• Testing time for brokers

It is testing times for hotel brokers at present with a decline in volumes of 76% in the first half of this year according to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.

Hardest hit is the Americas, down 81%, followed by Asia Pacific, down 67% and EMEA down 59%.

But JLL Hotels' CEO Arthur de Haast pointed out that at $13.9bn, volumes are currently at the same level they were at in 2004. And volumes are higher than they were in 2002 and 2003.

Not surprisingly, what deals are being done do not involve leveraged private equity. Operators accounted for 22% of transactions in the period, reflecting a shift towards more traditional real estate investment deals, said JLL.

Trading figures from the wider Jones Lang LaSalle property firm indicate just how tough things currently are, with profits in the second quarter down 69%. Even worse were the numbers from CB Richard Ellis, down 88%.

Smaller, hospitality focused brokerages are not escaping. It was reported last week that Christie & Co is making 15 staff members redundant. The total number of jobs going is thought to be considerably higher through natural wastage.

The changes at the firm include the axing of its corporate finance team and it is understood that the intended opening of a branch in Dubai is now on ice.

In contrast, JLL Hotels is opening a branch in Sao Paulo, completing its presence in all the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China.

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