New York Hotel Investment Conference

I just returned from the annual NY hotel investor conference. Every time I get on the plane to come home from New York, I feel like I need a shower. Its nasty, noisy and full of crazies and for the life of me, I don’t know how people live there.  The hotel I was staying in was in the middle of times square and the sidewalks were just filled with all manner of humanity and every year I realize more and more that I live in a bubble. I love God, country, family, honesty and clean living but in New York, that lifestyle is considered old, outdated and weird.

This will likely be my last NYU conference because I simply don’t enjoy it anymore. Our clients are getting younger and younger. When you are making a sales presentation, it is commonly referred to as a “pitch.” Well, after two days of “pitches” with 28-year old’s, I think it is time to let the younger brokers go to these conferences.  Ha

The highlight each year I go, is eating at Juniors restaurant at times square. Juniors is a 50’s style diner next to all the Broadway shows that has been operating for 70+ years now and the food is incredible. They have like 150 menu items but the one I always order is, don’t laugh,,,, the turkey and dressing dinner platter with real cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy. It is divine so I always get it the night before the conference starts so I have the energy to deal with all the investment newbies/kiddies.

 Now, I see many people that I have known for years, and we always have a laugh but the real money in the room is all the young kids who work for public investment firms. So, if eating at Juniors is the highlight of a hotel investment conference,,,,, I guess that means it is time to stop going. Ha. KT

Men and the sound of a car

Years ago, my wife and I went to the Rod-Run in Pigeon Forge to buy a muscle car. I had a trailer and 25k in cash. Needless to say, I was serious. There must have been 3,000 cars at the show. Before Elaine and I  started looking at 9am, she said to me, “now honey, don’t buy the first car you see. Take your time and get the one you want.” Well, the first car I seriously looked at was a 72 Chevelle SS that was completely done and show quality. I moved on to see the rest of the cars. Around 3pm that afternoon Elaine went from, “don’t buy the first car you see” to “would you make you mind!”

We went back to the first car, and I ask the owner if he would start the car and let me drive it. When he started the car there were probably 10 guys including me standing there and a group of wives. All 10 men, stopped, turned and were totally engrossed at the sound of the car. The wives never even stopped talking. It was as though nothing had happened. All us guys were standing there big eyed like a frog in a hailstorm.  

My point is to a guy, the sound of the vehicle may not be everything, but trust me, it is important. I have a hybrid SUV that shuts off when you stop at a light. Mine is a real hybrid so there is no little button to push to keep the car running, so it goes quiet when you are stopped. Of all the things that took the most getting used to, that was it. As the world moves into the all electric car market, we will all probably have one eventually. My recommendation would be to add an actual engine sound and they would sell a lot more. There is just something off when a Tesla pulls up and you didn’t hear it coming. Guys like a deep rumble because it makes them feel young again. Therefore, my perfect all electric car would have the same sound as a 70 429 Boss Mustang with a ¾ cam lope. KT

Unrequested advice

Ever heard the term, “timing is everything?” Well, it is true when it come to giving advice. Many times, people say, “can I give you a piece of advice?” Nine out of ten times that approach falls flat. Until a person is ready to receive your insight and advice, keep it to yourself until you are asked for it.

Like many areas of life, the only person that really change the direction, is that person. All the advice and persuasion in the world will not cause that person to choose another direction. The best counselors will lead a person to make the decision on their own. When they make it on their own, there is a much better chance of change.

We had daughters and there is no better example of what I am saying that trying to get a daughter to follow your advice. You can huff and puff but until that child makes the decision on their own, you will not change them. Oh sure, you can mandate certain things like bedtime, restrict TV time etc. but the big decisions will need to come from them.

Isn’t it that way with God also? He lets you just run your path the way you want to until you come to a hard stop and ask him, “lord, tell me how to fix it.” As with any father, he steps up and impresses his advice in your spirit only because you are ready to hear the advice. Before that moment, you did not want to hear from God. You were doing life like you wanted to. Only until you are ready to lean into his understanding will he act. At least that is my experience.

Ron White is a comedian and is probably not the kind of guy you want to spend a lot of time listening to. Ha. That said, he was telling a story about an argument with his wife when she said, “let me tell you something about you that you didn’t know.” Needless to say, the conversation didn’t go well after that.

I think if you show love first and patience second, the person you are trying to help will be much more receptive to your advice. We as guys, want to fix everything quickly. It is our nature but matters of the heart just do not work that way. It takes time and trust. Being there and being present is probably the greatest gift you could give. KT

Keeping a stamp book

In the old days, people would save stamps in a book to redeem for gifts. Today, some people collect wrongs, slights, hurts and betrayals in a mental “stamp” book and wait to bring it out in an argument. In the heat of the moment, they take out their stamp book and say things like, you did that, you said this, you didn’t do that, you, you, you.  

That must be a very tiring way to live life but there are many people who live by this philosophy and keep their life in a stamp book close to their heart. I was once deeply hurt by some friends, and I was tempted to lash out but a quiet spirit inside led me to just forgive them and move on. Forgiving them was the best thing I could have done because holding on to it, would only hurt me. It is like pointing a finger at someone only to see three fingers pointing back at yourself.

Keeping a stamp book waiting to redeem it, causes strife, anger and resentment which can result in you losing your way. Forgiving them, allows you to go forward with your life. There are people that live their whole lives blaming someone else for their pain. You have heard that revenge is best served cold? Well forgiveness is best served hot right when it is happening. It saves you a lot of restless nights and second guessing of yourself. Jesus forgave the Romans while he was being crucified on the cross, so surely, we can forgive a cross word or hurtful deed, or an untruth said about us. KT

Doesn’t matter what the market was before. Only what it is now

I talk to hotel owners every day that still believe their hotel is valued the same as it was a year ago. Well, its not. I tell them very gently I can only deal with the market as it is today. Maybe it will come back and even exceed last year’s value but today this is what we have. They don’t like it, but they know it is the spoken truth.

I am sure business owners on October 25th 1929 felt the same way. Black Tuesday (as it was called) was the day before that started the great depression. It lasted for 10 years. I feel sure that people that owned horses and buggies felt the same way when they saw Henry Ford’s new invention coming down the street. Developers continued to build grand train stations even after they saw a passenger plane overhead. The day after the invention of the internet, I am sure people thought, “that won’t ever become anything important.”

It takes people a while to adjust to the new normal in business and in their personal lives.

With interest rates where they are today and reports of them going even higher, it has certainly changed our business model. The way we valued hotels a year ago no longer works today, and this high interest rate environment will probably last for several years. I don’t see the US getting back to the almost “free money” we had for the last 5-7 years. The 08-09 housing crash was caused by cheap money with no background checks. They called those “NINJA” loans. It meant “no income, no job and no assets.” Isn’t that the dumbest thing you ever heard? Back then you could walk into a bank with no money, no job and get almost a 100% home loan. It is no wonder we went through the housing crisis.

My point- Look at today and deal with the market we have today because you can’t ever go back, and you can’t fast forward to a better time. All we have is what we have today. KT