Strand Hospitality Services Plots 70% Growth in Two Years

MYRTLE BEACH, SC—Strand Hospitality Services has launched a year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary as a hotel operator, owner and developer. Strand officials said that they expect the company to grow from 30 opened hotels to at least 50 properties by 2021.

The company is working with several investment groups on 15 development projects and expects to open at least five new hotels in 2019 and the remainder in 2020 and 2021. Strand’s parent company is a joint venture owner in several of the properties that currently are being developed. The company is providing development assistance, help in arranging financing and pre-opening services for all the hotels. The under construction/development properties are in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas, and include the Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Cambria franchise flags. The company also anticipates adding a select number of third-party management contracts annually.

“Strand’s success revolves around embracing change and building strong, long-term relationships,’” said Strand President John Pharr. “Over our five-decade history, we’ve developed, owned, joint-ventured, third-party managed and acted as special servicer for more than 350 hotels. In the end, it’s all about trust and creating win-win situations.”

Pharr said the company’s longevity is a result of sticking to five unbendable core values, but otherwise reinventing itself annually, based on emerging trends it foresees over the next five to 10 years. “Not many companies remain in business for five decades, and we are fortunate to reach that milestone,” he said. “We’re already looking out 50 years so we can celebrate our centennial.

“Our business model today focuses on building relationships with investment groups to develop and manage high quality, full- and focused-service, premium-branded hotels, while adding a select number of third-party management contracts. When appropriate, we prefer to co-invest with owners,” he noted.  “Strand has a long history with Hilton and IHG brands and has been aggressively developing Marriott-branded hotels the past five years.”

Pharr pointed out that the industry is in the longest sustained growth period in the last 50 years, but that Strand is prepared to turn on a dime to respond to unforeseen positive and negative changes in the hotel economy. “While we certainly haven’t seen it all, we’ve been involved in just about every aspect of hotels over the past five major hotel cycles. Change is the only constant.”

Strand intends to stay a mid-sized company with a portfolio that will typically flex from 30-80 hotels, depending on the hotel cycle and our owners’ investment objectives, according to the company.

“We are not interested in acquiring companies or being acquired. We have no desire to become a mega-company where we cannot provide hands-on service,” said Pharr. “We want our owners and partners to know that we’re in it for the long haul. We are big enough to have economies of scale and the bench strength to respond quickly, yet small enough to give personal attention to each property. Our regional managers typically visit properties about every two weeks as opposed to once a quarter for larger management companies.”