SPOTLIGHT ON Ellis O’Connor, Co-President and Asset Manager, MSD Hospitality

By Sharon Hirschowitz

As Co-Founder and Co-President of MSD Hospitality, Ellis O’Connor has an impressive portfolio of properties under his leadership, including the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and the Hualalai Resort, both on the Big Island of Hawaii, and the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica California. Consulting projects he would also cover are the Four Seasons Bora Bora, a ground-up development in Waikiki Beach still waiting on a name, Oahu, and the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina.

Do you have any exciting projects you are working on at the moment?

Yes many! The redevelopment of our Miramar hotel in Santa Monica, room renovation at the Four Seasons Maui, we are planning a room renovation at Hualalai, helping to stabilize Four Seasons Ko O’lina, the sale of Four Seasons Bora Bora and a potential new build on the East Coast.

What is your approach when considering new properties?

We are long-term capital and only have one investor so we look at non-seasonal locations for “once in a generation” opportunities.  Since our focus is so long term we can ride the ups and downs of the economy and don’t have the pressure to generate the kind of short-term returns that institutional investors have to respond to.

What do you think of the latest economic data? How does it impact luxury travel?

All the data I am seeing is positive and supports the performance we see in our hotels.  According to a STR report in June of this year market fundamentals are all up for the broader US travel industry across all lodging segments.

Where do you see the market heading in the next six months?

We see 2.5% or better REVpar growth thru the end of 2018.

What was the last book you read? 

The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway.