Hospitality Partners Creates Local Ties To Foster Success In Eastern U.S.

BETHESDA, MD? Knowing its market? Washington, D.C.? and building important relationships there have had a lot to do with the success of Hospitality Partners, according to Michael Dickens, president/CEO. The fact that several of the hotel management firm?s top executives have worked together for many years has also been advantageous. ?The hotel business is a national business but to be successful you must know the local market and focus your assets there,? Dickens said. By year?s-end, Hospitality Partners will manage 13 hotels with 2,477 rooms and suites plus a conference center in Philadelphia. Dickens estimates gross annual revenue for 1999 will be $85 million. Dickens? involvement in the lodging industry dates back to the summer of 1972 when, prior to starting law school, he was a lifeguard at an apartment complex in Atlanta, GA. When the building was converted into a Guest Quarters all-suites hotel that September, he stayed on. Initially, he was in maintenance while he learned the business. ?I enjoyed it and knew this was what I wanted to do,? Dickens said. ?Guest Quarters was a young entrepreneurial company and I felt I had a future there.? A year later he was opening general manager for a new Guest Quarters in Greensboro, NC, and subsequently moved up the management ranks until he was named president and CEO of the company in 1983. When Guest Quarters was sold to Beacon Companies of Boston in 1986, Dickens and two of his colleagues at the firm, John Vernon and Frederick Palloni, formed a company called DVP Corp. Hospitality Partners was born when DVP entered into a partnership with the Donohoe Companies, a real estate development, management and construction firm founded in Washington in 1884. Other Hospitality Partners? executives also came from Guest Quarters including Rebecca Baer, controller; Susan Edinger, corporate director of quality; and Debra Reindollar, network administrator. ?We go back a lot of years and work well together as a company,? Dickens said. ?Since we came from running a small brand, we are always focused on marketing and sales because revenue is everything in this business.? Soon after Hospitality Partners was formed, it took over two Holiday Inns and established a management base. In January 1987, the partnership opened the Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston (VA); the property has been profitable since its fourth month of operation. This was followed by the Holiday Inn Georgetown which Hospitality Partners began to manage in December 1987. After its first year under the firm?s management, the property produced the highest room revenues in its history. Revenues were up more than 20% and restaurant sales increased almost 50%. After these early success stories, Hospitality Partners grew, taking over the management of Doubletree Guest Suites properties in Washington and Alexandria, VA and the Holiday Inn Capitol in Washington. The firm also acquired the Hotel Anthony, a 99-suite hotel in downtown Washington, and reopened it as the Lincoln Suites Downtown in January 1995. Since then, it has increased room revenues by more than 35%. What followed was Hospitality Partners? ?most significant milestone,? Dickens said. ?This was getting back into the development business in 1997 with three Marriotts. It?s one of the most exciting things that has happened to our business.? All three Marriotts are development and construction projects of the Donohoe Companies. They include: ? A 188-key Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Washington. Launched in June of this year, the hotel is in a converted 108-year-old bank building which is on the Historic Register. ? A new-build 176-suite Residence Inn in Rosslyn, VA. scheduled to open this month. ? A 107-suite Residence Inn at DuPont Circle in Washington slated to open in December. The three new Marriotts were financed through GMAC, according to Dickens, who noted, ?We have a range of equity partners and financing partners. Financial markets are much different now bu