HOSCO / Blog

Chatting with Dominic Seyrling

Senior Manager Acquisitions & Development, Host Hotels Ltd.

Posted on: September 21, 2011

Dominic graduated from the Ecole hôteliere de Lausanne in 2005, with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Hospitality Management with a concentratiin Finance. He entered EHL with an operational hotel background, having previously worked in various restaurants and hotels in Austria. During his studies, he undertook several internships in various areas of the industry, such as a hotel opening, organizing conferences and as part of a marketing consortium. Shortly after graduation, Dominic joined Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in London as an Analyst.  With his earlier experience working on hotel valuation, asset management and investment assignments, he became a member of the capital markets team dealing with investments across Northern Europe. Throughout his four years at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, he also took part in the company’s international exchange program and spent almost a year in JLL’s New York office.

Dominic currently works at Host Hotels & Resorts, an S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company and the largest lodging real estate investment trust. Host currently owns 106 properties in the United States and 16 international hotels totalling about 65,000 rooms. Following an acquisition of 33 Starwood hotels, which included six hotels in Europe, Host formed a joint venture with an affiliate of GIC and APG, the investment arm of the Dutch pension fund ABP. Host acts as the general partner to the joint venture. Dominic works in the acquisitions team of Host’s 5-people strong London office, which is responsible for sourcing and executing all deals in Europe as well as fulfilling some administrative roles for the joint venture. The current mandate includes the acquisition of managed 4- and 5-star hotels in Europe’s main economies. Approximately €1bn has been invested to date in Fund I. The second fund, launched in June 2011, has a target volume of approximately €1bn as well.

Your day-to-day at Host?

Daily tasks of the job vary from speaking to hotel owners and brokers to source deals, underwriting future operating performance and negotiating management contracts and sale and purchase agreements. The most glamorous part of the job is travelling to the various hotels across Europe, touring properties and having fantastic dinners with the sellers, brokers etc. The flip side is reading through hundreds of pages of due diligence files and contractual documents to understand the deal inside out. Since there are only two people working in the acquisitions team in Europe, full exposure to all parts of the business is guaranteed.

What do you like the most about your job?

I get to visit a number places across Europe and meet many interesting people. Above all, however, it gives me a thrill to be working on a potential transaction and a real sense of achievement when one comes to fruition.

Your best achievement or memory since graduation?

Less of an achievement but more of a great memory was to be on a business trip across Europe having a private jet at my disposal (well, at my client’s disposal really). At the time I worked with Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels and we were looking at a portfolio of hotels as a potential acquisition opportunity. I have never been picked up by a Limo on the runway since that time. Needless to say, this was a pre-crisis event!

And your worst?

Maybe it’s something that a number of us have to deal with during our professional career, but I endured various rounds of lay-offs during my time at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. I was lucky to have kept my job, but I saw many co-workers, who had become friends, confronted with reality. There was a lot of tension and little productivity during these times.

Your advice to the young talents of our industry?

I have seen so many fellow classmates who have started their first jobs and chose to do something completely different within the first year. Many seem to be changing jobs, just because they don’t like what they are currently doing and without having a clear picture of what they’d like to achieve. I would encourage everyone to think of what they want to do 20 years from now. Based on that goal, what kind of experience is required to get there and what different jobs on the way will help you acquire the skills to get hired into that position or do that job well. Don’t be shy! If you feel like you want to become the chief development officer at one of the big hotel operators, then reach out to some of the alumnus who are in that role or have a CDO as their boss. Ask what skills are required and what jobs will help make that next step. In my experience people love to help!

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