Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Sims

Andrew M. Sims

Chief Executive Officer, Sotherly Hotels

Andrew M. Sims is chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Sotherly Hotels Inc., a position he has held since leading the company’s initial public offering in 2004 as MHI Hospitality Corporation. Sotherly Hotels Inc. is a self-managed and self-administered lodging REIT focused on the acquisition, renovation, up-branding, and repositioning of upscale and upper-upscale full-service hotels in the Southern United States. The company’s portfolio currently consists of investments in 12 hotel properties comprising 3,011 rooms. Before his tenure at Sotherly Hotels, Mr. Sims served as vice president of finance and development of MHI Hotels Services for seven years before serving as the company’s president for nine years. During his time with MHI Hotels Services, he was instrumental to the purchase and renovation of several properties, including but not limited to the Hilton Wilmington Riverside in Wilmington, North Carolina, and the Shell Island Resort in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina – driving the company’s significant growth throughout the 1990s. Mr. Sims is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, from which he holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce. He currently serves as a director for Chesapeake Hospitality and previously served on the Franchise Advisory Board for Hilton Hotels. He resides in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he is involved in his local community as a former trustee and basketball coach for Walsingham Academy. Mr. Sims’ work with Sotherly Hotels continues a family tradition in the hospitality industry that began with his father, Edgar Sims, Jr., over a half-century ago. Edgar Sims founded Maryland Hospitality Inc., later known as MHI Hotels Services, in 1957 with the purchase of the Royal Pine Motel in Columbia, Maryland. Please visit http://www.sotherlyhotels.com for more information.

Mr. Sims can be contacted at 757-229-5648 or andrewsims@sotherlyhotels.com

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.