3 Distinctive Hotel Openings Highlight the Growth of The Olympia Companies

USA, Portland, Maine. February 25, 2019

The Olympia Companies has just come off a year of remarkable growth and development with the completion of three extraordinary new hotels: SOPHY Hyde Park in Chicago, IL; The Glen House in New Hampshire's White Mountains; and Hyatt Place & Hyatt House Quad Cities in East Moline, IL.

Olympia, a leader in high-profile real estate development, equity investment and hospitality management projects, took an individualized approach to each of these three very different hotel projects, situated in radically different locations: a revived historic neighborhood in America's 3rd largest city; a riverfront Midwestern manufacturing hub; and the delicate ecological environment of the White Mountains.

“Innovation and regeneration link these three projects,” says Mike Zimmerman, Vice President, Development, for The Olympia Companies. “They are obviously very distinct and our team always takes a custom approach to each project, based on the needs of the client and the location's historical and environmental context. These aren't cookie cutter solutions. We're thrilled with the results and the fact that The Olympia Companies continues to be a key partner in the ongoing transformation of each of these communities. Each hotel's design combines emphatic references to the unique legacy of its location with contemporary design that reflects its exciting future.”

A LUXURY BOUTIQUE HOTEL MARKS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE FOR A TRANSFORMING HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOOD

Sophy Hyde Park

Chicago's Hyde Park is one of the city's cultural treasures and a community in the midst of a dramatic and ongoing transformation. This historic multicultural neighborhood, anchored by the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry, is a place with an innovative past that includes the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and an exciting future as the home of the upcoming Barack Obama Presidential Center. The Olympia Companies partnered with the city, the University and the community in 2013 to open Hyatt Place Chicago South in Hyde Park. The success of that property led to the development of SOPHY Hyde Park, a 98-room boutique hotel, located at 53rd Street and Dorchester Avenue, that opened in October, 2018. Both hotels have been developed by The Olympia Companies and SMART Hotels, and are managed by Olympia Hotel Management.

“SOPHY is a development beacon in the incredible transformation of this historic neighborhood,” says Zimmerman, adding that this hotel was designed as a four-diamond property and has recently received LEED Silver certification from the US Green Building Council. “From day one, it has welcomed the community and the community has embraced it.”

The first luxury boutique hotel to be built on the South Side of Chicago in over 50 years, the interior design pays homage to Hyde Park's rich cultural, artistic and scientific legacy while looking forward with an art collection by exclusively Chicago-based artists, including students from the nearby Hyde Park Academy High School. Mesler Kitchen | Bar | Lounge, helmed by rising star chef Bradford Shovlin, brings a new approachable upscale dining option to Hyde Park, which is turning into a dining destination that rivals Chicago's other great neighborhoods. SOPHY aligns with Olympia's expertise in developing and managing independent, award-winning boutique properties that evoke a strong sense of place and become an integral part of the community.

A CLASSIC NEW ENGLAND MOUNTAIN HOTEL RISES AGAIN

The Glen House, Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

The Glen House is a 68-room hotel at the base of 6,288-foot Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, the highest peak in the Northeast. Owned by the Mt. Washington Summit Road Company (MWSRC) and managed by Olympia Hotel Management, The Glen House opened in September 2018.

“It's the ultimate rebirth of a hotel property,” says Zimmerman. “This new lifestyle boutique hotel is actually the fifth iteration of The Glen House to be built here, close to the site of the original hotel that opened in 1852. Partnering with the local owners at Mount Washington, who've been there since 1907, we have helped to create a stunning hotel that blends the old and the new, combining reclaimed wood boards from a nearby demolished barn with an inviting modern design aesthetic.”

A wall of glass in the great room frames the mountain views that originally beckoned Victorian tourists, and the Notch Grille serves New Hampshire microbrews and comfort food for contemporary travelers, skiers and hikers. A 30 minute drive from North Conway, The Glen House is the perfect base camp for those who love the outdoors and four season adventures in the White Mountains.

A 21ST CENTURY HOTEL TRANSFORMS A 20TH CENTURY INDUSTRIAL SITE

Hyatt Place & Hyatt House Quad Cities, Moline, Illinois

Managed by Olympia Hotel Management, Hyatt Place & Hyatt House Quad Cities opened in December 2018 on a dramatic waterfront site along the Mississippi River in East Moline, Illinois.

“This is a real phoenix-from-the-ashes project, as the hotel sits on the site of a former International Harvester plant, which produced combines here from 1927 but has sat as an empty brownfield site for decades,” says Zimmerman. “It was the perfect opportunity for Olympia to play an active role in a transformative project as the hospitality development partner to the master developer, Great River Property Development.

The twin nine-story hotels offer upscale comforts for both leisure and business travelers, a sophisticated ninth floor lounge called The River Room with panoramic river views, as well as access to miles of unobstructed riverfront and a nearby bald eagle habitat. The interior design clearly references the site's industrial legacy and combines it with modern materials and a contemporary style that reflects the resurgence of the Quad Cities area. The hotels anchor The Bend, a master-planned mixed-use development that brings retail, lodging, restaurants, apartments, offices, and other amenities to a 132-acre site. Located just 15 minutes from the Quad City International Airport (MLI), the hotels provide easy access to such nearby corporate facilities as the Deere & Company World Headquarters, KONE, Alcoa and The Sedona Group.

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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.