Already the country’s eighth largest hotel company and 10th globally, Vantage Hospitality is looking to turn the predominantly North American company into a global powerhouse. To do that, its executives are making deals to bring more hotels into developing nations at a faster clip while also looking in other regions around the globe.
Currently Vantage has more than 1,100 hotels under several brands including its economy segment Americas Best Value Inn and Canadas Best Value Inn where in other parts of the globe it’s now known as Value Inn Worldwide. The company also offers the midmarket focused Lexington Collection and its soft branding option Lexington Legacy, which hotels such as The D Las Vegas and The Lions Gate Hotel & Conference Center in Sacramento are affiliated with.
“Our format has led to industry leading growth,” said Founder and CEO Roger Bloss during a general session at the company’s annual membership meeting. “Our vision is to continue to build quality brands globally, the right way. We are identifying quality properties in target markets and seeing more new activity from new construction than ever before.”
Pointing to corporate stability, Bloss also touted the same top executives that were on board when the company was founded in 1999 are still there today.
Vantage Hospitality is a membership based organization rather than a traditional franchisor
. Dubbed a Freestyle® Brand Affiliation model, the company’s executives say the structure offers hotel owners the resources of a hotel franchise
and the freedom of a membership model. That structure ensures its affiliated members have a chance to vote on all future issues and programs Vantage would like to implement, a strategy Bloss says gives hotel owners a chance to choose their own destiny without the parent brand forcing policies and programs on them. Members even have an affirmative vote for fees paid to Vantage to rise.
On a similar topic Bloss said that as the economy improves many hotel companies are enacting PIPs that are good for the franchisor not the franchisee
. Not Vantage he said.
“We offer cost effective solutions to meet specific needs of your hotel. This is not a short term gig but a long term partnership. Our goal is to help you [achieve] long term value with fairness and transparency and for you to pay lower fees while we offer better training and services to help you with product improvement, customer service and direct sales and marketing.”
And they’re doing this all while dumping the bottom 10 percent of hotels every year according to quality scores.
Meanwhile, Jordan Langlois, Vice-President, Brand Management at Vantage Hospitality Group, shared how the company is doing compared to one year ago. He said that Lexington Collection hotels saw a 13 percent ADR increase and a 25 percent increase in TripAdvisor ratings.
Citing the importance of TripAdvisor Langlois said positive reviews lead to an increase in revenues by as much as $50,000 per hotel. He also noted the company is adding a new tool to consolidate all its educational offerings in a single place, which will debut next year. “You need to command the rates you deserve so we are rolling out more services and strategies to help,” said Langlois.
Meanwhile Bernie Moyle, Vantage’s COO and CFO said the company is getting more engaged with ‘backyard sales’ and offering programs focused on improving customer service, OTA partnerships, social media and have hired more support to assist property owners in business.
The company is also seeing growth in its social media efforts with Facebook likes doubling, a 20 percent jump in the company’s email lists and a wild 430 percent surge in mobile bookings. The company also got 400 million online impressions this past year while seeing a 24 percent rise in visits to the company’s various branded websites including mobile booking channels, which accounted for nearly one-third of all site views.
In 2014 the company will introduce new websites to better appeal to people hotel shopping through tablets and smartphones while also dedicating more advertising dollars to the mobile medium as well. Already technology is in place to ping guests with stay offers when they are within five miles of a hotel.
For its advertising efforts the company is focusing more on 10 second spots within television shows to combat people who use commercial skipping technology. Spots appear within shows such as Let’s Make a Deal and Inside Edition. The company has also started advertising on Spanish speaking radio stations as well as major English speaking radio networks such as CBS, WSJ Radio, ABC, Westwood One and Premiere.
“We’re spending money in the right places, adding staff and creating innovative training programs and expanding sales blitzes. As the travel booking process continues to evolve we are remaining at the forefront. This is not a goal, it’s a commitment,” said Bloss.