Dr. A. J. Singh, professor and Hilton Hotels Fellow in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University, was guest speaker at the 2016 Asia Hotel Forum Hotel Investment Summit September 6 – 8. On September 9, he spoke at the China Hotel Asset Management Conference. Both events were in Beijing.
Dr. Singh represented The School, as well as the Hotel Asset Managers Association (HAMA), of which he is a member. At both events, Dr. Singh spoke on the current trends and issues surrounding hotel asset management, and at the AHF Hotel Investment Summit he introduced the attendees to HAMA and its Certified Hotel Asset Manager (CHAM) designation.
Dr. Singh oversees The School’s Real Estate Investment Management Minor, and one of his students at MSU, Di Wang (BA ’16), attended the conference and translated his remarks from English to Chinese. A Chinese international student, Ms. Wang lived for 19 years in China, has spent the last four years in the U.S., and will graduate in December. Familiar with the hotel industry in both countries, she noted, “I was very impressed by how fast China is developing right now, especially in the hotel and tourism industries. I’ve observed the popularity of service apartments and destination resorts, and see huge opportunities in asset management.”
Indeed, the theme of the AHF Hotel Investment Summit was “Embrace the Age of Financial Innovation and Asset Management.” It featured over 30 sessions with panels, group discussions, and workshops designed to increase knowledge about asset management and opportunities for project financing. There was widespread belief that with the hotel industry in China undergoing changes, more and more asset mergers and acquisitions are in the offing.
A recent alumnus of The School, Stephany Chen (BA ‘09), also attended the conference and met with Dr. Singh and Di Wang. Stephany is now the vice president of Investment Sales with JLL Hotels and Hospitality in Shanghai, where she recently transferred after five years with JLL in Chicago. Acknowledging that the move is a “fresh start for me,” she nonetheless admitted that “all my contacts were based in the U.S. before, so I understand how things work there. In Asia, it’s been a little more difficult.” Stephany was born and raised in U.S., and is fluent in Mandarin because of her Chinese parents. Talking about the differences between hotel investors in China and America, she commented, “The audience of investors is larger in China, but not all the owners know the hotel business, so there will be an education process involved.” Stephany looks forward to her opportunity with JLL in China.
Dr. Singh was grateful for the opportunity to speak with the participants at both conferences, and says, “We in The School are proud of students such as Di Wang and graduates such as Stephany Chen, both of whom have bright futures in our industry and serve as a bridge between the USA and Asia.”