Editorial Board   Guest Author

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 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.