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 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.