Many of our readers look forward to this particular edition every year: The September 7th issue has been, for the last 20 years, the annual Owners & Developers issue. That’s not to say that on some level, every issue of Hotel Business isn’t about owners and developers—after all, they are key players in our industry.
What sets this issue apart is our ranking of the top ownership and development companies, based on room count (and based on those that submitted data to our survey), and our profiles of owners and developers we choose to highlight by taking a deeper dive into what makes them successful, what their growth plans are, and where they’ve been and where they’re heading.
But while the focus of this issue is on business performance and data as it relates to owners, I want to focus on a different side of our industry: the power of owners to step in, step up and act with compassion in times of need. And that time is certainly here.
As I write this, the devastation of Hurricane Harvey—or, as of press time, Tropical Storm Harvey—is already truly catastrophic. And the destruction continues. With record rainfall and flooding—and photos of both that are heart-achingly jawdropping—we all feel somewhat helpless to aid those who most need it. This industry has been amazing, offering reduced hotel rates and donating significant funds, among other acts of kindness, to the cause, but it was hearing from one of our loyal readers last night—one whose company is listed in our owners & developers chart (see page 67)—that prompted me to spring into action in my own very small way after the workday was over to help him get the word out via Hotel Business’ social media channels.
Sunil Tolani, CEO of Irvine, CA-based Prince Organization, reached out to me to let me know—and, with our wide reach, let others know—that he is offering complimentary rooms for three to five nights for displaced victims of the storm at his Nacogdoches Inn & Suites (formerly a Quality Inn & Suites that’s being converted to a Red Roof Inn & Suites) at 3400 South St. in Nacogdoches, TX, which is two hours from Houston. He wrote to tell me he has 80-100 rooms available, but is willing to offer his other locations in Dallas, Austin, Louisiana and Mississippi if need be. And, he’s making sure these victims feel like guests: A hot breakfast is included and he’s sure the general manager, Teresa, or the assistant GM, Heather, will greet them with the warm smile they need right now, more than ever.
“This is our tenth year in hospitality and we are feeling blessed,” he wrote. “If there’s a little bit we can do, we are for it… It is moments like these that the power of our hospitality is most needed… This is what we do best in hospitality. When our communities need us, we come together to support one another by delivering the exceptional hospitality that we are known for all over the world. And to my fellow owners in Texas and the surrounding area: I want to say a very heartfelt thank you for all that you are doing to take care of your team members, families, friends and communities during these challenging times. You are all truly an inspiration and we are proud to call you part of our hospitality family.”
And we’re proud to call you, Sunny (as he’s so appropriately called), and all the others who I know are helping in any way that they can, part of ours.