HB ON THE SCENE: AmericInn Convention Highlights Brand Successes

MINNEAPOLIS—The 2014 AmericInn Convention and Tradeshow, held here at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, opened yesterday with an optimistic outlook.

“It is a good time to be a hotel owner,” said Paul Kirwin, president and CEO, Northcott Hospitality, which owns the AmericInn brand, noting that the brand had system-wide RevPAR growth of over 4% last year and the brand generated more than $200 million in system-wide revenue. “That’s an all-time high for the brand.”

Kirwin also reported high scores on the brand’s report card from Market Metrics. “Over the last few years, we’ve had a major push to improve the product of AmericInn,” he said, noting that the results have been really significant with a three-point growth in both guest likelihood to recommend and likelihood to return.

Other highlights of 2013 included national account sales hitting an all-time high for the brand of more than $8 million and improvements in the brand’s infrastructure. Kirwin noted that the company has bigger and bolder marketing, adding that last year the brand added a billboard at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, “the single biggest travel hub in the upper Midwest.” Mark Masuda, VP of sales and marketing, added that this program was expanded to four airports, including Milwaukee, WI; Des Moines, IA; and Madison, WI. “Over the three-month buy, nine million potential guests will be exposed to our brand,” he said.

Other marketing efforts include a new partnership with the Minnesota Twins, whose reach encompasses areas where 82% of the brand’s properties are located, and Random Acts of Vacation, a promotion that lets people nominate deserving individuals for a vacation from the brand. “In less than two weeks, we’ve had almost 150 nominations,” said Masuda.

On the development side, the company has 10 conversions and 16 new construction projects in the pipeline, with a goal of signing 10 new agreements in 2014.

“These are good times,” said Kirwin, “but we can’t take this success for granted. Increasingly, in the world we live in, people feel that when you’re successful, is the most important time to reflect on how you have to change in the future. Companies and organizations that don’t change in today’s fast paced, technology driven world are likely to be left behind. That’s a challenge we have to keep in mind.”