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  • Meet Minneapolis: Travel to the Twin Cities this Summer for HITEC 2019

    We all know that travel can be a real hassle. So, what about a trip makes it worth packing up your suitcase, saying goodbye to your family for the next few days, fighting the airport and staying in a.

  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • A Series of Must-Read Articles on Cybersecurity Produced by the HFTP Research Centers

    Data security remains a pressing concern and top priority for the hospitality industry. The HFTP Research Centers are dedicated to producing findings that can significantly aid hospitality businesses in their efforts to protect their guests’ privacy and personal information against potential cyber threats and attacks.

  • HITEC Special: Does EU GDPR Affect U.S. Hospitality Companies?

    By Alvaro Hidalgo. The EU General Data Protection Regulation has set a path towards protecting personal data which many other countries will follow. In a global industry such as hospitality, it should be a primary objective to take the steps towards compliance.

Article by Bob Rauch

What the Hotel World Looks Like in 2020

RAR Hospitality · 4 April 2019
OTAs have always promoted the "billboard effect," espousing that they are promoting hotels with hundreds of millions of dollars and that spending benefits the industry as a whole. That theory has largely been debunked by Kalibri Labs in a study funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). Recently, direct booking channels, promoted aggressively by the brands, have changed the landscape with direct outperforming OTA bookings over the past year. Moreover, there are other entities that could enter the fray such as Amazon, Apple and as mentioned above, Google and Airbnb.Artificial Intelligence Robotics is making great strides in hospitality. Service robots will soon be mass produced and can vacuum floors, deliver items to guests and answer questions like a concierge. Machine-learning combined with message apps are bringing a new model of engagement to the mobile screenand chatbots can enhance the conversation with customers, enabling better experiences. They are able to answer questions, enable a purchase or report weather just like Amazon's Alexa can in your home.The "Internet of Things" will bring big data to the forefront of consumer decision-making via wi-fi and new 5G standards. According to a MarketsandMarkets report, the global WiFi market will be worth 33.6 billion by 2020. In this mobile-connectivity revolution, hotel agents will become computer-aided and support cognitive networksand consumer's semantic search will be based on their interests and priorities. Choosing a destination and creating the perfect experience will become much simpler. Further, platforms like property management systems (PMS), central reservation systems (CRS) and revenue management systems (RMS) will make the merchandising and conversion process more automated while pricing becomes more dynamic and predictable.PersonalizationUser-generated content combined with personalized itineraries will continue to enable tech-savvy and sophisticated travelers to increase their travel expectations. Taking a page out of Airbnb's book, hotels willdeliver experiences in a highly personalized and flexible manner. This is done by continuing to improve the percentage of business from direct bookings. The big hotel companies own the customer and while the costs are high for independent hotels to obtain direct bookings, Hilton, Marriott and IHG already have tens of millions of loyal travelers.Kalibri LabsSmith Travel Research (now STR) started the shift from hotelier to educated hotelier 30 years ago. The next generation competitive set is now determined by each segment (match by geography, rate, day of week, lead time; overall "demand curve") comes from Kalibri Labs (KL). Cindy Estis-Green and Mark Lomanno (former STR President) have created an outstanding platform for channel analysis, acquisition costs review, loyalty contribution and more. They have standardized mapping and cost factors by channel, market segment, rate category, channel costs, transaction fees, loyalty costs, retail commissions, wholesale commissions, and sales and marketing costs. According to KL, customer acquisition costs are 15-25% of guest-paid revenue (transaction-specific costs and cross-channel costs). Information on this is available from KL.Final ThoughtsChange has never been easy for some, but we have reached the tipping point in hospitality where the old school methods (hard work, talking to customers, caring about each employee) are not enough. They are critical, because without the "hands on" touches, we do not have hospitality. However, without deep knowledge of technology and industry trends, we become dinosaurs, especially if English is our only language. The next generation traveler wants to hang-out together in the lobby as a party of one, wants and expects technology and is more frequently an international traveler with an occasional need for additional languages. Those who are not up-to-speed will increasingly feel the heat--those who are up-to-speed will enjoy the rapid changes coming our way. To a great remainder of 2019!
Article by Bob Rauch

Lodging Forecast 2019: Industry Threats Yet Growth

RAR Hospitality · 4 January 2019
Reading forecast content from the plethora of prognosticators out there can drive one into craziness. Clearly, the current economy has strengths like consumer confidence, employment levels, low oil/gas prices, and purchasing managers sentiments as expressed by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been growing at a strong 3 percent +/- rate and most pundits expect a 2-3 percent increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR), largely attributed to average daily rates (ADR).But there are warning signs--trade, interest rates, stock market turbulence, cost increases, new supply in some markets, global growth slowing, and Airbnb spreading its footprint despite city regulations. Labor is tight and hackers are attacking hotels. Profit margins are being squeezed by the combination of minimum wage increases and low ADR growth. So, is this the end of the 10-year ride, the beginning of the end, or a continuation of good times?CBRE is forecasting another year of growth, with occupancy levels growing slightly (0.1 percent) and ADR growing by over 2 percent. Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist for The Economic Outlook Group has a less optimistic view and uses the "r" word (recession) and talks about reasons for pessimism, a significant slowdown in 2019 and 2020, and the impact of a trade war caused by President Trump. Baumohl expressed concerns about the investigation into Russian interference in elections, the level of household and government debt as well as tax cuts that did not create a business spending boom. He added that hoteliers would be wise to start preparing for the worst. His remarks at the Lodging Conference a couple of months ago indicated a possible recession coming in the near future.So, what is a hotelier to do? We believe in -30 percent stress tests. Drop your revenues by 30 percent and see what would happen to the bottom line. Adjust from there when the timing is appropriate--not now. We also believe in contingency plans and whatever one believes about 2019, nobody can be certain! Our forecast projects a GDP growth of 2.4 percent and a similar growth in average rates with flat occupancy levels. Naturally, that varies by market so we put a few markets below that we know well to the test. Do not worry in 2019, enjoy the ride but be prepared! Happy New Year!San DiegoIn the most recent Lodging Econometrics (LE) Construction Pipeline Trend report on San Diego, LE states that San Diego has a total of 37 projects and 8,716 rooms in the construction pipeline. Hotels presently under construction in San Diego are at 12 projects and 1,861 rooms, projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 16 projects and 3,211 rooms, and those in early planning are at 9 projects and 3,644 rooms. We do not believe that all of the projects in the pipeline will be built - if they were, it would increase the city's guest room supply by 13.5 percent.The three market tracts with the largest hotel construction pipelines according to LE are the San Diego Central Business District with 15 projects and 4,294 rooms; the south and east portions of San Diego with 8 projects and 2,574 rooms; and Carlsbad and Oceanside with 7 projects and 1,058 rooms. These three market tracts combined account for 81 percent of San Diego's total construction pipeline.We expect San Diego to grow slowly over the next few years, with no more than 3 percent per annum supply growth. Occupancy levels should remain close to 78 percent at over $170 in 2019, up 3 percent in ADR. Through November, San Diego's RevPAR is up 5 percent.Los AngelesThe LA market area should see ADR growth of 2.5 percent, approaching $185 with occupancy levels down to just under 80 percent. Through November, LA has seen a RevPAR growth of only 1.9 percent. This is due to the large increase in supply, up 3.3 percent in 2018 and headed up from there, which is well beyond most major U.S. markets. Los Angeles has 59 projects with 8,334 rooms scheduled to hit by 2020. The big boom is from downtown and if all works out, LA will improve its posture in the regional and national convention market.PhoenixThe Phoenix Metropolitan market should see 68 percent occupancy and $130 as 2018 comes to a close, up over 3 percent in occupancy and over 2 percent in ADR. The RevPAR growth of 5.4 percent is one of the best for cities in the western U.S. New supply is up 2.6 percent in 2018 with a fairly robust pipeline. According to Visit Phoenix, there are 17 hotels and 2,240 rooms opening this year. LE states there are 29 properties in final planning representing 3,250 rooms. The supply should be absorbed by new demand, leaving occupancy levels flat in 2019. ADR should increase 2.5 percent to $133.

Hotel Industry - Q4 2018 and Beyond | By Robert Rauch

RAR Hospitality · 4 October 2018
Baumohl's concerns include President Trump, cyber warfare, geopolitical threats and a real need for corporate agility that is currently not in place, especially as it relates to cyber warfare. He indicated that pay is not keeping up with inflation, spending is fading, oil prices are increasing, delinquency rates are up and millennials are risk averse. Consumer debt goes up when interest rates increase and they are increasing. This causes a decline in purchasing power and might indicate a wage/price spiral going forward.Baumohl's prognosis could most accurately be described as cloudy. Baumohl believes that tax cuts provided a huge boost in consumer confidence and that it may continue for another 6 to 12 months. He described headwinds like 10 years of growth, interest rate increases, trade wars and mid-term election fallout. Furthermore, Baumohl touched upon larger issues such as the Mueller Investigation and geopolitics of the Middle East, Russia, North Korea and Brexit.While he is the most accurate economist I have ever met, I have to disagree with him on a couple of points. I briefly spoke with Baumohl about his prediction of Trump failed negotiations with China and other countries. Due to an unconvincing argument from Baumohl, I will push ahead with my forecast which originally called for a soft landing in 2017 that I believe was pushed back due to strong economic policies. My prediction is a soft landing in mid-late 2019 and no recession.As I indicated in my forecast last month on my website, "business and consumer confidence and spending are strong and future growth for 2019, especially in the first half, looks positive. Interest rates and inflation have increased modestly, in sync with movements in the economy. At this point in the cycle, there are headwinds including trade disputes, politics, higher interest rates and inflation, Iran, North Korea, debt levels, immigration and Congressional elections in November. But there are tailwinds that are strong as well. These include the economy, low unemployment, higher wages, relatively low interest rates and overall inflation, potentially successful trade negotiations, global growth and strong consumer confidence."U.S. Lodging IndustryMy biggest takeaway for STR's presentation by Ali Hoyt at The Lodging Conference was that average rate growth is near zero when inflation is considered. Occupancy levels are at a historic high and average daily rate (ADR) represents most of RevPAR growth. Hoyt reported that we have seen 102 straight months of RevPar growth. Her forecast is for RevPar growth of 2.6% next year, down from a forecasted 3.2% this year. Occupancy is essentially flat due to supply and demand being in balance, so most of RevPar is from ADR.A report at The Lodging Industry Investment Council (LIIC) by Michael Bellasario of Baird's showed hotel brands underperforming relative to Hotel REITs. They are forecasting 2018 RevPar to finish up 3.1% this year and up 2.5-3% next year. Despite the surge by REITs, Baird's favors hotel brands over hotel REITs due to gains in market share and a better business model in a slow growth environment. Most of the other pundits including CBRE call for similar occupancy, rate and RevPar performance over the next year.The big challenge might be to reverse some of the trends that hoteliers have been battling relative to high costs of health care, wages driven by shrinking labor pools and brand required PIPs. Further, CBRE has issued a report on reduced labor productivity which coupled with wage increases is not good. The combination of these rising costs and increased cost of distribution can severely impact bottom line performance. Despite the record occupancy levels, ADR growth continues to challenge hoteliers. Factors such as increased supply, low inflation, the sharing economy and rate transparency make it more difficult to raise rates.There is great economic news that should lead to average rate growth. Companies are reporting excellent sales and profits and the rate of overall economic growth has improved. Q2 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 4.2% growth, the best pace since 2014. Business and consumer spending and confidence are strong and very encouraging for future growth going into 2019. While interest rates and inflation have moved up modestly, they are still far from their historical averages. The headwinds discussed above are real and must be factored into any investment decision. Q4 2018 and all of 2019 are still looking strong.

To Q3 and Beyond: Hotel Industry Forecast for San Diego, Arizona, Colorado, and Other U.S. Markets | By Robert A. Rauch

RAR Hospitality · 7 September 2018
U.S. EconomyCompanies are reporting solid revenues as well as profits. Q2 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 4.2 percent, the best quarter in five years. Business and consumer confidence and spending are strong and future growth for 2019 looks good. Interest rates and inflation have increased modestly, in sync with movements in the economy. Having said that, my favorite index is the Institute for Supply Management's Purchasing Management Index.That index fell to 58.1 in July, 2018 from 60.2 in June, below market expectations of 59.5. The reading pointed to the weakest expansion in the manufacturing sector in three months amid a slowdown in new orders, export orders and production. Demand remains robust but manufacturers keep showing concerns about how tariff-related activity, including reciprocal tariffs, will continue to affect their business.At this point in the cycle, there are headwinds including trade disputes, politics, higher interest rates and inflation, Iran, North Korea, debt levels, immigration and Congressional elections in November. Naturally, a Black Swan event would potentially be an economy killer. But there are tailwinds that are strong as well. These include the economy, low unemployment, higher wages, relatively low interest rates and overall inflation, potentially successful trade negotiations, global growth and strong consumer confidence.The bottom line is that there is a green light going forward for the foreseeable future, despite this long cycle. Driven by a solid overall economic base that includes solid GDP growth, wage increases and low unemployment, almost all data is positive, however, rising interest rates are causing increased debt payments for borrowers and the maturing business cycle will eventually lead to slowing growth.U.S. Lodging IndustryU.S. hotels grew revenue per available room (RevPar) at a 3.3 percent clip for the trailing 12-month period of August 2017-July 2018. This is up from most expectations as Q2 2018 really saw some momentum shifting. Occupancy levels are at a historic high and average daily rate (ADR) represents most of RevPAR growth. We see no reason that the economy cannot stay strong and thrive through 2018 and 2019. ADR growth is expected to increase 2.5 percent next year, albeit not enough to keep pace with the cost of labor.New supply is not likely to stop the continuation of positive RevPAR growth. Banks will put the brakes on lending, however, those who are experienced and have the full development package of equity, leading brand or unique ideas and a strong market will be able to develop. Increased supply and construction costs are two reasons development is difficult today. A Black Swan event or a global meltdown are not likely to occur but would certainly stop this positive growth. Only time will tell but 2018 and 2019 look solid.The major forecasting firms, CBRE, PwC and STR are projecting that the U.S. lodging industry will achieve an annual occupancy rate of around 66 percent in both 2018 and 2019, flat as supply and demand are running at about 2 percent annual growth. Average rate growth should finish at between 2.5-3 percent, according to the pundits, in line with projected GDP growth.The big challenge might be to reverse some of the trends that hoteliers have been battling relative to high costs of health care, wages driven by shrinking labor pools and brand required PIPs. Further, CBRE has issued a report on reduced labor productivity and HotStats has indicated GOP has peaked. The combination of the rising costs and increased cost of distribution can severely impact bottom line performance.Q3 RevPar outlooks call for some deceleration from Q2 based on the combination of July 4 falling midweek, impacting leisure travel and the Jewish holidays falling mid-week in September, impacting corporate travel. According to Cleveland Research, 2018 industry forecasts are slightly higher on demand while supply remains in check; 2019 looks like a step down, according to the firm.Following better than expected year-to-date trends, STR raised their full year outlook to 3.2 percent RevPar growth, up from their prior forecast of 2.9 percent. The cycle now is at over 100 consecutive months of RevPAR growth vs. 56 months in the prior cycle and 111 months in the cycle of the 1990s. Hotel demand has continued to rise, albeit modestly, and the industry as a whole has been able to maintain a level of pricing power.Meanwhile, as the prognosticators look further out into 2019 the expectations are for much of the same with perhaps a slight trail off. For example, STR is calling for a 2.6 percent RevPAR increase and a 0.2 percent increase in occupancy to 66.4 percent, while ADR is expected to grow by 2.4 percent to $132.97.Specific Markets We FollowPhoenixLook for continued job growth as Arizona continues to have a stable and predictable business climate, workforce depth, quality of life and strong education programs. The gubernatorial election could be divisive but Governor Ducey has a strong command of the business climate and normally, the economy rules in these elections. The entire Arizona economy is very strong and we remain bullish on this entire market and remain invested.With minimal new supply growth, (Tempe is an exception but new corporate growth in that submarket has kept pace with new supply) the Metro Phoenix market will have a very strong Q3 and Q4 2018 and 2019. Year to date RevPar is up 4.2 percent through July, 2018. Average rate growth should continue at 3 percent with flat occupancy levels. We expect occupancy, average rate and revenue per available room to finish 2018 near 70 percent, over $130 and $91 respectively with modest growth in 2019.TucsonThe Tucson market has led the state of Arizona in every growth area; ADR, occupancy and RevPar. Double-digit RevPar growth is highly unusual today but Tucson is almost there. Trailing 12-month occupancy and rate are 65 percent and $110, up 9.5 percent in RevPar. About half of the increase is in rate, half in occupancy.The market is strongest around the University of Arizona, in extended-stay hotels, in transient corporate and leisure and in the group market. This positive balance leads to 5-6 percent RevPar forecasted by STR for 2019. While north and south Tucson offer different ADR levels, (north is much higher) the entire market is growing. We are invested in this market as well.Colorado SpringsThis market was soft after many companies left back in the early 2000s but has seen a resurgence based on proximity to booming Denver, legalization of marijuana in the state (still illegal in Colorado Springs) and phenomenal natural attractions like Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Academy, Olympic Training Center and much more.Occupancy levels are beginning to approach 70 percent and rates should exceed $125 this year. This is after years of languishing in the 50-60 percent range throughout much of the last decade. Year to date, RevPar is up 6.3 percent through July, 2018. We expect steady occupancy in the 68 percent range and growth in average rates as new supply is just a few hotels in a market with over 11,000 hotel rooms. We remain bullish on this exciting leisure-oriented market and while we sold an investment here, we are looking at additional opportunities.San DiegoSan Diego should see continued strength from all market segments. Convention Center groups are down but leisure is up and corporate is stable. Supply is increasing in downtown but demand should absorb most of it. 2017 finished at over 77 percent occupancy and $160 average rate for a RevPar of almost $125. Year to date revPar is up 3.5 percent through July, 2018. We expect to see ADR at $165, up 3 percent from 2017 this year and similar growth in 2019 with ADR approaching $170 with steady occupancy levels of 77-78 percent.This is our home market and we will provide a complete review of this market as always shortly.Summary and Quick FactsDespite the record occupancy levels, average daily rate (ADR) growth continues to challenge hoteliers. Factors such as increased supply, low inflation, the sharing economy and rate transparency make it more difficult to raise rates. Other challenges include the lack of buying opportunities available as sellers are not motivated to sell. According to JLL, the top 5 cities that investors are interested in investing in over the next two years are Washington, D.C., Boston, Tampa, Los Angeles and Portland.Economic factors that may dampen the industry confidence and the perceived positive impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are trade tensions with China and rising cost of labor for entry-level jobs. According to STR data as of June 2018, year-to-date total U.S. supply growth capped at 1.9 percent. There are several markets where supply growth is high - New York, Orlando, Dallas, Nashville and Denver have seen significant growth in new supply.Global business travel spending reached over $1.3 trillion in 2017, up more than 5 percent over 2016 levels, according to the Annual Global Report & Forecast, released by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) last month at their San Diego Convention. Spending is forecast to advance another 7.1 percent in 2018 and will expand to $1.7 trillion by 2022.This economy remains intact. Stay focused and as we transition to another economy, it is more likely that this transition will be one of a soft landing and not a meltdown. To a great finish to 2018 and a Happy and Healthy New Year to those who celebrate the Jewish New Year next week! See you all at the Lodging Conference!

RAR Hospitality Acquires Hotel Management Contract for Four Points by Sheraton San Diego

RAR Hospitality ·10 August 2018
San Diego -- RAR Hospitality is proud to announce the company has officially signed a contract securing management for Four Points by Sheraton San Diego. With the completion of this contract, RAR Hospitality now manages 18 hotels serving Southern California and the Southwest. A $3 million hotel renovation spearheaded by RAR Hospitality will elevate the property in every aspect."Four Points by Sheraton San Diego is an exciting addition to the RAR Hospitality family," said Bob Rauch, CEO and founder of RAR Hospitality. "An ongoing multimillion-dollar renovation and changes to the service profile guided by RAR will help to reposition and elevate the hotel in every aspect."Catering to the needs of today's everyday traveler, the hotel offers a welcoming design, stylish comfort and all the brand's popular amenities including a 24-hour fitness center, outdoor heated pool, business center, fast and complimentary standard Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and the Four Points Best Brews program featuring local craft beers.Centrally located in the San Diego Business District, Four Points by Sheraton San Diego is in close proximity to San Diego County Credit Union Stadium, The University of San Diego, National University, Sharp Healthcare, and Rady's Children Hospital for business travelers and attractions such as Gaslamp Quarter, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Carlsbad State Beach, and golf courses are nearby for leisure and family travelers. This hotel offers 223 rooms with Citrus, a contemporary restaurant and bar offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, over 12,000 square feet of meeting space including two spacious ballrooms, on-site, nine-hole executive golf course, theater and learning center. Four Points by Sheraton San Diego is located at 8110 Aero Drive; San Diego.Four Points by Sheraton San Diego joins RAR's branded hotel portfolio in the U.S. with Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar, Fairfield Inn & Suites San Marcos and Holiday Inn Express Tempe. For more information on RAR Hospitality, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.

RAR Hospitality Assumes Management of SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western El Cajon

RAR Hospitality ·13 June 2018
San Diego -- RAR Hospitality is proud to announce that it has acquired the hotel management contract for SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western El Cajon. The management contract for SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western El Cajon brings RAR Hospitality's portfolio to 19 hotels serving Southern California, Arizona and Colorado. Headquartered in San Diego, the hotel management firm is overseeing the conversion of the property from a Best Western Courtesy Inn to a Best Western SureStay Plus."RAR Hospitality is proud to grow its local presence in San Diego County with the addition of the SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western El Cajon," said Bob Rauch, CEO and president of RAR Hospitality. "Our team has unmatched branded property expertise and we're thrilled to welcome this hotel into the RAR family." SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western El Cajon is situated less than a mile from the Interstate 8 where guests can easily access San Diego's most popular attractions such as SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Gaslamp District, Old Town, La Jolla and Pacific Beach. Guests have access to a range of comfortable amenities such as a 24-hour front desk, complimentary full breakfast, free wireless internet, free parking, business center, outdoor pool, hot tub, flat screen televisions and cable television programming. SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western El Cajon is located at 1355 E. Main Street; El Cajon, Calif. For more information on RAR Hospitality, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.
Article by Bob Rauch

The Changing Landscape of Hotel Management

RAR Hospitality ·21 May 2018
Shifting demographics and new technologies are primary catalysts for the evolving hospitality business; however, the impact on management is enormous.Led by revenue management but now including distribution channel management, social media marketing, Web 2.0, cybersecurity, human resources and more, this industry has been thoroughly transformed. The key is to have GMs and corporate executives who understand this.Here are a few things to consider.Revenue management may be the single most important element in driving profitability. Today, it is time for the industry to price based on value perception and not just price relative to a competitor. Understanding the true demand in a marketplace is quite scientific. The large quantities of demographic and psychographic information available about the makeup of today's traveler requires analytical skills and creativity to correctly respond to the marketplace. Product choices by consumers are influenced by a model of the consumer decision process that stresses the importance of finding the right customer for the right hotel at the right time. Is our guest interested in sustainability, fitness or wellness? Knowing our guest will drive our marketing efforts.Booking more profitable business is critical as the distribution landscape is expanding beyond online travel agencies, including popular sales vehicles such as meta-search, flash sales and mobile channels. Beyond simple awareness of the different mediums available to sell hotel rooms, hoteliers must know the costs of the variety of distribution channels and the returns expected from each. GMs are the gatekeepers for these channels when a revenue manager is not around.Next, product quality must be exceptional. Overall service must be at the level of "wow," and there must be a compelling value proposition for the consumer to choose the hotel. Loss of market share is difficult to regain, which means desertion management (asking guests why they did not return) is paramount today and easy to define via social media. Staff service and attitude make a significant difference in competitive advantage in every market segment and these require strong leadership from the GM. No GM can do it all--corporate support is required.Hotels that can train and motivate their team members will have a much better chance of getting repeat business. It is beyond the basic four-step skills-training method; rather it is adding the component of why they need that skill.Millennials have become the fastest-growing customer segment within the industry and also have no problems speaking up. If what they are seeking is not handled to their liking, they will turn to Twitter, Facebook, Yelp or TripAdvisor to voice complaints. Reputation management rules, and this is where the GM must be hanging out in the lobby, at the front desk and in the restaurant.Customer service must include enabling guests to be self-sufficient. For example: if a guest wants to find information using his/her smartphone, providing an app or mobile website that accommodates that information will appeal to many. The rise of this digital traveler requires the hotel industry to balance the expectation of personalization while enhancing the need to remain independent.International visitors are here now but have been talked about for years, and this group of travelers has increased markedly this past decade. Management must understand the language and culture of these guests as they are arguably the fastest-growing travel segment today and spend more than any other traveler. With the European Union's General Data Protection Plan (GDPR) compliance requirement coming later this year, cybersecurity must be at the forefront of our industry. Security in general must be tightened up with active shooter training and drills for each type of crisis.The path forwardThe transition from art to science in hospitality has caught many by surprise and unfortunately, these are the people and the companies that are falling behind. There will always be a need for great customer service, but today's travelers require both great service and technology. It is crucial that we understand the hospitality industry as it is today because if we focus solely on the art of hospitality, we will be missing out on capturing more business and increasing our profitability. Further, there are legal challenges with human resource management, ADA laws, public relations and crisis management, to name a few.Are our properties exciting or are they just clean? Do they provide unique experiences or are they just offering the basics? Is there true ownership or management oversight and input or is it absentee management reviewing monthly financial performance? Are our digital assets such as website, social media sites and real-time marketing efforts effective? These four questions will give each of us a hint at where some opportunity lies. Management companies and GMs must utilize this playbook and much more.This article was first published in Hotel News Now and is reprinted with the permission of the author.

RAR Hospitality to Assume Management of Rio Del Sol Inn Needles and Best Western Colorado River Inn

RAR Hospitality ·30 April 2018
San Diego -- RAR Hospitality is proud to announce that it has acquired the hotel management contracts for Rio Del Sol Inn Needles and Best Western Colorado River Inn. The management contracts for Rio Del Sol Inn Needles and the Best Western Colorado River Inn are the first hotels in San Bernardino County for the hotel management and consulting firm, headquartered in San Diego.The recent acquisition of these properties brings RAR Hospitality's portfolio to 18 hotels serving Southern California, Arizona and Colorado."Rio Del Sol Inn Needles and Best Western Colorado River Inn are a milestone for our company's strategic growth in Southern California," said Vikram Sood, Senior Vice President of Operations of RAR Hospitality. "RAR is a hotel management group with over 25 years of experience in successfully operating branded and independent hotels, optimizing occupancy and maximizing guest loyalty."At Rio Del Sol Inn Needles, 60 inviting guest rooms provide comfort and convenience to travelers visiting the Mojave Valley. The hotel is centrally located on historic Route 66 and within a short radius from entertainment and attractions including the Colorado River, Lake Havasu, Rivers Edge Golf Course, Oatman Ghost Town and the nearby Laughlin casinos, offering endless experiences from a day on the water to a night on the town. Rio Del Sol Inn provides guests access to a range of comfortable amenities such as a 24-hour front desk, free parking, high-speed internet, outdoor pool, whirlpool spa and sauna. Rio Del Sol Inn Needles is located at 1111 Pashard Street, Needles, Calif.Best Western Colorado River Inn is conveniently situated off of California's historic Route 66 in the Mojave Valley. This Needles area hotel offers 63 well-appointed guest rooms, eight executive rooms and one suite. Guests can begin the morning with a complimentary full breakfast at adjacent restaurant Giggling Cactus and enjoy the hotel's other amenities including a newly remodeled outdoor swimming pool, whirlpool hot tub, sauna, and 24-hour front desk. The Colorado River provides a great day of boating, fishing and other water activities for leisure travelers and a round of golf at Rivers Edge Golf Resort is just one mile from the hotel. Hotel guests will also enjoy short day trips to nearby Oatman, Park Moabi, Topock, Lake Havasu and Laughlin Casinos. Best Western Colorado River Inn is located at 2371 W Broadway Street, Needles, Calif.For more information on RAR Hospitality, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.

RAR Hospitality Appoints New Corporate Executives and Operations Leadership

RAR Hospitality ·16 April 2018
SAN DIEGO -- San Diego-based, third party hotel management group, Vikram Sood joined the RAR team in October of 2017 as Senior Vice President of Operations, where he oversees all branded and boutique properties for the hotel management company and is responsible for hotel owner relations and hotel performance. In addition to his current position with RAR, Sood is the Managing Director at NuPala Hospitality Development in San Diego, where he develops and operates full-service hotels and resorts that have earned prestigious international industry awards. Sood is a graduate of University of British Columbia and the University of Massachusetts and has held many General Manager positions in the industry throughout his career at properties such as La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, The Grand Del Mar, Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Hawaii, and Cape Rey Carlsbad. Apart from his management experience, Sood also held the role of Senior Operations Leader at Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Hawaii and served senior leaderships positions for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Boston, Toronto, Santa Barbara, Calif., and Hualalai, Hawaii. With extensive experience opening and managing upscale and luxury resorts and hotels, Sood possesses in-depth knowledge of the hospitality industry, hotel operations, and revenue management.Frank Bewley joined the RAR team in December of 2017 as Corporate Director of Revenue Optimization and Marketing, and brings over 20 years of experience in hospitality with over 10 years of revenue management expertise. He is now responsible for strategic deployment and distribution as well as organizational marketing management for RAR. An alumni of the University of Arizona, Bewley has held senior leadership roles in group sales, marketing, operations, and revenue management at both branded and independent hotels.Dieter Hissin joined the RAR team in January of 2018 as the General Manager for one of the hotel management firm's boutique properties, The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, where he manages all aspects of the hotel at an operational and fiscal level. Hissin attended Heidelberg Hotel Management School in Germany, and is now an established operations professional with extensive experience in luxury hospitality, hotel management, and revenue management. Prior to his current position with RAR, Hissin served as General Manager at Balboa Bay Resort and held a pivotal role as General manager of Newport Beach's Island Hotel during its $25 million renovation.Andrew Ladd joined the RAR team in November of 2017 as Director of Sales and Marketing at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows and is responsible for maximizing hotel revenue through group and event sales, marketing, and revenue management. In addition to working his way up from a Bell Desk Manager to a National Sales Manager during his 11 years with Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nev., Ladd most recently spent four years with a 310- room boutique hotel in Reno, Nev. called Whitney Peak Hotel as the Director of Sales. Having completed education at University of Nevada, University of Phoenix, and Cornell University, Ladd now leads a team of sales managers and support staff in marketing and selling the hotel on a regional and national level.Colin Ross joined the RAR team in September of 2017 as General Manager at Carlsbad by the Sea, bringing with him more than 25 years of industry experience. Ross has previously held positions such as Sales Manager at LEGOLAND California, General Manager at TurnKey Vacation Rentals, and Director of Sales at Residence Inn by Marriott. His current duties as General Manager at Carlsbad by the Sea include overseeing all aspects of operations, day-to-day staff management, ensuring guest satisfaction, and providing leadership and strategic planning to all departments within the hotel. Ross studied economics at the University of Utah and also serves as ambassador for the the re-branding of this iconic Carlsbad hotel.Michael Flickinger joined the RAR team in December of 2017 as General Manager at Radisson Hotel San Diego-Rancho Bernardo, where his duties include operations and sales. He comes from Maderas Golf Club where he was a General Manager and served as the Area Food and Beverage Director for for La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla and Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe.RAR Hospitality currently manages 20 hotel properties in the United States and has over 650 employees.RAR Hospitality is located at 10840 Thornmint Road #110, San Diego. For more information, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.
Article by Bob Rauch

The Transformation of the Hotel Industry in the 2010s

RAR Hospitality · 2 March 2018
We have officially been transformed into the John Naisbitt coined "hi tech, hi touch" world, 33 years after the release of his book. Led by revenue management but now including distribution, channel management, social media marketing, Web 2.0 and more. The industry has been permanently changed.Digital Marketing is required to both acquire and retain guests. Believe it or not, only a real quality revolution gives you the competitive edge, because brand loyalty is very limited in today's millennial dominant hospitality market. Since hospitality businesses do not hold customers captive, the only way we can prevent "desertion" is to continually outperform the competition. In addition, by soliciting feedback from the "deserters" or former customers, we can dig out the weaknesses that really matter.The growth of mobile is a game changer in that the amount of time between looking, booking and staying is reduced. In 2010, that was not the case. Customer experience or "CX" today allows us to drive a CX-friendly culture through interconnection and innovation. Anyone attending a conference today will be exposed to the trends of personalization, big data, omni-channel/multichannel campaign management, marketing automation and location-based services. Measurement of all of these will dictate what gets utilized. It's all new.Millennials have become the fastest growing customer segment within the hospitality industry. Lobby bars and hotel restaurants are wide open with combination work, play and eat/drink spaces designed with this millennial customer in mind, one who is a "party of one" but "hanging out together." Millennial travelers do not exhibit the same loyalty to brands as their parents do. This opens the doors for independents and makes it even more difficult to keep that guest returning. Millennials were a non-factor when this decade began.Customer service must include enabling guests to be self-sufficient. As an example, if a guest wants to find information using his/her smart phone, providing an app or mobile website that accommodates that information will appeal to many. The rise of this digital traveler requires the hotel industry to balance the expectation of personalization while enhancing the need to remain independent. Customer service must also be genuine and provide great, high quality recommendations delivered by a truly caring team member. "WOW" customer service is the only way to ensure repeat business. That's the "high touch" component.Booking more profitable business is critical as more revenues result from strong occupancy levels, average rates and revenue per available room (RevPAR). This may suggest more profits, but the growth in distribution costs as well as other operating costs such as health care and the minimum wage increases have stunted profit growth. One way to improve net income is by less reliance on the online travel agencies (OTAs). By directing guests to your hotel's website and telephones, the savings are abundant. The digital distribution costs are soaring and the number of players entering the market to compete with OTAs is rapidly rising (think Google, Facebook, Apple, TripAdvisor, Amazon and even Airbnb). In 2010, we were begging OTAs to help us every day!The sharing economy is a new reality that hoteliers are still grasping to embrace. Hotel web sites are still critical to keep up-to-date. Look at your conversion and bounce rates and determine why guests are not booking or more importantly, why they are booking your hotel via an OTA. We must anticipate the guest wants and needs and get those on to our web sites! This loyalty game is becoming more and more important as the OTAs and Airbnb battle to own our guests. While Airbnb was founded 10 years ago, nobody had heard of them.The pre-stay communication has become a big part of a new dialogue that is occurring online with our guests. Another big deal today is marketing the property as having "an Instagram moment," sort of today's generation of the Kodak moment of the 1980s. Today's travelers like visiting a destination and hotel that will show flattering images. "Examining your images regularly with the intent of achieving a unique look and feel is worth the time," according to Frank Bewley, Director of Revenue and Marketing at RAR Hospitality.Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer just a gimmick. It can and will be used in some form frequently in 2018. Coupled with augmented reality, (AR) (think the Pokemon Go phenomenon) VR and AR will develop rapidly this next year. It is already widely used to sell adventure travel.Crisis management and cyber security will gain in importance as the addition of Active Shooter training is added to a hotel's playbook and cyber crime continues to increase dramatically. Neither of these were brought up just a few years ago. Stay tuned for our monthly updates--time flies when you are having fun!

Build, Buy, Hold or Sell? Late-Cycle Owner Strategies

RAR Hospitality · 6 February 2018
This year, some analysts talk about how the cycle is "getting long in the tooth" since we have been expanding for over 90 months. Since the tourism industry is resilient and still growing, success is very possible for another several years. Further, 2018 will be very prosperous with tax reform, strong consumer confidence, a durable job market and a robust global economy.If you're considering whether to buy or hold a hotel today, the quality of your team is paramount. One operator cannot optimize revenues and expenses, make sales calls and handle the financial end of the business. Substantial due diligence is required to ensure the hotel has the right management, brand, renovation and business plan/budget. Hospitality might be an art, but it surely has become a science with revenue management, distribution-channel management, social media marketing, website development and much more. If building or renovating, an architect, designer, contractor, lawyer, brand, management company, engineers and lender are required as well as a great operating team.In buying, I prefer a compelling story--a need for renovation, brand change or management change can get the numbers up. Changing all three can be a home run if you know what you are doing. A strong market and a healthy market mix with a strong base of business will ensure operating leverage. Operating leverage is created when fixed costs have been met and additional revenues "flow through" to the net income line.There are five key areas that can provide the framework for success: location, product, management, marketing and financial structure. Location has everything to do with the submarket in which the asset competes. An area that has strong barriers to entry--government regulations, cost of land or other barriers--is a safer bet than an area where there is no limit to the amount of new supply coming in. Moreover, location refers to the market demand generators. A strong market should include multiple types of demand generators such as corporate, leisure and group that provide for the aforementioned operating leverage.The second strategy for success is the product, which might include choosing the right brand. Marriott International, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group are three of the main hotel franchising companies. The "verticality" of brands--i.e. Marriott's 30 brands, Hilton's 15 brands--makes the market very complex. Additional critical points to review include system reservation performance, impact policy, recommendations from other franchisees, support for the property and growth of the brand.Today, millennial travelers are helping us throw out some of the tried-and-true strategies of the past decade. Product quality is paramount to profitable operations, and independent, boutique hotels are enjoying a period of significant success. This, along with brands desiring to expand, has led to a plethora of new "soft brands."The third and fourth strategies, marketing and management, can be the difference between being able to pay the lender or not. Some firms are good at marketing and driving top-line revenue. Others are good at management and controlling expenses. Some charge back their corporate overhead, others charge only for direct property expenditures. It is hard to find that balance of good marketing and management, but it is very important. Interview a few firms and choose one that suits you best.Lastly, it is virtually impossible to succeed without the proper financial structure in place. Today, first-mortgage money is typically low-leverage, averaging just 65% of acquisition cost, and less if it is new development. This might generate a need for a second mortgage or mezzanine loan; since this money is higher-risk, there is a premium attached to the rate. A structure today may be 65% first-mortgage debt at say 5.5% interest, 15% mezzanine debt at say 10% interest plus 20% borrower equity.A return-on-investment analysis will determine if the project will succeed. This is the single most important element in the decision to purchase or build. Many institutional funds and real estate investment trusts have invested in full-service hotels or in the urban, focused-service/upscale lodging sector. This leaves an opening for the entrepreneur today to look at turn-around opportunities or smaller, focused-service hotels, perhaps in secondary markets.There are some key tenets for success that are clearly required, including persistence, hard work and honesty. Avoid mediocrity, move quickly with reversible decisions and slowly with non-reversible decisions, seek out committed people, review accountability for everything and do not be a spectator--get in the game!So, if after reading this you feel like today requires too much work, sell--you should get a good price! Now all that is needed is the goal and a set of action steps to achieve the goal. If the entrepreneurial spirit lifts you, go for it! Have a great 2018!This article was first published in Hotel News Now and is reprinted with the permission of the author.

RAR Hospitality assumes management of Radisson Rancho Bernardo

RAR Hospitality ·22 January 2018
SAN DIEGO -- RAR Hospitality has been selected by KASHL Corporation to operate Radisson Rancho Bernardo in San Diego. Founded in 1990 by hotelier, CEO and President Bob Rauch, RAR is a leading private hotel management and consulting firm headquartered in San Diego managing 14 lifestyle and branded hotels including Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group brands across San Diego, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Colo., Phoenix, and Tucson, Ariz. Radisson Rancho Bernardo is the hotel management company's ninth San Diego hotel in addition to The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, The Keating Hotel by Pininfarina, Carlsbad By the Sea, Fairfield Inn & Suites San Marcos and Hotel St. James."Radisson Rancho Bernardo is a significant addition to RAR Hospitality's branded hotel collection," said Bob Rauch, founder, CEO and president of RAR Hospitality. "With our comprehensive knowledge of the San Diego market combined with result-driven management services, our team of hotel operations experts will maximize the hotel's potential."Opened in 1989 within the suburban community of Rancho Bernardo, the three-floor, 178-room Radisson Rancho Bernardo accommodates leisure and business travelers. Conveniently located off the I-15, Radisson Rancho Bernardo is within close proximity to many of San Diego's most popular tourist attractions, such as the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and LEGOLAND. Del Mar beaches and golf courses are a short drive away from the property as well as some of San Diego's finest wineries in Rancho Bernardo. Business travelers enjoy 3,934 square feet of meeting space, a business center featuring complimentary faxing and copying services, and is close to many high-tech and research and development corporate offices such as Boeing, Nokia, Sony, HP, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett-Packard, and PETCO. Guests have access to a wide range of amenities and services such as the on-site C3 Restaurant and Bar, car rentals, a heated pool, spa, fitness center, valet, dry cleaning and complimentary high-speed internet.With the hotel's prime location nearby tech and corporate offices, RAR plans to maximize business travel and meetings revenue as well as restaurant business by targeting both locals and visitors alike. Radisson Rancho Bernardo is located at 11520 West Bernardo Court in San Diego.For more information about RAR Hospitality, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.

RAR Hospitality assumes management of Carlsbad by the Sea Resort

RAR Hospitality ·13 September 2017
RAR Hospitality is pleased to announce that it has acquired the management contract of the boutique and independently-owned hotel, Carlsbad by the Sea Resort, in Carlsbad, Calif. The property is an addition to RAR's portfolio in Southern California, Arizona and Colorado."We have seen vast success with other properties in the Carlsbad area before, and are excited to expand our presence in Carlsbad as it quickly becomes one of San Diego County's best cities to visit," said Cameron Lamming, Chief Development Officer of RAR Hospitality.Located within minutes from LEGOLAND, Carlsbad Premium Outlets and a half-mile to some of Carlsbad's best beaches, Carlsbad by the Sea Resort is in a premier area, offering convenient access to many attractions.The 150-room family-centric property offers guests comfortable size rooms with private balconies or patios, microwaves and refrigerators. A garden courtyard, crystal blue heated pool and Jacuzzi allow for guests to relax in a quaint setting that is comfortable year-round. A business center and complimentary high-speed wireless Internet are available for business travelers. The property boasts a large event space that can accommodate up to 100 guests to hold weddings or corporate gatherings. The hotel offers free shuttle service within a two-mile radius of the hotel, which includes LEGOLAND, Carlsbad Beach and to and from Palomar Airport.There are plans to freshen the property within the coming months.Carlsbad by the Sea Resort is located at 850 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad, Calif. For more information on RAR Hospitality, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.

RAR Hospitality Recognized on Inc. 5000 List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies

RAR Hospitality ·17 August 2017
SAN DIEGO -- Today, Inc. Magazine unveiled its 36th annual Inc. 5000 list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies and San Diego-based hotel management firm, RAR Hospitality is pleased to announce its ranking of No. 2383. This is the first year RAR Hospitality has been featured on this exclusive list."The RAR team is honored to receive this recognition as we have relentlessly worked to make a difference in the hospitality industry," said Robert Rauch, founder, chief executive officer and president of RAR. "We have grown because of our partner commitment, employee dedication and comprehensive ability to adapt to the evolving industry."The 36th annual Inc. 5000 list represents a multitude of fast-growing, privately-owned companies and industries. To qualify for the list, Inc. examined each company's growth percentage and revenue, analyzing data from 2013 to 2016. RAR Hospitality achieved the No. 2383 spot because of the company's remarkable growth rate of 152 percent. Since the company's establishment in 1990, RAR has expanded its hotel portfolio of branded, independent and boutique properties in Southern California, Arizona and Colorado including The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, The Keating Hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites San Diego North/San Marcos, Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar, DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix North and Arabella Hotel Sedona.The rarefied 2017 Inc. 5000 list can be accessed online at www.inc.com/inc5000 along with company profiles and results and the Inc. 500 list will be published in the September issue of Inc. Magazine.The company has been awarded with prestigious accolades such as San Diego Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies,LODGING Magazine's top 50 management companies and Hotel Business Magazine's top management companies. RAR Hospitality is located at 10840 Thornmint Road #110, San Diego. For more information, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.
Article by Bob Rauch

Spring Conference Season - What is the Buzz?

RAR Hospitality · 8 June 2017
Meet the MoneyAt Meet the Money last month, we learned that capital is still available for the right sponsor with the right location, brand and equity. The glass remains half-full, not half-empty. And we heard that consolidation will likely continue. Perhaps Mike Cahill's presentation on behalf of the Lodging Industry Investment Council (LIIC) said it best with the title "Forecasting Clear Skies with Some Clouds and Slightly Cooling Temperatures."Many of the sessions included a discussion on a reduction of Chinese investment and an increase in Private Equity to finance most hotels and many attendees seemed to believe the economy had more runway at least in 2017. The biggest fear seemed to be new supply. In a session that I moderated called, "Brands, Soft Brands or Independents: Who Wins?" the operators on my panel were very savvy in explaining how level the playing field is today between these three entity types, especially in dving market share.Additional topics discussed at Meet the Money were development and redevelopment, the economy, lodging industry metrics, financing availability, EB-5, modular construction and valuations. This conference might be one of the last industry conferences of this "extra-inning" recovery period that has a positive tone on financing. Lenders still sounded relatively bullish--let's see how NYU fares on this point as the new supply pipeline crosses the threshold of demand levels later this year.Speaking of NYU, this is a much larger version of JMBM's Meet the Money. JMBM's annual event, developed almost 30 years ago by Jim Butler is great and with less than 400 attendees, it is easy to approach all speakers, panelists, JMBM staff and attendees over the two-day period. The NYU Hotel Conference is a monster event, with a broader array of topics that will include all of the above but will also delve more deeply into design, travel trends, OTAs, asset management, technology and much more.I expect that the CEOs that kick off the event will not all agree on where we are in terms of the economy, Airbnb, OTAs, minimum wage and financing. They will likely agree that consolidation will continue but might disagree on whether or not REITs are hot or not. All of these subjects will be interesting because we are at a "tipping point" where several facets of hotel marketing and operations are going to undergo change. These include:RoboticsMinimum Wage GrowthOccupancy and Rate GrowthAirbnb and OTA ImpactsMillennialsRobotics or utilizing Artificial Intelligence will increase because of the combination of wage growth and availability of technology. We just unveiled a robot at our newly-opened Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott. Created by Savioke, the robot delivers supplies or food and beverage to guests and is absolutely adored by guests and staff alike. This is clearly a trend as it will reduce operating costs over time--and no paid overtime, no PTO or sick days. Look for more of this activity in housekeeping and food and beverage.Minimum wage growth must slow down because average rate growth will be slowing down as the economy transitions to a soft-landing over the next couple of years. The large cities have not been spared this significantly increased cost and when added to health care costs, will dramatically increase the cost of doing business. A very recent study tried to claim that only inferior restaurants will go out of business as a result of wage increases but it was a limited and flawed study.Airbnb is at war with hotels and frankly OTAs are as well. The truth is, we can all co-exist but tell that to a hotel owner who no longer fills during peak periods due to Airbnb or sees shrinking margins due to distribution channel cost increases caused by OTA dominance. In a publication by Kalibri Labs, sponsored by AH&LA, distribution costs have ramped up markedly and hoteliers must understand how to obtain direct to web business.Millennials are becoming the powerhouse that Bill Marriott predicted just 5 or 6 years ago. They represent more than half of the traveling public now and are driving decisions about design, marketing, digital services and much more. This trend will continue for a very long time as those of us who are Baby Boomers know that we dominated the mix for three decades.Being a hotelier is a great and noble profession and we should see a very strong summer ahead--smile and keep those chins up and rates growing! Enjoy the ride while it lasts!

RAR Hospitality announces Q1 earnings, acquired hotels, new hires and promotions

RAR Hospitality ·21 April 2017
San Diego -- Southern California hotel management group, RAR Hospitality, proudly announced today that the company has concluded Q1 with over 900 employees, 24 properties and $100 million in revenue. RAR recorded 33% growth in properties and employees from the same quarter last year.The company added one new addition to its management portfolio in the first quarter, with plans to acquire several more during the coming year. RAR will also open its ground up project, Fairfield Inn & Suites San Diego North/San Marcos during Q2. The growth has led to employee expansion as well as several promotions within the company."We are proud of the company's Q1 results and we attribute our success to smart growth and service," said Robert Rauch, founder and CEO of RAR Hospitality. "The RAR brand will continue to accelerate its presence in the West Coast and we plan to expand our footprint in additional regions."New properties to the RAR portfolio:Hotel St. James in Downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter marks the fourth Downtown San Diego-based property managed by the company. The historic hotel, currently under the Ramada brand, was built in 1913. The Victorian-era details have been restored and preserved in the furnishings and decor of the 10-floor hotel that boasts 99 hotel rooms and four suites.New hires to RAR Hospitality's corporate team:Marc Francois, previously general manager of El Cordova, has rejoined the company as Director of Business Development RAR Hospitality proudly promoted the following senior operations employees in Southern California:Andi Cornelius, previously with The Keating Hotel, has been promoted to Operations Manager at the Fairfield Inn & Suites San MarcosTaylor Nestra, previously Catering Sales Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, has been promoted to Director of Sales & CateringNicholas Sanders, previously Catering Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows has been promoted to Catering Sales ManagerAshley Descisciolo has been promoted to Catering Sales Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows New hires who joined RAR Hospitality's senior operations team in Southern California:Jeff Milnes has been appointed General Manager at the Holiday Inn Carlsbad & Staybridge Suites CarlsbadJonathan Gerber has been appointed General Manager at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad BeachJennifer Sehwani has been appointed to the Area Assistant Director of Sales for the Holiday Inn Carlsbad, Staybridge Suites Carlsbad, Hampton Inn Carlsbad and theHoliday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad BeachJeff Owens has been appointed Operations Manager at The Keating HotelThe remarkable success that RAR Hospitality has seen throughout the years as a company continued to show through quarter one. With 24 properties currently under management, RAR will expand in its existing markets of California, Arizona and Colorado and beyond further increasing its portfolio in 2017.RAR Hospitality is located at 10840 Thornmint Road #110, San Diego. For more information, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.
Article by Robert Rauch

Revenue Strategies for Boutique Hotels

RAR Hospitality ·12 October 2016
Mr. RauchRevenue ManagementRevenue Strategies for Boutique HotelsBy Robert Rauch, President, RAR HospitalityThe market is poised for boutique hotels to make an impact on the hotel industry like they never have before. With an expected soft landing of the economy in 2017 (2-3 percent RevPAR growth max) it is more important than ever for independent hotels to ensure that they have proper revenue strategies in place. Competing with the big brands for market share can sound like a herculean struggle but with execution of the proper procedures, a boutique hotel can stand apart from the crowd.Revenue GenerationUnderstanding where your business comes from is the first step of proper revenue management. Millennials now make up the largest share of traveler demographics and are the biggest factor as to why independents will be performing better than in previous years. They remain neutral regarding their opinions on branded hotels and they prefer seeking out an experience rather than staying loyal to any one particular chain. Think urban renewals and adaptive reuse of space; these factors are highly attractive to a millennial traveler because they embody elements of the surrounding area and create a unique experience. Remember that technology plays an important role in their day-to-day lives so ensure your Wi-Fi systems have enough bandwidth to meet their demands. This technology is not only required in each guestroom but also in any large social gathering area that promotes a work/play environment.With an established buyer persona, we can now look at your ideal revenue mix. Direct bookings are by far the most cost effective business for boutique hotels so it is always the goal to drive business to our own booking channels. Identifying what percent of business you need from group sales, Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) is important to a successful revenue strategy. Understanding the cost of all of your booking channels allows for you to properly layer in business by evaluating the effective average daily rate (ADR) and adjusting your available rates accordingly. Set occupancy thresholds for your hotel as key indicators of when to increase your rates. The further out a guest books, the better deal they should obtain in most cases. The worst thing you can do is to train your guests to book last minute by reducing rates or making last minute deals available.A savvy sales team can make or break your independent hotel. Group business generally books well in advance and provides the ideal base business for a hotel. Without the power of a brand sales team and the tools that they provide, your independent hotel's sales efforts need to ensure that they are utilizing the right channels to be effective. While GDS business is mostly pay-to-play, it provides exceptional return on investment (ROI) in the right markets. Responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) from these national accounts can be tedious but it is an essential piece to your revenue puzzle. Local negotiated rates (LNRs) are equally important for your sales team to seek out. These accounts are special rates set up with local businesses that have travel needs in the area. They are entirely driven by the relationships your team develops with the travel manager of the company and the service your operations team provides to these business travelers. Right now is the time to ensure these relationships are tapped for 2017.Group revenue management is much more complex than transient revenue management. Balancing meeting rooms and sleeping rooms has always been tough for revenue managers who have not been on the group sales side of the business and salespeople not familiar with RFPs must equip themselves with new tools. Identify your hotel's ideal rooms to space ratio to maximize profits on any piece of group business and to ensure your revenue manager and sales team are on the same page.Events and Other Contributing FactorsEvents are another important pillar to your team's strategy. While events generally do not provide a large amount of room nights, they do get people in the door of your hotel and help with your marketing efforts. If your hotel has an in-house food and beverage department, then capitalizing on these events is even more important to achieving financial success and should be incorporated into your revenue strategies. Food and beverage can be a huge selling point for a potential client. Gone are the days where frozen foods are acceptable. Farm to table and locally sourced product is expected at every dining occasion. Healthy options are also prized in today's market. While comfort foods are still appreciated, ensure your food and beverage team is keeping up with the latest healthy living trends and adjusting their menus accordingly. Let your chef be creative! Sometimes the most inspired ideas stem from thinking outside the norm. Remember that destination is a high contributing factor in the decision making process so your sales team should be highlighting all the aspects of the area that are attractive. Does your hotel have a great bar where guests could grab a happy hour drink after their meeting? Make sure to emphasize any amenity that promotes your hotel as a destination, even if you think it is not relevant to the meeting or event. If your hotel is limited on amenities, then provide information on your local area and everything that could be attractive to a first-time visitor. The work hard, play hard mentality has taken the market by storm so even if a client is looking to host a business meeting, they will also be exploring what to do once their meeting is finished.Stressing the importance of marketing in your overall revenue strategies cannot be overstated. Marketing is the crux of how your boutique hotel sets itself apart. Establishing your hotel's identity and voice and ensuring that it is effectively communicated to all outlets is a must. Without the power of a big brand behind you, you are awarded the chance to create a brand that really defines the hotel and the experience your team provides. Your social media platforms create a stage for your hotel's voice to be heard so their importance is far greater than they would be for a branded hotel. Develop creative packages and collateral that capture the guest experience to set yourself apart from a big box or cookie-cutter franchised hotel. These pieces must tell a story that evokes a potential guest's wanderlust and shows value. The freedom of having no brand requirements allows this narrative to be told across all media under your complete control. Your website should be constantly updated with local happenings, events and hangouts to keep up with search engine optimization (SEO) changes that stress these local focused searches. This is a complete advantage over branded hotels that have to have boring and monotonous websites with very little control over content. The goal is to create a local community hub that provides exceptional content to any visitor.While marketing spend may be a disadvantage for boutique hotels compared to their branded counterparts, their ability to adapt quickly to changes is quite the advantage and should be a part of any good revenue strategy. Take some of the money saved by not having franchise fees and invest it in your marketing efforts. As Google frequently adjusts the algorithms behind its search results, boutique hotels can react quickly and gain better placement on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher SERP placement directly correlates to more bookings. With technology changes happening faster than ever and mobile searches now outperforming desktop searches, boutique hotels can take advantage by being easy to do business with and having simple booking paths. Investing in strategic partnerships is also an important strategy for keeping up with the marketing ad spend of the brands and can lead to the obtaining of quality local back-links that greatly increase SEO.Branded hotels are at the whim of the brand when it comes to online advertising campaigns but independents retain all the creative control. If you are not currently investing in your pay per click (PPC) ad words and remarketing campaigns, now is the time to change that. These tools allow you to drive traffic directly to your website and convert direct bookings. With a highly tuned buyer persona from review of your web analytics and any other data you have access to, boutique hotels can create targeted campaigns with tremendous ROI. While competing with the OTAs and brands for spend on high value keywords does not make sense, you can take advantage of spending on your lower cost self-branded keywords so that you are not getting business stolen out from under you. Accepting the fact that you will never be able to keep up with the marketing spend of the OTAs is crucial to guiding your revenue strategies. OTAs do not need to be the enemy. Take advantage of their marketing reach during your slow periods and apply restrictions when needed to obtain your optimal revenue mix.With so many moving parts and no brand systems or guidance to assist you, it is essential for your hotel's revenue success to invest in the right tools. There are a number of property management systems, rate shoppers, channel management and customer relationship management tools that can provide the needed assistance for your revenue goals. With no big brother to watch over you it is important to audit these systems on a frequent basis to ensure that they are functioning properly. Having a connectivity issue can cost you thousands of dollars per month if you are showing no availability on certain channels.Revenue management should never be on the back burner, especially for boutique hotels. Strategies need to constantly be looked at and questioned so that they can evolve with the market. Pay attention to your rates daily and check them multiple times a day during peak demand periods. Schedule weekly revenue meetings with your hotel's key managers so that everyone involved is staying engaged and on the same page with your current strategies. Independent hotels can adapt quickly to changes in the market, so use this to your advantage. The "set it and forget it" mentality needs to be removed from your thinking to achieve revenue success. It may require lots of dedication from your entire team but the results are extremely rewarding. Good luck!Reprinted from the Hotel Business Review with permission from www.HotelExecutive.com
Article by Bob Rauch

10 Steps to Business Plan Development 2017

RAR Hospitality ·23 September 2016
it is not the end of the world, just a turning point in American politics.Note: I referred to franchise in this article and by that, I mean franchise, membership organization, brand relationship or your own branding.

RAR Hospitality to manage Fairfield Inn & Suites San Diego North/San Marcos and Arabella Hotel Sedona

RAR Hospitality ·20 September 2016
RAR Hospitality, a Southern California based hotel management and consulting company is proud to announce its growing boutique and branded hotel portfolio added hotel management agreements for Arabella Hotel Sedona andFairfield Inn & Suites San Diego North/San Marcos.Slated to open in January 2017, RAR Hospitality will own and operate Fairfield Inn & Suites San Marcos, expanding its presence in North San Diego County and 116 hotel rooms under construction will be added to the local economy. The four-story property will be an education hub with its location near North County's only public university, California State University San Marcos. A business center, fitness facility, pool, and two meeting spaces will be on-property perks as well as complimentary breakfast, free high-speed internet and valet dry-cleaning for the business or leisure traveler. Adding 30 hospitality jobs to San Marcos, RAR Hospitality has appointed Dallas King as general manager and Michelle Shullo as director of sales of the property."We are committed to being the best management company, bringing on the best hotels and allowing our employees to grow rapidly within the company," said RAR Hospitality's Chief Development Officer Cameron Lamming. "The addition of these two properties will allow RAR Hospitality to exhibit creative potential in the industry showcasing our capability to build a hotel from ground up."On September 1, RAR Hospitality assumed management of Arabella Hotel Sedona in Sedona, Ariz., the first boutique property in Red Rock Country for the company. Surrounded by Sedona's iconic Red Rocks, the two-story, 144-room property offers guests the best location for superior scenery, nearby attractions such as art galleries, shops, and restaurants, and outdoor adventures including jeep tours, hot air balloon excursions, hiking and biking. A hidden gem inside the Arabella Hotel, Elote Cafe and Executive Chef Jeff Smedstad have received national acclaim as one of the top dining destinations for Mexican cuisine in the United States. Shane Pappas, who most recently managed The Keating Hotel, another boutique hotel in RAR Hospitality's collection, has been promoted to general manager of Arabella Hotel Sedona, bringing his many years of hospitality experience to the hotel.RAR Hospitality now has a total of 21 hotels under management and over 800 employees. Along with the hotel collection expansion, RAR Hospitality has added and promoted operations employees on the leadership team at various properties includingHampton Inn & Suites Phoenix/Tempe, Red Lion Inn Phoenix/Tempe and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe.RAR Hospitality has appointed the following senior operations employees:Mary Lambert is now general manager of Radisson Hotel Phoenix NorthVictoria Camagong is now director of sales of Holiday Inn Express & Suites TempeRAR Hospitality has promoted the following senior operations employees:Mike DiNucci, previously director of sales at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe has been promoted to general manager of Holiday Inn Express & Suites TempeJason Cozakos, previously general manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe is now the general manager of Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix/Tempe and Red Lion Inn Phoenix/TempeFairfield Inn & Suites San Diego North/San Marcos is located at 227 W. San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos and Arabella Hotel Sedona is located at 725 Highway 179, Sedona. Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix/Tempe is located at 1415 N Scottsdale Road, Tempe, Red Lion Inn Phoenix/Tempe is located at 1429 N Scottsdale Road, Tempe and Holiday Inn Express Tempe is located at 1520 West Baseline Road, Tempe. RAR Hospitality is located at 10840 Thornmint Road #110, San Diego. For more information, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.

RAR Hospitality announces mid-year corporate expansion and exponential employee growth

RAR Hospitality · 2 August 2016
RAR Hospitality, a Southern California based hotel management and consulting company founded by "Hotel Guru" and hotelier, Robert Rauch in 1990, has kept a track record of continuous growth and reached a milestone, growing from 400 employees in January 2016 to 700 year-to-date, a 75 percent increase in employment. RAR Hospitality has a total of 20 hotels under management contracts with six hotels added to the company's hotel management collection in the first half of 2016 including Holiday Inn Carlsbad, Hampton Inn Carlsbad-North San Diego County and Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites. RAR's exponential success is a combination of striving to provide a quality workplace, a commitment to recruiting top talent, dedication to developing and growing employees and a strong focus on promoting within the company."Growth is an essential pillar of RAR's success but not just in terms of expanding the company," said Marc Potash, president and chief operating officer of RAR Hospitality, "One of the ways we measure ourselves is by the opportunities we are able to provide to our team members. There is nothing better than helping someone further their career within our company."RAR Hospitality represents independent, boutique, branded hotels in Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson, Phoenix, and Colorado Springs, with Los Angeles being RAR's newest market as of Q2 in 2016. The expanding growth of RAR Hospitality has led to several promotions throughout the company at both the corporate and property levels.RAR Hospitality promoted the following corporate employees:FounderRobert Rauch, previously President of RAR, has been promoted to CEOMarc Potash, previously Corporate Vice President, has been promoted to COO and PresidentRobert Moore, previously Vice President of Operations, has been promoted to Executive Vice President of OperationsJessica Woolfrey,previously Corporate Director of Human Resources, has been promoted to Vice President of Human Resources.Andrew Kalfayan, previously Regional Controller, has been promoted to Director of Accounting.New hires to RAR Hospitality's corporate team:Cameron Lamming, previously with Brixton Capital, has been appointed as Chief Development Officer of RAR HospitalitySteven Manners, previously Marketing Manager at The Keating Hotel and El Cordova Hotel, has been promoted to Corporate Marketing Manager.Melissa Ochoa, previously Front Office Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, has been promoted to Corporate Revenue Manager.RAR Hospitality promoted the following senior operations employees in Southern California:Josh Lujan, previously General Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, has been promoted to General Manager at Holiday Inn Carlsbad and Staybridge Suites CarlsbadChris Wood, formerly the Assistant General Manager at The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows, has been promoted to General Manager of The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & BungalowsNick Cunningham, previously Front Office Manager at El Cordova Hotel, has been promoted to General Manager at RAR's newest hotel property, Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & SuitesNew hires who joined RAR Hospitality's senior operations team in Southern California:Mary Ahlstrom, formerly the Director of Sales of Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, has been appointed as Director of Sales and Catering at Holiday Inn Carlsbad, Staybridge Suites Carlsbad, Hampton Inn Carlsbad-North San Diego County and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad BeachIlla Joshihas been appointed as General Manager at Hampton Inn CarlsbadDavid Perryhas been appointed as the General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad Beach RAR Hospitality's corporate office relocated from Del Mar, Calif. to a new headquarters in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego. The new office will accommodate RAR's plans for continued expansion and staff growth. This year, the hotel management firm has plans to grow in its existing markets such as Phoenix and San Diego, where the company has a strong presence and comprehensive market knowledge.RAR Hospitality is located at 10840 Thornmint Road #110, San Diego. For more information, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.

RAR Hospitality to assume management of Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites, Hampton Inn Carlsbad-North San Diego County and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad

RAR Hospitality ·10 June 2016
RAR Hospitality is proud to announce that it has acquired the hotel management contract for three branded hotels in Southern California including Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites, Hampton Inn Carlsbad-North San Diego County and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad Beach. The management contract for Best Western Plus San Pedro is the first hotel in Los Angeles for the leading hotel management and consulting firm headquartered in San Diego.The Carlsbad hotel projects are joint ventures between hospitality development firm Alps Group of Hotels and RAR Hospitality and the agreement raises the hotel management company's portfolio to 19 hotels. The three branded hotels joining RAR Hospitality's collection illustrate the hotel management firm's rapid growth."Our team is excited to enter a new market and apply our expertise in hotel management while continuing to expand our presence in San Diego," said Marc Potash, president and chief operating officer of RAR Hospitality. "With the management takeover of these properties, RAR Hospitality is further strengthening its reputation within the hospitality industry."The 60-room Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites is a Victorian-style hotel attracting both business and leisure guests, accommodating from one-night to extended stays. San Pedro is a cruise destination and the hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to cruise terminals at San Pedro World Cruise Terminal and is nearby Long Beach Convention Center, Catalina Island, and Port of Los Angeles. The hotel features a renovated 2,000 square-foot meeting and conference space, exercise facility with panoramic bay views, outdoor pool and jacuzzi, 24-hour business center and multilingual staff fluent in English, Spanish, and French.At Hampton Inn Carlsbad-North San Diego County, 94 spacious hotel rooms provide comfort and convenience to family and business travelers. The hotel at McClellan-Palomar Airport is within a short radius from entertainment and attractions including Legoland, San Diego Animal Park, and beaches of Carlsbad, Calif. Hotel guests have access to a range of amenities such as complimentary breakfast and high-speed Internet.Opened in late 2013, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad Beach is the only select service IHG property in Carlsbad offering accommodations to please every kind of traveler. The 120-room hotel has fully-renovated rooms and suites with expanded living spaces featuring new bedding, workspaces and guest bathrooms. The hotel offers an on-site health and fitness center, complimentary hot breakfast, Wi-Fi, and select corporate shuttle transportation. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad uses the IHG Green Engage System and applies green solutions at the hotel to reduce energy, water, and waste.Best Western Plus San Pedro Hotel & Suites is located at 111 S. Gaffey Street, San Pedro, Calif. Hampton Inn Carlsbad-North San Diego County is located at 2229 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad, Calif. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Carlsbad Beach is located at 751 Raintree Drive, Carlsbad, Calif.For more information on RAR Hospitality, please visit www.RARHospitality.com or call (858) 239-1800.
Article by Bob Rauch

The Chargers, Convention Center and Taxes: A Primer

RAR Hospitality · 9 May 2016
JMI (they own the most likely land), the tourism industry (they have to give up the contiguous convention center) and city and county officials. Further, the public will have to vote but let us face some facts, it is a difficult sell to convince residents that a new Chargers facility is an economic boost for San Diego. It is in fact a great civic pride boost and as a Chargers fan who watches them and attends games dressed in Charger blue, I love football and want the Chargers to stay in San Diego.Convention CenterIt has always been a preference for a contiguous convention center on the waterfront by almost everyone except for Cory Briggs and his supporters. In litigious San Diego, can a waterfront expansion ever occur? Hoteliers voted to fund the center with a plan that would tax downtown hotels at 3 percent, hotels in certain sub-markets at 2 percent and those in the distant periphery at 1 percent.Now, Cory Briggs and a few San Diego leaders have come up with a 3 percent net increase in hotel taxes that is called the "Citizens Plan"--I'm a citizen and I know it is not my plan. Having said that, there are some good points made by this plan. First, if a contiguous center cannot be built, maybe we should look at a non-contiguous plan. JMI has the land and has proven they can develop downtown--Petco is a great example. Second, the Chargers would likely agree to stay in San Diego as part of a downtown Convention Center/Stadium combination so long as they secure the public support/funding. They have even provided a rendering of what that combination would look like!In an effort to obtain the necessary approximately 67,000 signatures by June 8th to qualify for the November 8thballot, the Chargers have released some beautiful renderings of what a convention center/stadium combo could look like. The nautical feel of the design is truly a great representation of the city of San Diego. Always keep in mind though that renderings tend to give more life to a structure than the finished project. The combo also boasts a retractable roof which would turn the field into 100,000 square feet of pillar-less convention space. These efforts towards a compromise do not go unnoticed. The project is estimated at $1.8 billion and the team is requesting public financing to be covered by a 4 percent net increase in hotel tax.Make no mistake, while many believe this is all about the Chargers, the economic return on a convention center is outstanding in San Diego. Arguably, San Diego is one of the very few convention cities that would benefit from an expansion of their center. Most cities only get a brief burst of construction spending and never get a real return on their centers. This city has the hotels, climate, attraction package and desirability to move large conventions here. Jobs, tax dollars and businesses that will create an even better lifestyle for local residents are major ancillary benefits. After all, "happiness is calling" here in San Diego.TaxesIn my opinion, it is never a good idea to raise taxes unless absolutely necessary. The argument the "Citizen's Plan" makes is that we should be equal to other cities in hotel tax rates. Really? How is it a good idea to increase taxes just so we are at an equal rate to other cities? Is there not some competitive advantage to having lower tax rates? After all, hotel room rates are considerably higher than most of our competitors, due in large part to land and construction costs, and access via air is much more difficult and expensive than most of our competitors.Further, for hotels outside of the periphery of downtown, rather than paying a 1 percent increase to 13.5 percent as per the agreement reached under then Mayor Sanders, now those hotels would pay 15.5 percent. Currently, all hotels in San Diego pay 10.5 percent to the city and 2 percent to the Tourism Marketing District, a fee that was self-assessed by hotel owners. All of that 2 percent goes to tourism marketing which in turn allows us to stay competitive with marketing heavyweights Disney/Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Francisco.In FY 2015, San Diego's transient occupancy tax (TOT) of 10.5 percent generated $186 million for the city of San Diego. This is in addition to the tens of millions of dollars in other general fund revenues like sales tax, property tax, rents, etc. generated by visitor spending. By comparison, in 1980, TOT receipts totaled $10 million; in 1995, $57 million. The entire TOT revenue stream is used to supplement the city's General Fund and underwrite basic municipal services such as road repair and park maintenance. These revenues also help fund cultural events, arts organizations and community-based programs throughout the city.In addition, the TOT provides funding to hire police officers for our neighborhoods, train firefighters and promote economic development. The TOT also helps to maintain many of the amenities that are enjoyed not only by tourists, but also by San Diego-area residents such as Balboa Park, Mission Bay Park and the San Diego Trolley. The TOT is the source of funding for the expansion of San Diego's enormously successful Convention Center. The expansion project has ensured the center's continued competitiveness for years to come.Among the many benefits of tourism, tourism dollars help shift the tax burden to nonresidents. While the general perception recognizes direct jobs in hotel, restaurants, airlines and travel service companies, there are myriad jobs created both upstream with suppliers such as aircraft construction and border services and downstream in areas such as retail, service stations, clothing manufacturers, and food suppliers.In November of 2012, the city of San Diego approved a 40-year plan to fund the tourism industry through its creative Tourism Marketing District while then Mayor Bob Filner single-handedly disrupted spending to the tune of over $100 million. 2014 and 2015 have become story years for tourism in San Diego as revenues have grown by nearly 10 percent per year for the past two years. Now, Cory Briggs wants us to pass a five percent tax increase (net 3 percent as it includes the two points currently allocated to marketing) that in essence is a plan to get more money for the general fund and a convention center expansion off the waterfront. In addition, the Chargers have now released their plan--a four percent TOT increase to 16.5 percent!My bottom line is this. The tourism and hospitality industry does enough for San Diego but if it wants a convention center it should pay for it and as a group, the hoteliers voted to pay for that contiguous center, now blocked by Cory Briggs. Residents of San Diego should not expect the hotel industry to pick up the tab for the Chargers -- that money should come from the NFL and the Chargers as well as the city and county of San Diego. Keep the 10.5 percent TOT, all of which goes to San Diego. Keep the 2 percent marketing fee, all of which goes to tourism marketing. Raise additional monies from hotel taxes as originally voted on by the hotel community for any costs directly related to a convention center approved by hoteliers. All other funds needed for the Chargers stadium should come from a combination of all who benefit and then the residents will be voting on a fair, balanced plan. Go Chargers!

RAR Hospitality assumes management of Holiday Inn Carlsbad and Staybridge Suites Carlsbad

RAR Hospitality · 5 February 2016
RAR Hospitality, a hotel management and acquisitions company with a presence in Southern California and Arizona, is proud to expand its branded hotel collection in San Diego and announced today the management of two hotel properties, Holiday Inn Carlsbad and Staybridge Suites Carlsbad.The Carlsbad hotels demonstrate RAR Hospitality's strong growth in the hotel and travel sector and mark the eighth and ninth hotels in Southern California, and the first expansion of their portfolio in the new year for the hotel management company.RAR Hospitality Executive Vice President of Operations, Bob Moore, played an integral role in the assumption of management of the two hotels as he is a highly regarded, award-winning hotelier with over 13 years of hospitality service in Carlsbad."We are very proud to partner with two strong hotel brands in Carlsbad, a city that I extremely admire and advocate for," said Bob Moore. "Our team has proven time and again that it can effectively drive profitable business for all our hotels and we look forward to expanding our portfolio with our exceptional level of service."RAR Hospitality oversees all aspect of the hotels' day-to-day operations including customer service, food and beverage, marketing, accounting and human resources. Holiday Inn Carlsbad is a three-floor, 133-room hotel property that offers a personal retreat for business and leisure travelers in an accessible and prime location.Staybridge Suites Carlsbad has three floors and accommodations totaling 106 spacious suites. Designed for the extended stay traveler, Staybridge Suites provides thoughtful amenities to make every guest feel at home including large fully-equipped kitchens, on-site guest self-laundry facilities and dry cleaning service, a complimentary breakfast buffet and full-service housekeeping.Shared hotel amenities include on-site dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner at Stratus Restaurant and Bar, resort-style courtyard and an outdoor relaxation pool that are all available to both properties' guests. Guests can enjoy the cool 70-degree, year-round weather at both family-friendly hotels that are a short distance to various San Diego attractions, including Legoland and beach cities such as Carlsbad, Encinitas and Solana Beach. For the corporate business traveler, each hotel includes a 24-hour business center, health and fitness facility and complimentary high-speed Internet service."Bob Moore was instrumental in the development of Carlsbad as a destination. It is truly exciting to have him back in the area and once again serve as an advocate for our magnificent community," said Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall.The Holiday Inn Carlsbad and Staybridge Suites Carlsbad were both designed for sustainability with the IHG Green Engage system and allow the hotels to measure energy, carbon and water use while helping the properties achieve energy savings of up to 25 percent. The stunning properties received IHG's prestigious 2015 Developer of the Year for a Dual-Branded Hotel award.The Holiday Inn Carlsbad is located at 2725 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad and Staybridge Suites Carlsbad is located at 2735 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad. For more updates on RAR Hospitality's properties, please visit RARHospitality.com.
Article by Bob Rauch

Top 10 Hotel Trends for 2016

RAR Hospitality · 2 December 2015
in 2016 when rates can be pushed to pay for the capital expense and in the future when demand drops and those who have renovated win! Moreover, the Sharing Economy could have a material impact on lodging demand by 2017.Millennial Mindset trends toward group settings: Millennials and those who have the "millennial mindset" are looking for John Naisbitt's hi-tech, hi-touch experience. They like a personalized, gourmet experience for a reasonable price and this has produced all new lobby designs in the hotel sector. Lobby bars and hotel restaurants are wide open with combination work, play and eat/drink spaces designed with this youthful customer in mind, one who is a "party of one" but "hanging out together." So give them what they want--personalized experiences that create value. This group is quick to criticize via social media so "wow" customer service is your best protection here.Optimal Channel Mix: Online travel agencies (OTAs) are having a tremendous impact on distribution. They are responsible for incremental demand and the OTA's extensive marketing campaigns and sophisticated platforms reach travelers who might not find your hotel any other way. Owners still view OTAs as an expensive channel but it's a channel we most definitely need going into the next downturn. Find ways to use OTAs without relying on them as your primary resource--and get more eyeballs to your own web site! Personal Engagement in the Digital Age: Understanding the modern consumer is key to creating relationships and appearing up-to-date, particularly in the digital realm. Guests are using social media outlets, community apps, and online forums not only to research and book hotels, but to gauge the hotel's brand identity -- increasingly more on wireless devices. The hotels that frequently engage with consumers on social media and provide mobile-responsive websites or even apps to streamline the process will maintain repeat guests by showing a genuine understanding and interest of guests' needs, as well as brand personality and relatability.Revenue Management 2.0: Adhering to the science of hospitality, revenue management is a constant work in progress that is now 40 years old. Investing time in fine tuning your revenue management strategy will maximize profits providing for a larger cushion when the next downturn hits. And don't just go with your gut--invest in new technology as it is changing rapidly! Take a hard look at who is the most profitable customer and what room types are in highest demand each and every day. Additionally, make certain your team is accurately forecasting demand!Sharing Economy and Disruption: No matter how hard some people may fight it, Airbnb, Uber, and the likes are here. Hotels should innovate and provide quality alternatives with the same appeal to the maximum extent possible. Mobile/digital check-in, easily accessible and plentiful outlets in all areas, reliable and fast wifi are some of the amenities desired by those who utilize Airbnb and HomeAway. The hotel industry should not take its cues from the music and taxi industries that could not embrace change and continue to implode. More disruption is on the way!Soft Landing: The party will not go on forever so do not make promises of distributions beyond 2016. Although this requires careful readings of partnership agreements, it is easy to distribute excess cash given that the good times are here. However, holding back some of this money is in the best interest of many partnerships because it may prevent cash calls upon the next downturn or soft landing. From an emotional/psychological standpoint, it is better to not give too much and not request later on rather than to give more now and request some of it back later.What is the bottom line? The industry has become largely a science, not an art. Consolidation driven by a need to scale and technology driven by mobile growth have changed the industry as we knew it. Take advantage of the best profit year ever in our industry but prepare for a soft landing in the future that will be caused by many of the aforementioned concerns.

RAR Hospitality Acquires Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe

RAR Hospitality ·16 September 2015
In partnership with PacVentures, San Diego-based RAR Hospitality has acquired The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)-affiliated Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe, marking their third joint venture into Arizona's burgeoning hospitality market. Located adjacent to Arizona Mills Mall, which recently won the bid for a new Lego Discovery Center, and surrounded by multiple points of interest, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe (HIE) has flourished over recent years."RAR is thrilled to have another Arizona hotel in its portfolio," expressed Corporate Vice President Marc Potash. "This market, particularly in the Greater Phoenix area, is primed for explosive growth over coming years, and we look forward to contributing to local success and further enhancing the level of service available at this location."RAR has assumed management of the hotel under the leadership of CEO and Founder Robert Rauch, who has significant experience in the Phoenix market. The property will undergo renovations over the next few years to bring the hotel in line with Holiday Inn Express' Formula Blue concept.As part of RAR's assumption of management, seasoned hospitality professionals Jason Cozakos and Michael DiNucci have been appointed General Manager and Director of Sales, respectively. As General Manager, Cozakos will apply more than two decades of experience to the oversight of day-to-day operations. DiNucci returns to Greater Phoenix after sales roles of increasing levels of responsibility at a number of IHG properties throughout the Southwestern U.S."Jason and Michael have the right experience and the enthusiasm needed to take this hotel to the next level," said Rauch. "Under their leadership, we are confident the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tempe will continue to grow its leading presence in the area."The hotel's proximity to companies including Wells Fargo Regional Corporate, Motorola, Honeywell, Chase and US Airways position it to become a preferred destination for corporate meetings, while a quick drive to both the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Arizona State University make it an ideal destination for leisure travelers.About PacVenturesPacVentures, Inc. is a commercial real estate investment firm based in San Diego, Calif. The company specializes in the acquisition and development of industrial, retail, and office properties located in the Southwestern United States. Privately owned, PacVentures focuses on value enhancing opportunities with significant principal involvement. Our extensive knowledge and experience allows us to quickly identify and decisively act upon acquisition, leasing development, and disposition opportunities. For more information, visit PacVentures.com.About the Holiday Inn Express(r) brandHoliday Inn Express(r) hotels are modern hotels for value-oriented travelers. Fresh, clean and uncomplicated, Holiday Inn Express hotels offer competitive rates for both business and leisure travelers. Guests Stay Smart(r) at Holiday Inn Express hotels where they enjoy a free hot Express Starttm breakfast bar with new healthier offerings, free high-speed Internet access and free local phone calls (U.S. and Canada only). There are currently more than 2,375 Holiday Inn Express hotel locations around the globe. For more information about Holiday Inn Express hotels or to book reservations, visit www.ihg.com/hiexpress.

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