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 September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.