Editorial Board

Mr. Obie

Brian Obie

Founder, Obie Hospitality

Brian Obie has had lots of crazy-big ideas in his 76 years. After building a very successful outdoor advertising business, which was taken public under his leadership and listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, he invested in and then decided to own the Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene, Oregon, when no one imagined such an entity could thrive. The now 41-year-old market is a Eugene icon (and the city’s top visitor destination) boasting highly localized food and retail, as well as office space, and most recently a boutique hotel called [Inn at the 5th][1], which Mr. Obie opened in 2012. The hotel was an immediate hit with guests and the community alike, also providing additional customers to the market and creating a fantastic synergy across operations. Then, building upon the success of the hotel, Mr. Obie transplanted the same hospitality concept across state lines to Idaho, where he recently opened the [Inn at 500 Capitol][2] in downtown Boise to great acclaim earlier this year. Mr. Obie’s success in the hospitality business, however accidental and organic he claims it to be, was hard-won and smartly pursued by the humble former Eugene mayor and city councilman, who saw an opportunity in under-served Western communities for what he calls “boutique hotels that have a strong attention to detail and the complete guest experience.” Earlier this year, Mr. Obie officially launched Obie Hospitality to prepare for the future, which holds additional properties growing under the brand. In addition to his business operations and city governance service, Mr. Obie is heavily involved with the University of Oregon, completing two terms as a trustee of the University of Oregon Foundation, including as president. He is currently serving as emeritus trustee. He is also active with the Oregon Historical Society. [1]: http://www.innat5th.com/ [2]: http://www.innat500.com/ Please visit http://www.obie.com for more information.

Mr. Obie can be contacted at 541-484-0383 or bobie@obie.com

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.