La Quinta continues to focus its growth south of the U.S. border, targeting Latin America, South America, Mexico and Brazil, said president and CEO Wayne Goldberg at the New York University International Hotel Investment Conference in early June.
“We need to make sure we have the right structure to ensure success in our ability to hit our goals,” he said. “Then we add resources to execute and deliver against the goals we set.”
That structure, Goldberg said, includes people skilled in structuring deals outside the U.S. The company’s first two properties in Panama are expected to break ground this year.
“We anticipate 50-60 hotels opening this year, which is a relatively conservative number,” he said. Of the roughly 200 hotels in La Quinta’s pipeline, Goldberg said 32 percent are under some form of development now.
Deals have started to move, particularly south of the border, he said. “It absolutely has taken off in the last 60 to 90 days,” he said. The company is scheduled to open its 800th hotel within the next month. “We continue to think and act like a small company,” Goldberg said. “It keeps us nimble.”