New Olympus Group Unites Hotel Brands

SCOTTSDALE, AZ? Olympus Real Estate has formed a hotel hospitality group to bring its hotel brands under a single umbrella. The purpose of the new entity, Olympus Hospitality Group, is to give the Rockresorts, Unique Hotels, Park Plaza International and Park Inns a clear operating structure under which an aggressive national and international growth campaign will be executed. The company also named two industry veterans to head the new division and drive expansion. L.K. Eric Prevette was appointed president of Olympus Hospitality Group and Carlos Lopes was named executive vp. The two, both former Rosewood Hotels & Resorts executives, will oversee expansion of the brands, which will be conducted simultaneously and begin immediately. Meanwhile, an additional six key executive positions are expected to be filled by the end of the first quarter of 2000. The new operating platform more closely aligns the brands with Olympus Real Estate and underlines the company?s dedication to becoming a ?key player in the national and international hospitality arena,? said David Deniger, president/CEO of Dallas-based Olympus Real Estate. The company will support the new entity, aiding in business relationships for joint ventures and providing capital for acquisitions in 2000. Executives at Olympus Hospitality said that each of the four brands will have a personality of their own, and will grow through management contracts, joint ventures/acquisitions and franchising. ?With the financial strength of Olympus? we will realize their full potential,? said Prevette, who noted that several deals are in the works. One that will add a resort property to the Rockresorts name is expected to close this month. Another deal, currently being finalized, will add as many as 30 Park Inns and Park Plaza hotels in the Northeast from Vermont to Washington D.C., he said. Industry sources said that the properties being acquired encompass the Susse Chalet brand. Although it had previously been reported that Olympus Real Estate was planning to step back from the hospitality industry, Prevette said that Olympus will come into the market in 2000 with some new funds, a large portion of which will be slated for hospitality. Rockresorts, a collection of four- and five-star resort properties ?with a good name in the marketplace,? is expected to grow by 12 new hotels in the next three years, according to Prevette. Targeted regions for acquisitions and management contracts include New England, California, the Rocky Mountains, Hawaii and resort areas along the mid-Atlantic Coast. Future growth will likely bring the brand overseas, said Prevette, and may include licensing the name to a third party. The Rockresorts concept, which was introduced in 1956 by Laurance Rockefeller, will remain a luxury product but will be slightly updated to appeal to the modern affluent traveler, said Prevette, ?which will give us a good leg up on clinching new developments.? Contrasting Rockresorts is Unique Hotels, a collection of boutique, three- and four-star urban hotels. This line of properties will also add 12 additional hotels via acquisitions or management contracts. Urban areas of interest include: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. ?We would like to take a more national approach to Unique. We know that there are a lot of existing properties and conversion opportunities out there,? said Prevette. Potential merger activity is in the air for Park Plaza, which will boost its presence in certain parts of the world, said Prevette. Park Inns will likely grow through acquisitions of existing hotels and franchising.