Urban elegance defines Cherry Creek. And now, The Jacquard gives you the perfect home base for exploring all its charmingly independent boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Celebrate life’s best moments with style. Do business with ease. Enjoy contemporary yet comfortable accommodations. And indulge in the best of downtown Denver—less than a 15 minute drive away—and the Rocky Mountains just beyond the city. Those beautiful mountain views are as close as our rooftop pool—enhanced all the more with a handcrafted cocktail at our rooftop bar.
Named for famous French Inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard, who invented the automated looming process and ushered in affordable fashion, The Jacquard promises to be the fabric of Cherry Creek, weaving together a location in the most walkable neighborhood in Denver with warm, approachable service and distinguished hospitality.
At the Jacquard’s signature restaurant, Narrative, you can share freshly reimagined local favorites. Or, soak up the sunny rooftop patio culture while enjoying panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. Dine, work, play, and stay at The Jacquard, where our talented Service Curators promise to tailor your Cherry Creek experience to perfection.
The Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop – Cherry Creek
222 Milwaukee St
Denver, CO 80206
Hotel Phone: 303-515-2000
Originally appeared in Eater Denver in October, 2018
After a summer full of buzzy hotel restaurant openings in RiNo, Cherry Creek has a new offering with a longtime local chef behind it. Paul Nagan’s Narrative restaurant opens Wednesday for all-day service at the Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop, 222 Milwaukee Street. Nagan most recently led the kitchen at downtown’s Range restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel, where he served food from the American West.
His new Narrative will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a marble-fitted dining room. Nagan’s American menu includes appetizers like Caesar salad deviled eggs, salads including a citrus-marinated beet, and sandwiches such as the chicken Cubano. Dinner will offer filet mignon and a beef short rib cooked for 48 hours. Mascarpone cheesecake and ice cream from local purveyor Sweet Action are on the dessert list. Some 750 wine bottles will be available.
The bar will serve snacks and small plates like Korean barbecue and elote-style guacamole. These dishes will also be on the menu at the Jacquard’s rooftop bar, lounge, and pool, Kisbee on the Roof, which will open at a later date.
By: Rebecca Treon
Originally appeared in Denver Business Journal in September, 2018
By: Ed Sealover
Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in September, 2018
Like most produce, the best revenue managers and strategists are home-grown, according to experts.
Especially in today’s tight labor market, hotel companies are looking to identify revenue management skill sets among current employees and to move them into roles where they can put those skills to use.
“Throughout time … the cream rises to the top,” said Mark Creger, VP of revenue at Stoney Creek Hotels. “There’s always been someone who takes that initiative, and they find that’s their passion in hospitality. … In the past, we haven’t put as much of an importance on that role as we are now, as we’re trying to build that revenue-management culture. When we see that person now, we take and grab them, and we try to groom them into a superstar.”
For Stoney Creek, that’s a shift from recent history, Creger said.
“That would never happen in the past,” he said. “That person in the past would come, they would grow out of our properties, and they would leave us for something better. But we put a new emphasis on that just in the past couple of years.”
At 21c Museum Hotels, revenue managers often begin at the property level, said Ashley Manco, director of room revenue, business planning and analysis.
“We talk about building our bench strength for our revenue-management department,” she said. “It’s one of the roles that we have really put a lot of thought into, and some of our properties still have this role as like a reservations manager. When we hired for those roles, our thought was to look for that person that we could groom into future revenue-management roles as our brand grew. And I think that we’ve developed most of our revenue-management team in-house by doing that.”
Chris Cheney, VP of hotel performance and analytics at Stonebridge Companies, said revenue managers can come from almost anywhere within a company.
“We’ve built most of our team historically from within—from line-level positions, from director of sales positions … from GMs … crossing the bridge into revenue management,” he said. “We’ve pulled from all different directions.”
Creative and inquisitive
The skills and strengths that managers should look for are less technical and more cerebral, the experts said.
“You can teach systems,” Manco said. “You can’t teach being a creative, critical thinker.”
Cheney said the right revenue manager asks a lot of questions.
“I boil it down to I want somebody who’s inquisitive,” he said. “Somebody who’s asking, ‘Why do we do this?’ … The line-level associate who takes an interest, starts asking questions on why things are how they are—we latch onto those folks. Not elevating them yet, but feeding their thirst for knowledge. And then from there we groom them to the next step to a revenue analyst, revenue manager.”
Jay Hubbs, SVP of e-commerce at Remington Hotels, said the best way to identify that kind of creative thinking is to challenge staff in real-life scenarios.
“Say, ‘Here, look at this … and come back to me with some ideas of what you would do if you were managing this hotel.’ And I enjoy having the people who would come with eight or 10 different ideas—good things to test or not to test,” he said.
Getting all involved
That highlights the importance of cross-departmental discussions on revenue strategy, said Helga Buszta, VP of revenue management at Filament Hospitality.
“This also circles back to … involving all the different departments and really getting that buy-in from everybody else as well as with revenue management,” she said. “Because the more you can identify individuals internally and groom them to be that critical thinker, the more individuals around them then have confidence … that they too can understand this to that level and continue to grow from that as well.”
Revenue-management skills also easily translate into other roles within a company, said Johnathan Capps, VP of revenue at Charlestowne Hotels.
“There’s a cross-effect to what a … let’s call them a data junkie … does, or an analyst does,” he said. “That mindset … can be applied to other disciplines. … And usually the good ones have that personality that’s willing to challenge themselves as much as they’re willing to challenge the property.”
Moving associates up the career ladder is important, but there should be a clear career path with a sensible progression, Cheney said.
“I think sometimes it’s a little bit too short a climb to the top,” he said. “What we did two years ago, instead of hiring additional revenue managers, we layered in a role of revenue analysts and brought two folks from line-level positions at the property. And they spent a year and a half learning under the revenue managers. When we elevate them, we bring in someone else as a revenue analyst. But that position didn’t exist before. And it was created specifically to give people an opportunity to step up, start learning … and then they can go into a director role.”
It’s especially key to be able to communicate that career path to new hires, Cheney said.
“Because now if we hire from outside the company, and we want somebody who’s a plug-and-play, multiproperty, multibrand revenue manager, one of the first questions I’m getting is: ‘What’s my career look like two, three, five years from now with your company?’ And at a certain level, it’s slim pickings,” Cheney said. “Unless someone really key moves on, which we don’t want, that’s where you’re just pitching: ‘We’re going to help you learn new brands. We’re going to expand your knowledge base.’ For some folks, that’s okay, but for most, it’s not.”
It’s important to keep challenging junior associates, Hubbs said.
“We’ve typically found (in turnover) of those junior people, we haven’t challenged them enough so they’re ready to go to this (next) level,” he said. “I know that some of them are like, ‘Okay, I’ve been doing this multiunit for six, seven years. What’s next?’ So that is definitely a challenge.”
By: Robert McCune
Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in September, 2018
The cost of acquiring customers will forever be a thorn in the side of hoteliers and revenue experts. To that end, Hotel News Now asked a group of revenue experts during a recent Revenue Strategy Roundtable how they keep distribution costs down.
HNN asks: What’s one thing hoteliers can do to shrink distribution costs right now?
Chris Cheney, VP of hotel performance and analytics, Stonebridge Companies: “Look at all distribution channels and analyze cost strength on every channel, and that includes direct.”
Helga Buszta, VP of revenue management and e-commerce, Filament Hospitality: “In the independent space, it’s really understanding and knowing your customer, and then putting the money, the marketing dollars towards those efforts to win them that way.”Mark Creger, VP of revenue management, Stoney Creek Hospitality: “Treat (online travel agencies) as a one-time marketing campaign. The guest comes in, you pay your commission to them, and then make sure the guest doesn’t use them again. Do whatever you can to make sure that they don’t use them again.”
Lloyd Biddle, director of revenue management systems, Hyatt Hotels Corporation: “I mean, every channel has its place, right? So take it when you need (it). Do you want the high-commission channels? Take it when you need it when they’re not full. On those compression nights, shut them off.”
Ashley Manco, director of room revenue, business planning and analysis, 21c Museum Hotels: “Make sure all of your senior leaders at the property understand the true cost of every channel so that they can strategize appropriately.”
Jay Hubbs, SVP of e-commerce, Remington Hotels: “Make sure you’re aligned on which of those channels deliver the best profitability. And when you’re doing that budgeting, say, ‘I’m going to get more of that business in 2019.’”
Johnathan Capps, VP of revenue, Charlestowne Hotels: “Pick an acquisition model and measure it against it. … Pick a model, follow through with it and then measure it against the change so at least you’re tracking to your own numbers and your own changes.”
Garrett Henke, director of revenue management, Hilton Nashville Downtown (Turnberry): “Analyze and understand all the channels and the different costs associated with them. And pick a strategy to be in line with what you need to do.”
Jason Freed, managing editor, Duetto: “Ensure your sales marketing operations teams are all aligned on your strategy. Oftentimes you’ve got marketing making those decisions and revenue’s not involved or vice versa. So just (making) sure you’re coordinating those distribution strategies is important.”
By: Sean McCracken
Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in September, 2018
Loyalty is a complicated and important part of the overall hotel revenue puzzle that is a large value driver from brands but also sometimes a difficult or frustrating force to try to control on-property.
With hotel brands touting ever-growing loyalty programs, revenue experts are tasked with incorporating the best of those programs into their overall revenue strategies while navigating around their drawbacks.
“From Hyatt’s perspective, it’s central to everything we do. … It’s the umbrella,” he said. “It’s the identity that drives customers in. So, you’re protecting your brand.com. You’re protecting your CRS, your reservation services, all that. But it’s central to any revenue strategy to get (guests) signed up to your loyalty program and have that repeat business.”Lloyd Biddle, director of revenue management systems at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, said loyalty programs should be a linchpin of any hotel company’s revenue strategy.
The power of brand loyalty seems to come back to the benefits of direct bookings over third-party channels like online travel agencies.
Chris Cheney, VP of hotel performance and analytics for Stonebridge Companies, said loyalty programs have become increasingly tied to direct-booking campaigns, which sometimes overlooks a more traditional interpretation of the value of loyalty.
“We’ve transitioned, over the last probably five or six years especially, from loyalty really being focused on being loyal to the product and the brand, and now all the discussion is around loyalty being focused on loyalty to a channel,” he said. “You can have a customer who’s very loyal to your property that doesn’t book through a brand channel, and I think sometimes they’re getting lost in the fray.”
Ashley Manco, director of room revenue, business planning and analysis for 21c Museum Hotels, noted her company has historically not enjoyed the benefits of a loyalty program, but with its pending acquisition by AccorHotels, 21c’s properties will soon be plugged into AccorHotels’ distribution systems and loyalty platform, which she believes will be positive for overall performance.
“We have strategies in place in lieu of (loyalty) to try to retain guests … but also (to) convert guests from third-party bookers to direct bookers, because we do have a decent base of repeat business,” she said. “I’m looking forward to (becoming part of AccorHotels’ program) … and I think it will open us up to a number of new clients, for sure. I’m anxious to see where that goes and how quickly that’ll come to us.”
Any experienced revenue manager will tell you that loyalty redemption rates and redemption thresholds are extremely impactful to overall hotel performance. Garrett Henke, director of revenue management for the Turnberry-managed Hilton Nashville Downtown, said reaching redemption tiers can have a massive impact on revenue.
Reaching or missing a redemption threshold “can make or break a night or make or break a month depending on what’s going on in the market,” he said. “You’ve got nights where you have like $20,000 or more in potential incremental revenue, and if you miss it by one room, it’s gone.”
That incentivizes individual properties to offer last-minute discounts, which erodes pricing power across an entire market.
In dropping rates to generate last-minute bookings, “you’re not creating demand; you’re just pulling it from other places,” Henke said. “Is that going to be more profitable for you at that time or is it going to hurt you further down that road?”
But Johnathan Capps, VP of revenue for Charlestowne Hotels, said on-property revenue managers shouldn’t be blamed for last-minute discounting, because they’re simply doing what’s right for the people they answer to.
That revenue manager’s “loyalty is to the owner, not the hotels around him,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a day where there could be $5,000 worth of conversion on the line.”
Capps said strategic thinking is required to establish a game plan ahead of time on how best to tackle those sorts of situations. Even for independent hotels, including those in Charlestowne’s portfolio, understanding how brand loyalty affects revenue decisions on-property goes a long way, he said.
“You have to think, ‘Alright, they’re doing that for a reason. Is that really the market value or is it the value of a room for that hotel right now?’” he said. “Those are two different things.”
Henke said hoteliers also should be careful about how they approach last-minute discounting.
“You also don’t have to change your customer-facing prices,” he said. “You can change something opaque to try and help a little bit even though you take a little bit more of a hit.”
Several participants said guest expectations for what’s included in loyalty platforms are quickly evolving. For years, hotel loyalty has relied on the points-driven pattern of earning and then redeeming free roomnights, but now more guests expect to be given some immediate benefit for loyalty and some enhanced experience due to their loyalty status.
“With World of Hyatt, although it’s still about points, it’s more about … driving amenities,” Biddle said. “So in Hyatt’s select (service) brands, Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, we’re giving them a free breakfast.”
Helga Buszta, VP of revenue management and e-commerce for Filament Hospitality, said that sort of experience-driven loyalty is also key for independent hotels.
“This ties back into that communication and the education from us as a property to the consumer of what we can do to enhance that experience for them, what we can do to provide that additional service level that they may not have … received for any of those other properties if they had made reservations there as well,” she said. “That to me is a different spin on the typical loyalty conversation … I don’t think the membership carries much weight anymore.”
Jason Freed, managing editor for Duetto, agreed that from his company’s perspective there seems to be a shift in thinking about hotel loyalty that’s more tailored to individuals.
“It’s all based on your theoretical value to the company,” he said. “If you spend at (food and beverage), if you spend at spa, you get sort of a personalized offer that’s just for you.”
But Jay Hubbs, SVP of e-commerce for Remington Hotels, cautioned to not overcorrect and assume the heavy users of the traditional loyalty points systems are no longer a factor.
“I think your road warriors are absolutely (still loyal to brands), hands down,” he said. “Each of the top brands say there’s a huge percentage (of business) that comes from this sliver (of loyalty membership). So that group is absolutely loyal; there’s no doubt about that. They would stay on the other side of town to get their points.”
At the same time, Hubbs acknowledged that hotel brands are turning loyalty programs into experience platforms to compete with companies like Airbnb, which build their brands on local experiences.
“Those sorts of things that Airbnb has done, I think they have pushed the brands to say, ‘Hmm, we should be able to do that, too,’” he said.
By: Sean McCracken
Originally appeared in Hotel News Now in September, 2018
The hotel industry is undergoing a sizeable shift in how its revenue-management departments operate.
Revenue managers are moving toward setting long-term strategies to maximize their combination of daily rate and occupancy, which means using new tools, creating new culture and getting buy-in from every department.
Hoteliers who participated in Hotel News Now’s Revenue Strategy Roundtable shared their experiences in making the move from revenue management to revenue strategy.
From management to strategy
At one time, revenue management was a discipline in which hoteliers were systems experts, who knew which buttons and dials to push, said Chris Cheney, VP of hotel performance and analytics at Stonebridge Companies. But now, with the introduction of automation tools, the discipline has refocused on strategy.
“How are we going to use the tools in our tool belt to give us the most profit to the bottom line and set ourselves up for success in the future and get the return on investment in a property that ownership is desiring and what they built it for?” he said.
Revenue management in the past has focused mostly on rate management, said Mark Creger, VP of revenue management at Stoney Creek Hospitality. Now that almost anyone can manage rates using the new tools, hoteliers need someone higher up in the company, setting strategy and guiding property-level staff.
The discipline has evolved from just rates and inventory to include channels and now strategy, said Jay Hubbs, SVP of e-commerce at Remington Hotels.
“You’re looking at it more holistically about where you’re getting demand from, how you can price that, how does that layer in with your group component?” he said. “Is that a major thing in your market or for your hotel, or is it something that you’re competing against if you’re a smaller transient hotel?”
Hubbs said he has a smaller transient property that competes against some big-box hotels, so he’ll get compression from them, but he needs to understand what the dynamic is.
“The strategy can be very different depending on how, not just your hotel needs to fill, but also your comp set and your market,” he said. “That’s how you get to a point where you’re looking at overall strategy for your property.”
Revenue strategy is not an activity, but rather an approach, said Lloyd Biddle, director of revenue management systems at Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
“It’s a collaborative approach today,” he said. “It starts with close collaboration and coordination with sales, reservations—all the different aspects—and it all kind of comes together holistically.”
Introducing the culture
Along with figuring out how to start the process, it’s about starting the culture and getting buy-in from the hotel staff, said Johnathan Capps, VP of revenue of Charlestowne Hotels. He said it’s important to know where to look for different types of expertise when setting strategy. GMs know how their decisions and their out-of-order pattern or renovations impact revenue. The front-office manager knows how they affect revenue when they assign rooms or make changes.
“When you get that buy-in, then there’s not a question of hierarchy,” he said. “Everyone’s working to the same goal, and everyone’s working on the same thing.”
It starts with the strategy meeting, which Capps calls “reading the news.” It’s not the revenue manager’s job to get in that meeting to explain what’s happening. Instead, it’s everyone’s job to speak their part and explain what their department is doing to affect revenue and how they can contribute, he said.
Everyone on staff has to check their egos at the door so there aren’t power struggles during these conversations, and it’s important that short-term performance issues don’t spark unhealthy competition within an organization, Hubbs said. There will be good group weeks and bad group weeks, he said, and there will be days the revenue-management team killed it and weeks or days where it screwed up.
“You can’t have an environment where that team, with the general manager, is constantly sniping each other,” he said. “When you have that, then you don’t have a strategy at all. You have an environment where everyone’s only looking at their own silo and only looking at their piece of the pie rather than saying, ‘Hey, Ashley did a great job with their group this week, that’s fantastic;’ you know, ‘My team didn’t do as much as they could have, and that’s why we missed on the start.’”
There has to be an open dialogue about what people did well, what didn’t go well and how everyone is going to move forward.
“If you don’t have that part of the culture, whether it’s a property or above-property level, then you’re not going to get a real good strategy out of it,” Hubbs said.
Hyatt’s first step is its revenue strategic workflow, Biddle said, where the company sets the baseline of business it has on the books to forecast future demand, beginning with group. Hyatt officials look at both definite and tentative group business before examining contract business and guaranteed wholesale.
“That’s kind of your first step in getting your strategy or your workflow started,” he said.
Once hoteliers have that baseline set, they should look at their unconstrained transient demand by gauging events and other market-specific factors, Biddle said. This leads to pricing, so hoteliers should deploy their pricing strategies, which can also affect the group target rates. The next step is yield management and setting the oversell limit.
“But the last step in that process is really kind of the most important: measuring the impact of that strategy,” he said. “That’s where your adherences to budgets, that’s where your RevPAR index changes come in, and then that informs your decision of what worked, what didn’t work, and sets you up for future success.”
Role of technology
Advances in technology mean the data is available in a useful format that provides takeaways immediately, Cheney said.
“We’re no longer in this discipline, spending time trying to find the right information,” he said. “The information is there. We’re trying to decide what it means to our future story.”
All of the available tech and data might not be able to provide what the owner wants to see, he said. There are owners who build hotels with a specific intent, and it’s not always to compete at a fair share within the market.
A lot of the system automation tells hoteliers where a property is landing exactly by segment and by channel and shows where they can press rate, he said, but that might not be enough for an owner who wants to exceed competitors in the market.
“Then we’ve got to look at what the data is telling us and say, ‘OK, this is actionable. Here we can find a little nugget out of a takeaway that we can exploit,’” he said. “But there’s a lot of noise sometimes in the data, too, that just may not apply to us. Because the data got there via intentional strategies that were there for a purpose, and if that purpose has changed, then we have to change our own story.”
Technology has made it easier to collaborate with other departments, which is key to building the new revenue strategy culture, Creger said. Everyone can collaborate on the same document at the same time if necessary.
“It’s no longer a revenue manager in a dark office with a green visor on crunching numbers and then passing that out to the team and everyone has that,” he said.
While technology has a lot of advantages, there is a downside to it, Biddle said. To think technology isn’t rapidly changing the hotel revenue-management function “is kind of short-sighted,” he said.
“Not to sound like a science fiction movie, but hotel revenue management’s kind of becoming a slave to technology,” he said.
Technology and consumer behaviors can combine to create powerful forces that erode rate, Biddle said. Recent consumer news reports have pointed out the practice of last-minute rate discounting, which hotels sometimes employ to boost occupancy for different reasons. Automated systems can react to this, reducing rate, and Biddle said it will only harm the industry if guests are conditioned to book at the last minute to get the best possible rate.
“We’re blindly following this technology,” he said. “You know, the brands, third-party RMS systems—they spent millions of dollars to develop these systems and they may give you these recommendations on the day of arrival to drop rate by $40, $50, and a lot of people are following those recommendations.
“I think we need to do a better job of having human interaction with those systems so that we can bring back those tactical decisions to the overall revenue strategy.”
Hoteliers are concerned that revenue-management automation pushes the discipline down the road toward commoditization of the industry, Cheney said. He goes back to the owners’ expectations and what they want to see, which is the return on their investment on something they built in a specific position in the market with a value proposition for the guest.
“Our role now as strategists is how do we get all of the disciplines on board to have a strategy to beat commoditization, essentially, and really get the value communicated to the guest, executed on by operations and get the profitable mix of guests that we really built the hotel for,” he said. “That is kind of what we’re all aiming for now in bringing everybody together to make sure that we’re capturing the value of what owners have invested in the product.”
By: Bryan Wroten
Originally appeared in BizWest in September, 2018
Just as Loveland-based McWhinney completes one new hotel in Centerra, the company has announced plans for two additional hotels in the 3,000-acre mixed-use development.
McWhinney and Englewood-based hotel developer Stonebridge Cos. later this year will complete a Courtyard by Marriott at Skypond Drive and Centerra Parkway, near Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 34 and just south of The Promenade Shops at Centerra.
The four-story, 67,000-square-foot hotel will feature 101 guest rooms, bistro, lounge, 1,200 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center, market, pool, hot tub and guest laundry. The hotel marks the third Marriott property in Centerra. 2WR + Partners serves as the architect, and Coe Construction as the general contractor for the project.
McWhinney and Stonebridge also will collaborate on two additional hotels, a Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn. The Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn hotels will offer approximately 100 rooms each. Planned as a dual-brand property, one wing will operate as the Homewood Suites hotel and another as the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotels will share the lobby and community spaces.
The 135,000-square-foot, five-story dual-brand property will feature a restaurant and bar, pool, fitness center and meeting space. The hotels will sit immediately south of the Courtyard and will mark a total of three Hilton hotels in Centerra.
“Jointly, the three hotels will add more than 300 guest rooms to the area, catering to focused-service business travel and extended stay needs,” David Crowder, general manager of Centerra and vice president of community development for McWhinney, said in a prepared statement. “We feel that Centerra is the ideal setting to support Northern Colorado’s continually growing demand for hospitality services. The properties are centrally located in the heart of the region and easily accessible to the multitude of community amenities here at Centerra, including shopping, dining and entertainment at Promenade Shops at Centerra and the Centerra Marketplace as well as Chapungu Sculpture Park.”
McWhinney serves as the owner, asset manager and co-developer of the properties, with Stonebridge as the co-developer and hotel manager. The partnership has previously delivered three hotels in Centerra, with the Residence Inn by Marriott, completed in 2005, as the most recent property. The partnership currently has six hotels in operation, including three in Anaheim, Calif.
“Stonebridge Companies is proud to expand its partnership with McWhinney,” said Navin C. Dimond, founder, Stonebridge president and CEO. “As a valued partner in our continued growth, our relationship with McWhinney has been very rewarding to date. We look forward to supporting the success of these newest properties with our philosophy of distinguished hospitality central in all facets of the hotels.”
Originally appeared in Mile High CRE in September, 2018
McWHINNEY and Stonebridge Companies recently partnered to deliver the fourth hotel in Loveland’s Centerra master-planned community. Construction is underway on the Courtyard by Marriott property, which is planned to open in late 2018. In addition, the partnership has also announced plans for two additional hotels, supporting demand for hospitality offerings with six total hotels in Centerra.
The Courtyard property is located in southeastern Centerra at the I-25 and U.S. 34 intersection off Sky Pond Drive and Centerra Parkway, just south of The Promenade Shops at Centerra. The four-story, 67,000-square-foot hotel will feature 101 guest rooms, bistro, lounge, 1,200 square feet of meeting space, fitness center, market, pool, hot tub and guest laundry. The hotel marks the third Marriott property in Centerra. 2WR + Partners serves as the architect and Coe Construction as the general contractor for the project.
With occupancy and demand showing strong growth, the partnership is also planning to deliver two additional hotels in Centerra under the Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn brands. According to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report, the revenue per available room calculation for Loveland has increased 4.6 percent in the July 2018 year-to-date period, compared to the same period in 2017. With the Loveland market’s continued expansion, demand drivers for hospitality include nearby UCHealth-Medical Center of the Rockies; corporate demands from major Northern Colorado employers such as Agrium, Inc.; transient leisure traffic from Rocky Mountain National Park; events at Larimer County Fairgrounds; and oil and gas exploration and production.
The Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn hotels will offer approximately 100 keys each. Planned as a dual-brand property, one wing will operate as the Homewood Suites hotel and another as the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotels will share the lobby and community spaces. Aligning with the latest industry trends, the dual-brand property concept consolidates operations, offering efficiency as well as the best qualities from both brands to guests.
The 135,000-square-foot, five-story dual-brand property will feature a restaurant and bar, pool, fitness center and meeting space. The hotels will sit immediately south of the Courtyard and will mark a total of three Hilton hotels in Centerra.
“Jointly, the three hotels will add more than 300 guest rooms to the area, catering to focused-service business travel and extended stay needs,” said David Crowder, general manager of Centerra and vice president of community development for McWHINNEY. “We feel that Centerra is the ideal setting to support Northern Colorado’s continually growing demand for hospitality services. The properties are centrally located in the heart of the region and easily accessible to the multitude of community amenities here at Centerra, including shopping, dining and entertainment at Promenade Shops at Centerra and the Centerra Marketplace as well as Chapungu Sculpture Park.”
McWHINNEY serves as the owner, asset manager and co-developer of the properties, with Stonebridge Companies as the co-developer and hotel manager. The partnership has previously delivered three hotels in Centerra, with the Residence Inn by Marriott, completed in 2005, as the most recent property. The partnership currently has six hotels in operation, including three in Anaheim, Calif.
“Stonebridge Companies is proud to expand its partnership with McWHINNEY,” said Navin C. Dimond, founder, president and CEO of Stonebridge Companies. “As a valued partner in our continued growth, our relationship with McWHINNEY has been very rewarding to date. We look forward to supporting the success of these newest properties with our philosophy of Distinguished Hospitality™ central in all facets of the hotels.”
Originally appeared in Hotel Executive in August, 2018
Let’s just start by talking about the 22-37-year-old elephant in the room; The Millennial Generation is a product of participation trophies. They feel entitled to a $100k job two days after graduation. They find a date for Saturday night, then a great restaurant to go to, and directions to the closest theater, all within ten minutes of use from their ever-present smart device.
They never had it like us; I walked 8 miles to school through snow in summer uphill both ways. We used school supplies called “pencils.” Teachers wrote on “chalkboards.” We got a newspaper every three days; we didn’t have information that happened 30 seconds ago somewhere on the other side of the world at our fingertips. They will just never understand how easy they have it.
And so on, and so on, and so on. (Please don’t inundate me with emails; this was all meant tongue-in-cheek, of course.)
We’ve all heard these stereotypes from anyone that grew up when Pearl Jam was just getting started and those that still remember when lemon-colored kitchen appliances were hip. Being hospitality executives, we have maybe even seen examples in front of our very eyes. Our teams are likely populated by members of the millennial generation.
But can anyone deny the buying power of today’s pre-30 year old? Or the ability to talk about the most efficient way to find out what is now the hottest trend in, well, anything? I recently needed to find out what a WeWork was; I asked my 29-year old CSM and her twin sister. After a few painful seconds of pointing and laughing, they got me an answer, no Google search needed.
If you and your property execs are sitting at your Tuesday meeting and saying that “they are just not our market,” you are watching a lot of revenue head down the street. But there is a lot more to this group than avocado toast with cage-free pasture raised chicken eggs and the local craft IPA with hints of saddle leather. And if you are ignoring those potential revenue-building opportunities, someone else won’t be.
Sometimes “What,” Always “Why”
Early in my hospitality management life, I was a point-and-shout manager. Those days, bartenders and servers responded to direction much differently than today’s guest service associate. As I got older and continued to use this method with my staff, I subsequently saw a good number of them working happy hour across the street two weeks later. Realizing I needed to adapt or tend bar myself, I set my mind to changing my motivational strategy. Today’s millennial service industry employee is far more interested in the “why” part of their tasks and duties. They want to know the benefit of them and the benefit to their guests, and how they go hand-in-hand.
The same can be said about their food choices. Give a 27-year-old a smoothie with all the ingredients listed, their response is likely “meh.” Tell them that the local organic blueberries in that smoothie are chalk-full of antioxidants and the picked-this-morning strawberries are loaded with vitamin C that will help their immune system, and it’s “Oh, snap!”
The desire for fresh produce and protein that is humanely grown at the farm no more than 20 miles from the barstool they are seated at is bound to draw the environmentally-conscious millennial. The need to feel good about what we eat is almost as important as the custom seasoning the chef uses on that Colorado black angus tenderloin.
Great, But Here Comes The Tab…
You toil over the menu with your executive chef. You utilize local farms for the spinach and kale salad, the airline chicken breasts have never once been put in any type of cage, and the cream for the in-house spun dessert only comes from the Guernsey that eats flowers and grass from mountain hillsides. Total tab for the three-course meal: $48 at 32% COGS. One problem; they only have a $50 per diem, and they bought the $25 organic frisee salad with sustainably-grown salmon over lunch.
One trait with the millennial age group that cannot be ignored if you really wish to capture that business is they will not sacrifice quality ingredients for cheaper menu items. But gathering that milk for the mountainside-grass fed cow is getting more expensive and harder to find, so at what point do we eat the cost to welcome the business? I’ve had an easier time balancing quality girlfriend time with golf.
The importance of keeping costs down and showing profit gains goes without saying. The company that hired that young person has cut per diems down for that exact reason, as well. Understanding that aids in building the menu with quality local ingredients while keeping the lights on.
More and more I am finding myself staying at my property through Happy Hour, not just to help the bartenders load the dishwasher when we are running low on clean wine glasses, but also to sit back and really observe our guest demographic. Quick glance: its young, its local. And they are often eating early dinner with the happy hour food specials. Having small-plate options that make available the chance to try numerous items for a perceived value is a strategy we have seen pay off. Given the chance to just get a quick bite to prevent the pre-dinner buzz or eating only apps for an early dinner leaves the experience up to the guest. But don’t think for a second that those cheap ingredients are going to fly. Keep it fresh, small and fun. We have seen that offering items off the everyday menu at a discount is not as effective as having an ever-changing limited menu with options that allow most everyone to find something that will draw them in, even just for a quick snack and drink before meeting their colleagues for dinner. And keep it light and refreshing. The deep-fried options are great for game day, not every day. As far as beverage options; well, that is another whole article in and of itself.
Let’s start where most meals do; the greens. Quality produce to build your salad selections can be an eye-catcher on your menu. Lunch salads have outsold sandwiches almost 3 to 1 at my current property. And no, it’s not just thanks to the ladies who lunch; today’s male consumer is far more health conscious than 20 years ago. Having just recently crossed over onto “40 Island” myself, I am spending more time in the produce section than the cookie aisle these days.
Keeping local is important to the guest and is vital to your ability to keep the millennial guest inside your four walls. Keeping seasonal and local is far more important to your P&L. Find greens that are in season. Surplus of goods leads to lower costs. Grab the frisee year-round but save the escarole for your spring/summer menu. Artichokes and bitter melon are abundant for your autumn ideas. Pull the corn and the eggplant by Labor Day. Of course, the regions that can grow most salad accoutrements without the worry of seasonality should also be conscious of trends and quality even without the need to consider availability. Keeping in touch and in good relations with your local produce monger is vital to stay current with what’s hot, what’s abundant, and what’s cheap.
The Main Course
Seasonal vegetables may not take center stage for entrees, but there may not be a better strategy in balancing the expensive protein cost to make things affordable. Celery root puree, when in season, can be cheaper than even potatoes (and far more interesting). Cauliflower and Brussel’s sprouts are flying out of the walk-ins locally. Zucchini is basically grown as efficiently as dandelions; ever made them into tots? Amazing. Remember to keep it interesting!
When it comes to proteins, chefs will have nightmares about making affordable menus with quality cuts, especially with beef. Time to put the lipstick on the steer! Sourcing lesser-known cuts of meat and serving them at a value price might be just what is needed. Skirt steak is somewhat of a prized cut amongst chefs in terms of flavor, and highly under-utilized. Flat irons, flanks and shanks may not sound as sexy and prove to be a little tougher but still have the perception of value to not only young adults but budget-travelers, as well. Chicken is still very affordable, even when cage-free and local (and your mark-up can be GREAT!) Pork is gaining popularity with its lean cuts, but don’t turn your nose up to braising and shredding with Boston Butt or shank. They provide great flavor, lower menu price and still great food cost percentage.
The great part about engineering a menu for the mid-week millennial business traveler is that same menu can provide a lot of revenue for your weekend family stay-over, as well. Families with teens are considering the expense of traveling more than ever and giving those groups affordable but flavorful menu options that parents won’t shy away from (it rains on vacations, sometimes) and keeping those families in your outlet will show instant dividends.
Let’s not take the responsibility away from the front of house staff to be able to sell these sometimes “odd” ingredients to the guest. Following these procedures means nothing if your team can’t make the ingredients sound appealing to the guest that raises an eyebrow at the chicory salad. While the millennial guests will likely do a quick search of the lesser-known ingredient, its far more impactful to have a great recommendation from an actual speaking service industry professional. The always-important recommendation and assurance that they will LOVE what they ordered can never be expressed off a tablet screen.
This may be an unprecedented time in the industry where there is this much impact from a specific age group. Many food and beverage outlet managers and directors are already making time to engineer their menu using these strategies, especially the non-specific-themed restaurants. The establishments that do are reaping the benefits of retaining in-house guests on a budget while maintain their COGS at a level that keeps execs off our backs. But even the steakhouse that is broiling up the finest bone-in ribeye can find ways to attract the budget customer. (Albeit, a slightly larger budget). Make time! It will show in the end. We as department heads have an obligation to our properties to maximize our best available revenue asset; our guests. And a growing number of our guests is the Millennial professional. You simply cannot afford to ignore it.
By: Jeffrey Coyle, Director Food & Beverage, DoubleTree Denver Tech Center, Stonebridge Companies