January 2009 – Despite a challenging forecast for the hotel industry, Atlanta-based Hospitality Ventures is looking ahead with confidence and an expectation for continued growth.
"You have two priorities at a time like this," says Roger Miller, Hospitality Ventures vice president of sales and marketing. "Hunker down and manage expenses while at the same time remaining very sales-marketing aggressive in preparation for the inevitable market turn-around."
Employing a strategy that focuses on acquisition and development of underperforming properties, the privately-held hotel ownership and management company reports impressive performance metrics on a consistent basis. Most of Hospitality Ventures’ assets carry Hilton and Marriott flags.
Experience drives success
Averaging more than 25 years of industry experience each, Hospitality Ventures’ principals boast an outstanding track record of identifying and capitalizing on opportunities in the hospitality real estate industry. Since 1991, the principals have invested in more than 150 hospitality assets with a gross acquisition or development cost of approximately $1.5 billion.
Miller credits President and CEO Robert S. Cole with Hospitality Ventures’ success.
"Robert makes decisions based on the long-term picture," says Miller. A 25-year industry veteran, Cole was equally as enterprising in the growth of his previous company, privately-owned Impac Hotel Group, which started with one hotel in 1991 and expanded to 55 properties by 1998. "He does not let the economy dictate the company’s long term direction."
Instead, Cole relies on experience and managing by the numbers. He created Hospitality Ventures in 2001 applying the lessons learned from his tenure with Impac. His former company's business model of acquiring and repositioning hotels became the cornerstone of Cole's new enterprise. Cole and his executive team also maintain a close involvement in the day-to-day business of their hotels.
Technology can make 3-7% occupancy improvement
One of the most important components of the company's success is technology, Miller said. He firmly believes that the right enterprise-performance software can make the difference between three and seven occupancy points. After looking at every potential product on the market, Hospitality Ventures implemented an ASP-based corporate sales and catering software system from hotelSystemsPro called hotelSalesPro in 2002 to monitor property performance and hotel sales activity.
"hotelSystemsPro’s applications are the most effective management tools I've ever seen for hotel chains and independent properties, and I've worked with hundreds of products over my 32 years," Miller said. "Their programs automate sales and many areas of operational management to help us increase group contracts, forecast revenue and demand, improve administrative efficiency, and track performance through real-time reports on both the corporate and property level."
Miller travels frequently and maintains his productivity by accessing the system from the Web to monitor property performance and oversee management and sales strategies. hotelSystemsPro’s programs enable him to track daily property lead development and revenue attainment, he explains, and the vendor’s training and customer service, both in person and online, lets his new hires learn the system quickly. For Hospitality Ventures’ general managers, whose attention is primarily focused on operations, the software engages them in the daily sales process and keeps them aware of how supports them in strategic day to day decisions based on sales stats, property performance, and goals.
"When I audit one of our newly acquired hotels, I can see a direct correlation between the use of hotelSalesPro and performance," Miller points out. "This system has proven to us that it can promote methodical, consistent business growth."
Following Robert Cole's business blueprint and employing resources like hotelSalesPro have profoundly impacted the eight-year-old organization’s market position. Unlike other hotel companies, Hospitality Ventures’ balance of leadership, sales strategy and technology maximize its long-term gains and position it to not only survive in this challenging economy, but to thrive.
About Hospitality Ventures
Hospitality Ventures, a privately owned, fully-integrated hotel ownership and management organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. The company was formed in 2001 and currently owns and operates 19 hotels located in 12 states. Seventeen hotels currently operate as Hilton or Marriott brands. The senior leadership team has experience owning and managing hotel portfolios that range in size from one to 143 properties.
Founded in 1996, hotelSystemsPro is a technology company operated by hospitality professionals who provide a suite of high performance; ASP-based enterprise property solutions that help hotel companies grow market share through better management of assets, increased sales, reduced operating expenses, and a higher quality guest experience. hotelSystemsPro partners with clients to provide solutions that scale across the broad range of properties in North America and around the world. Whatever the size of the property or its challenges, hotelSystemsPro solutions do the heavy lifting for hotel operators to streamline operations and boost staff productivity and property profitability. Their solutions include hotelSalesPro, hotelCateringPro, hotelServicePro and hotelWebSpace. For more information, visit www.hotelsystemspro.com.