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 January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.