Confessions of a Hotel Developer

Richard Friedman, President and CEO of Carpenter & Company, on what makes a successful hotel today.

Courtesy of Carpenter & Company

Everybody in the industry is bullish on Boston. Here we are seemingly resistant to terrible economic changes, with biotech and high-tech and medical and tourism businesses. Boston is a very healthy market for the hotel business—I think one of the best in the country. But I refuse to call it a hotel “boom,” because “boom” to me means “bust,” and I don’t feel like that’s happening.

What’s happened now is all the big brands—like the Marriotts and Hiltons—have moved into this lifestyle space. Boutique hotels have gone mainstream. And today, there definitely is more appeal to local people, not just travelers. All of these hotels—or almost all of them—have some food and beverage offerings that appeal dramatically to local people.

Ten years ago, people renting hotels were all tourists; now I think hotels have become part of the city’s living room. It’s back in fashion for people to go and have a drink or dinner or be in the scene at hotels, as opposed to before, when hotels had coffee shops and who would want to go there, right? In order to have a successful hotel today, frankly, you have to reach out to locals.

See more from The Great Boston Hotel Boom.