The Swartz Report: Travel and Hospitality

When I wrote this month’s blog post, it was March 17th. Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day to all! I fondly remember the days of having a beverage or two, settling into Fuzzy’s South or the old Coach’s Bar, both in south Kansas City to start the festivities. If we were lucky enough to have the 17th fall on a Thursday or Friday, it was time to settle in for 12 hours of basketball for the first rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

While I have not participated in those days in years (actually decades ????) I am acutely aware of these memories as many are not celebrating this day for the second consecutive year. However, we are heading in the right direction. And with patience, understanding and respect, we are on the verge of gathering with others for all events.

Travel and Hospitality

Travel and HospitalityEarlier today, I participated in two separate events relating to the travel and hospitality industry.

The airline industry reported the first day of 1M+ passengers since March 16th, 2020. Granted, this is aided by the Spring Break vacationers. But as more become vaccinated, the industry believes this to be the start of leisure travel picking up and moving closer to 2019 summer numbers.

Limited-service hotels will be the first to see increases in daily occupancy, but the full service and high-end hotels will continue to suffer until business travel commences. One suggested a business travel target date of September 10th as this follows the Labor Day weekend; the country should be in a position of herd immunity and conferences and conventions may be targeting this time frame to host large, in person events.

How does this affect the property tax world and valuations?

We will see…

Some jurisdictions have taken a proactive approach this year by reducing valuations on theatres and hotels. We’ve witnessed decreases ranging from 20-30% before appeals have been filed, as the county assessors are anticipating appeals on these types of properties.

We did not see this carry forward to the sit-down restaurant industry. This is interesting to me – while this industry adapted and has been creative to account for pickup service, the value of the seating/dining area has been diminished.  How do we account for this component of economic obsolescence? Clearly a factor (i.e. the pandemic) external to the property is driving down the valuation. But how is this measured when the business creates alternative methods to derive income and maintain business operations? Does this become a business valuation or the valuation of the real estate?

These are the questions taxpayers need to assess and address when contemplating the value of their property.

We are now in full swing – business personal property filings are due; real estate appeal deadlines will be occurring at the end of March, April, May and June; railcar property tax returns are due at the end of March, April and May and my golf game is suffering as a result. (Gladly, I may add!!!)

Thank you so much for continuing to read about my/our journey. As always, if you have questions, comments or concerns, please reach me at the following –

Stay safe, stay healthy and get vaccinated when the opportunity presents itself!

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