LOS ANGELES—This year at ALIS, Hotel Business caught up with HP Hotels’ Charles Oswald, president/CEO, and Kerry Ranson, chief development officer, to discuss the conference, the company’s recent growth and what the future holds.
“ALIS is always a great way to lead off the year,” said Ranson. “It allows us to pair potential opportunities we have been reviewing with our clients that match their needs, offering our value-add opportunities; find new deals that have not been brought to market; get a feel for financing so that we can provide our clients with options; and meet with brands to discuss market opportunities that our clients are seeking or that brands are wanting to grow, so that we can pair our partners with the right brands.”
Since 2015, the company has grown by 40% from 33 hotels to 46 hotels in 2017, including an increase of 1,835 rooms. “We started 2018 with the addition of the 417-room DoubleTree Downtown Convention Center in Tulsa, OK, and we are in the final stages of an agreement for a hotel very close to Pittsburgh,” he said. “With our investment in human capital over the last few years, HP is poised for a good year of growth, deepening relationships with our current clients and partners, as well as establishing and building relationships with new groups that we have been working with to identify possible acquisition opportunities. There is not an absolute number we are shooting for. Rather, we are pursuing a strategy of calculated growth that results from our strengths in the right markets and right segments, and leverages our systems and resources.”
The company also made another addition to its management portfolio, a Holiday Inn Express in New Orleans, recently purchased by JMI Realty. It is HP Hotels’ first partnership with JMI. “JMI was looking at some opportunities in New Orleans, a unique market to be sure,” said Ranson. “The opportunities that seemed to meet JMI’s criteria in New Orleans were also unique and a bit out of the normal ‘sweet spot’ from a hotel segment standpoint. JMI searched for management companies that would not only be well-versed in New Orleans with a local presence, but that could also work with them on a hotel segment (select-service) that the company had not been involved with previously.”
Ranson said that even with the growth, the company is not seeking to be the largest in the industry, but one that is best in class. “We are aggressively out seeking opportunities that are a good fit with our expertise, experience and abilities in order to bring value to our different equity partners and match the right partners with the right opportunities,” he said.
Oswald echoed Ranson’s thoughts about the company’s plans for the new year. “We will continue to work our calculated growth plan and also seek out more opportunities in the upscale and full-service sector where we have had a lot of success and see tremendous value-add opportunities,” he said, pointing to the benefits of the company’s operating platform and systems. “Our added human capital has extensive history in these categories as well, thus allowing us to expand our presence seamlessly.”