Key Aspects in Growing a Hospitality Portfolio and Organization

By Mark Ricketts President & Chief Operating Officer, McNeill Hotels | February 03, 2019

Hospitality is a demanding, fast-paced operating business all rolled into a complex commercial real estate investment. As we know, those entities looking to expand their portfolios, and their accompanying organizations at the property level and in the C-suite, have their work cut out for them.

Between our competition on the one hand and the guests we care for on the other, there is always a scramble for properties and people. For any given entity, finding the appropriate properties in which to invest must fulfill a demanding constellation of well-defined parameters. These include such factors as location, per broad national region and within a discrete market; the condition of the property, from new build to complete rehabilitation; the class of property, whether economy, select-service or upscale/boutique; debt structure and overall financing; anticipated operating income or the potential for asset appreciation.

Similarly, a host of factors determine which people are best suited for any organization, whether we are considering a housekeeper, front desk staff, director of sales or human resources manager. Who to hire and when to hire are traditional challenges, perhaps complicated further by the competition for talent in today's strong employment marketplace.

In this article, we will look at some of these challenges and discuss principles and approaches to achieving that desired path of growth. Issues considered include: core philosophies; operations and outsourcing; property type, geographic region and brand affiliations; and the overall "people part" of hospitality.

Setting Core Values and Culture

It may be useful to consider the difference between an organization's investment and operational strategies, even its vision or mission, and its core values.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.