit my email quickly before going to the gym to attend a scheduled fitness class. One thing I love about HVS is the flexibility on the days when you might have appointment. I appreciate that I can work around this time slot, even if it means staying a little late at the office today to make sure I stay on track.
- Once I am back in the office, I review the hotel transactions I pulled earlier. I perform some research and make a few calls to hotel staff and brokers involved in the sales to make sure I fully understand what the comparable hotel sale entailed, such as if there were special considerations taken into account during the sale and to see what condition the hotel was in at the time of sale; maybe it needed to undergo a property improvement plan (PIP) that would have resulted in a reduced sale price.
- I finish the valuation by using software to gauge a replacement cost for insurance purposes for the hotel and evaluate the current market trends for investment parameters for this hotel type, location, and risk involved if the hotel were to sell as of the date of my inspection last Friday.
- I check my emails, revise my to-do list for Thursday, and head home
- I respond to some emails from the prior evening, return a missed phone call, and organize my day.
- I spend an hour working on an article publication about Annapolis, Maryland, which highlights the details of the local lodging market and any changes or developments readers would be interested in.
- A new project comes in for a hotel in Washington, D.C., and I take some time to speak with the person who sold the assignment to learn about what the client is expecting in our report.
- I reach out to the point of contact to schedule my fieldwork for the following week and send them a list of requested due-diligence items needed to complete to report.
- I get my files organized and spend about 20 minutes calling the hotels that I know will be competitive with the hotel that I’m consulting on to try to set up interviews on the same day that I requested to go visit and tour the hotel.
- I do a quick search of the hotel and its parcel on the Washington DC GIS site to learn about its parcel shape, legal description, Business Improvement District (BID) zone, assessment history, and zoning code.
- I look over the changes that the junior associate made to the report I reviewed earlier in the week and confirm that its up to HVS standards before sending to the editor (one of the last steps before we send something to the client).
- I begin writing about the analysis I completed yesterday, which would include discussion about the hotels sources of demand, historical trends of the market and the hotel specifically, our reasoning behind the forecasted growth of the market and hotel’s occupancy and average rate, and a description of the projected income, expense, and comparable hotel sales.
- Once completed, I send that off to our editing team, make a few necessary calls to clients and perspective clients, clean out my inbox, and call it a day.
- As always, I take the first moments in the office to respond to emails and read some news articles.
- The feasibility study proposal I sent came back signed by the client, so I spend some time getting that all sorted out in our system and drafting a kick-off email to send to the associate who will work on the project so that he knows more about the scope of work and what is expected of him in terms of information and deadlines.
- I update my planner and Outlook schedule given that the General Manager of the new DC project I am working on confirmed via email my date and time to meet.
- The GM also sent historical profit & loss statements, so I enter these financial statements into the HVS models to comply with the accounting standards of lodging properties. I analyze the trends and questionable line items to be able to ask more direct questions about certain line items in the statements with the GM when we meet.
- I have scheduled to meet a contact that works for the DC Convention Center to discuss what’s been going on lately, how citywide conventions are trending, and his general opinion of the city’s convention calendar. We typically do this once or twice a year over coffee in the afternoon.
- I get on a scheduled phone call with a client to review the results of a market study that a colleague of mine and I sent early last week. On the call we discuss our report and general insights, including the strengths and weaknesses of their proposed development so that they can make the most informed and appropriate decisions as they move forward in their potential acquisition.
- After receiving the reviewed and edited written parts of the report that I sent to our editing department earlier in the week, I begin to put together the full draft appraisal report. Once finished, I proofread it and create a PDF; it is ready to go to the client.
- I schedule out the next week in my planner, review any emails from the afternoon, and leave the office with an empty inbox for the weekend.
While this provides some insight of a week in my life, I will say again that its always changing (and never boring). Every week and day is different, and my position requires me to be flexible and to manage my schedule adequately, take and place phone calls, quickly be available for reviews, and respond to time-sensitive emails, all while completing my work and respecting the deadlines set for projects. HVS provides me with the opportunity to attend real estate appraisal classes, conferences, networking events, or community service projects with other HVSer’s or on my own. I am grateful for the position I am in and am very proud to work for HVS and with this amazing and experienced group of people.