A Company of One – collaboration in present day hospitality

Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed the mergers and acquisitions of not only iconic hotel brands and resorts, but independent boutique hotels and resorts as well. What is interesting to note in these transactions is ownership.Ê Owners and owning companies are now institutional: REITs, Funds, conglomerate with diverse portfolios along with financial institutions.ÊCompany of One

This is a stark departure from years past when hospitality families and hotel brands owned and operated hotels and resorts. The trend of non-traditional ownership (institutional) will continue for the foreseeable future, due to strong interest in hospitality assets and deals from institutional sector. While hospitality executives and professionals may view this as a challenge or a threat to positions and/or livelihoods, I beg to differ.Ê It is an opportunity. Particularly for those in consultancies or in-house positions within hospitality organizations.

The present investment climate of hospitality mergers and acquisitions wields tremendous opportunities for consultants and those desiring to leverage decades of hospitality experience into productive and profitable consultancies. Enter, The Company of One. Collaboration will be the trend in the coming years; whereby adversaries and competitors join forces to share resources, and talent, with the goal of uncovering new market-share and ultimately revenue. If you consider that the hospitality industry has always competed for market-share pitting hotels against hotels to achieve the all-important corporate contract and leisure business; why shouldn’t hospitality professionals team-up to share resources to achieve their respective goals?

As competing hospitality companies become one; adversaries are now partners and colleagues. What if hospitality consultants and executives competing against each other joined forces?Ê The results would be tremendous:Ê new business opportunities, added value through skillsets, exposure and revenue.Ê A Company of One.

A Company of One

I predict the term A Company of One will become the mantra as the hospitality industry continues to evolve in-terms of ownership. The reason is quite simple, ownership is now institutional and aims to produce ROI for their investors; all about the bottom line. Investors/ownership do not care about execution but instead are most concerned about ROI.

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As most hospitality investors are now publicly held companies with the sole goal of achieving revenue for their shareholders; a collaboration of the Best and Brightest the hospitality industry has to offer is paramount. This is a clear signal that the industry as we knew it is no more and that there is an opportunity for all of us to increase our stock by joining forces.

In all honesty I saw this one coming years ago and embarked upon a second career in commercial real estate sales, specializing in hotel and resort asset sales. I recognized the value I brought to the real estate industry through years of hospitality experience and that my industry contacts could easily be transferred to hospitality sales. Most important, I saw a need for hospitality expertise and talent post acquisition to help investors unfamiliar with the industry realize their investment goals.

Thus, the creation of Morgensheer Hospitality Inc., a Consortium of hospitality professionals and real estate advisors; offering expertise in hospitality; executable strategies to generate results. To help structure the Consortium, I tapped colleagues representing the following:Ê Sales/Marketing, Architecture/Design, Branding/Positioning, Developers, Hospitality Valuation/Market Study, Turn Around Specialists, Operations/Asset Management, Marketing/Communications and the Capital Markets. Together we bring three centuries of experience along with tenures from leading brands such as: Four Seasons, Le Meridien, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott Hotels, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Taj Hotels, to name a few. In other words, an all-star line-up.

Morgensheer Hospitality Inc.’s efforts begin at the point of sale or acquisition and continues if the investor requires assistance. In the end the investor wins as does the Consortium (consultants). For the consultants, exposure within the hospitality real estate investment sector, along with ongoing projects and revenue are tremendous.ÊA Company of One.

A Company of One & Hospitality

So, what exactly is A Company of One as it relates to hospitality you ask?ÊA Company of One is a group of hospitality professionals providing seamless strategies and campaigns encompassing the following hospitality disciplines: Sales/marketing, Revenue Management, Hotel/Resort Turn Around, Architecture/Design, Development, Digital/E-Commerce, Branding/Positioning, Marketing Communications, Real Estate/Investment Advisory.Ê In other words, everything an investor requires to ensure value and ROI pre and post-acquisition.ÊA Company of One has a leader whose responsibility is oversight of projects along with identifying opportunities for the team. The goal is to ensure that the investment (hotel asset) maintains and expands market-share, attracts new travelers/clients, create cash flow and ultimately value.

Trust me, A Company of One is of interest and appeal to hospitality entities who were once competitors now operating under the same ownership (mergers/acquisitions). Consolidation along with one-stop shop positively impacts the bottom line; ensures productivity, consistency and results.Ê This goes as well for independently owned hospitality assets whose ownership seek a more customized approach to achieving market share; a team without the corporate layers or constraints.Ê A Company of One which will in essence become their team, enabling flexibility, creativity, direct engagement, accountability, productivity and proactivity.Ê For independent hotel owners, the opportunity to have at their disposal a group of seasoned hospitality executives is of great value, even offering tremendous cost savings.

Hospitality executives and consultants with storied careers must recognize the value they offer.Ê We have all been at a place in our careers where we have achieved our professional goals and climbed to the highest levels within an organization.Ê That is a wonderful thing.Ê It is important to keep in mind that changing markets, investment and economic conditions offer tremendous opportunity to create new opportunities within the industry, A Company of One.Ê There is and will remain a market for seasoned hospitality professionals.Ê Additionally, there is the opportunity to collaborate with longtime colleagues, competitors and other hospitality professionals.Ê By combining invaluable skillsets/experiences you can greatly impact ROI.Ê Why sit on the sidelines?

How do you get started?Ê Don’t be an island.Ê Practice what has been embedded in all of us hospitality professionals; good old fashion hospitality.Ê Reach out to colleagues within the industry, investment sectors, including asset managers and those within the banking sectors to ask how you can lend your services.Ê With all of my deals I consistently reach back into my platinum rolodex of hospitality colleagues and contacts to refer business.Ê The reason is very simple, I know their achievements, understand their processes and feel completely confident that they will not only exceed my clients’ expectations, they will make me look like a Rock Star.Ê More important, it is giving back to the hospitality industry of professionals the assistance and help I received throughout my career.Ê What could be better than that?

Investors

Investors new to the hospitality industry should approach the acquisition in the same manner they would any other investment. Beginning with Due Diligence; for human resources.Ê Identify the most successful hospitality professionals to lead the team/efforts.Ê You can do so by following some of the most innovative, successful and revenue-generating hotels and resorts. Engage experienced hospitality professionals to assemble the team. The most successful team members for your Company of One will be hospitality professionals whose resumes features tenures at well-known hospitality brands (domestic and international) of varying categories from 3 star to 5 star, franchises and independent boutique hotels.

Diversity is key when it comes to experience; each brand is centered on a customized SOP. SOP provides structure, consistency, strategy, brand positioning; aimed at achieving and maintaining market share and awareness. The aforementioned is key to achieving ROI.

Collaborating with like-minded and skilled hospitality professionals can be a rewarding and profitable experience. It will enable you to reinvent your career, continue your passion (those of us in hospitality do it for passion), learn a new industry (real estate investment/financial markets) and stay relevant. Now more than ever it is important to heed the signs of change. The time to begin is now; get into the practice of reading financial news paying particular attention to M&A (mergers and acquisitions as it relates to hospitality).Ê Real estate publications are also important. By following the news you will begin to identify potential business opportunities. And of course, seek out Consortiums and team members who are well-connected and offer potential of projects.Ê Collaborate!Ê Become A Company of One.

About the author

Trica Jean-BaptisteTrica Jean-Baptiste is the founder and President of Morgensheer Hospitality, Inc., a consortium of hospitality, real estate, development, sales and marketing and communications consultants.Ê The Morgensheer Hospitality Inc. Consortium provides strategic hospitality services to real estate investors acquiring and developing hospitality assets.

Prior to embarking upon a second career in commercial real estate, Trica Jean-Baptiste was president and founder of Trica Jean-Baptiste Communications, LLC; an award-winning boutique Travel Hospitality PR based in NYC for 15 years.

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