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Internal Operations

Hotel Equities Supports Continued Growth With Pair of Key Promotions

Thursday, May 30, 2019
Dennis Nessler
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Underscoring its commitment to continued growth and elevating talent internally, Hotel Equities recently expanded its leadership team with a pair of key promotions.

The Atlanta-based owner/operator earlier this week promoted Drew Salapka to SVP, operations and Cesar Wurm to SVP, sales and revenue generation. Salapka most recently served as SVP of revenue generation while Wurm joined the company in 2018 as vp, sales and marketing.

In his new role, Salapka will lead the firm’s portfolio of roughly 70 hotels while Wurm will lead the company-wide strategic sales and revenue generation efforts. Both executives report to Hotel Equities’ EVP Bryan DeCort.

Salapka started with the company as a housekeeper at a Residence Inn when he was 15 and ultimately worked his way up through the ranks to general manager, in addition to a variety of operations and sales and revenue generation positions.

He offered his perspective on the opportunity and shared his objectives.
“We’ve had a lot of success and we’ve grown and all of that’s great and it’s been an exciting run, but one of my biggest goals is to really understand what makes our people tick. What are they passionate about? What’s the next step in their career and how can I get them there? I think we have a lot of great systems in place that have led to great results and great portfolio growth and that’s all still very important for me, but my number one mission is to make a distinct difference in people’s lives and that starts with our associates, but it’s also our owners and our guests,” he said.

Salapka reinforced the company’s emphasis on culture noting it starts at the top with founder and chairman Fred Cerrone and President and CEO Brad Rahinsky. In fact, he described his career ascension as “living proof that our culture works.”

Salapka further added, “I’m excited about being able to take my 20 years of experience in our culture and really ensure that our culture is just as alive in our hotels in California as it is right down the street from our corporate offices.”

Part of that experience includes his most recent position in sales and revenue generation and Salapka explained how that will help him in his new role and what his approach will be.

“I think it’s important that my role looks at everything holistically. I don’t want to go into a hotel and just have a conversation about a P&L statement or just about GSS. It’s important that we look at every aspect. I think my background and history in sales and revenue is going to help...because it all comes together at the end,” he commented.

In his new role, Salapka stressed the importance of reaching out and opening the lines of communication within the company’s growing portfolio of properties.

“When I started with the company we had four hotels so if you wanted to visit the whole portfolio you could do it in an afternoon. It’s not possible for me to visit every single one of our properties and I know that but there’s a lot of different ways that you can build relationships,” he said.

As an example, Salapka noted has already begun the process by calling some 70 general managers and having 30- to 40-minute stay interview calls. “I don’t think there’s a better way to really get a full understanding of how the operations of this company works without me doing that. How do our GMs feel? How do they feel supported? What do they like? What do they not like?”

Meanwhile, Wurm has assumed the position of vp, sales and revenue generation.
Salapka was appointed as the firm’s first revenue manager, and in 2008, the company promoted him to full-time director of revenue generation. Having helped build that department, Salapka is closely familiar with Wurm, who joined the company in 2018 as vp, sales and marketing, and he touted their relationship while acknowledging the importance of both executives going forward.

“He brings a great unique skill set that will continue to take that department to a new level. We worked extremely well with one another and that was another big part of both of us elevating with the ultimate goal of having sales, revenue, and operations on the same page ensuring that no silos form. We’re excited about taking this journey together,” he said.

Salapka reflected on his tenure with Hotel Equities thus far and what it’s meant to him personally and professionally. “Fred and several leaders in our company helped me connect a lot of dots in life. If you follow our culture statement and you really want to make a distinct difference in people’s lives and you put other people’s needs in front of your own you can do something really special...I had a lot of people like Fred help me form that path for me and now there’s no other company I would ever do this for and nothing else I’d really want to be doing,” he concluded.
Dennis Nessler    Dennis Nessler
Hotel Interactive®, Inc.
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