Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Opar

John Opar

Partner, Real Estate Practice, Shearman & Sterling LLP

John Opar is a partner in the Real Estate practice. He has extensive experience in all areas of commercial real estate law, including foreign investment in U.S. real estate. He has worked frequently on Shari'ah compliant investments and has been involved in development projects in the U.S., the Middle East, China, England, Germany and the Philippines. Some of his most recent representation includes advising Qatar Investment Authority on its investment in Manhattan West, a development site valued upon completion at up to US$8.6 billion, advising Wafra Investment Advisory Group, Inc. in the acquisition of numerous multi-family and office properties including in New York; Washington, D.C.; Miami, Florida advising Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait with respect to an investment in a joint venture to acquire a US$1 billion+ portfolio of regional shopping centers and advising a sovereign wealth fund in connection with investments with an operating partner in Manhattan office properties at 230 Park Avenue and 350 Madison Avenue. Mr. Opar received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his B.A. from Swarthmore College. Mr. Opar is a member of the New York City Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Arab Bankers Association of North America and the Real Estate Board of New York . Mr. Opar has authored several publications and participated in a number of speaking engagements at seminars and conferences on various real estate subjects. He has also been recognized in Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers, New York Super Lawyers and The International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers. Please visit http://www.shearman.com for more information.

Mr. Opar can be contacted at 212-848-7697 or jopar@shearman.com

Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.