Expotel Hospitality Services: Bigger Is Not Better

Both leaders of Expotel have been with the company for three years and their work to market Expotel as a premiere management company is starting to pay off. Jeff Iavarone, vice president of marketing/e-commerce, and Mark Kucera, executive vice president of operations, are both noted for their work with RFS Hotel Investors and the management company of Flagstone Hospitality. Each worked successfully building the portfolio of the publicly held company for many years until both joined the private venture of Expotel Hospitality Services to grow and market Expotel as a premiere management company.

Q: What is the best way to describe Expotel:

Iavarone: We're innovative and unique. We partner with our hotel clients and provide them results based on their goals. We have a dynamic team approach to our business and most importantly, we leverage our size of our company - by that I mean we are more actively engaged with our hotel team than most management companies offer their hotels.

Kucera: Jeff is right on target. Due to our size we can address every aspect of ownership needs in a timely manner and we have better than status quo relationships with the hotel teams simply because we are actively engaged which creates strong relationships and honest two way dialogue between us and our hotels.

Iavarone: We are not too global nor are we too limiting. Our relationships are woven through trust, support, and timely responsiveness - we are able to deliver a hands on approach.

Kucera: We will never be accused of our company being too big or too small to tackle any issue at a hotel.

Q: Can you expand on Bigger Is Not Better

Kucera: Our size is our advantage because we can be agile and flexible. The quality of our relationships with hotels is unmatched simply because we at the corporate level are familiar with the pulse of the market, including the intimate details of day to day business. At the same time, we encourage our hotels to be creative and innovative in their respective markets. Autonomy is created via two way dialogue between us and our teams.

Iavarone: Our direct access without layering or not having special protocol is an invaluable asset for both hotels and Expotel. All of this makes for a better return to an investor and owner.

Q: How would you describe Expotel's corporate vision?

Iavarone: We have some major points of differentiation that stand out as a premiere management company. Due to all of our disciplines at the home office, we have the know how and experience to operate and perform well with distinctive products from select feature, full service, as well as extended stay. Our range of services is equal to larger management companies.

Kucera: We have a very compelling track record in terms of managing hotels across all major brands and F&B operations. Our market penetrations and operational scoring, as well as our emphasis on the bottom line, have helped us achieve fantastic results the last three years. Now we are poised to aggressively pursue third party management contracts and joint ventures that coincide with our vision. It's a natural progression with two agreements under our belt and a joint venture with a real estate investment group that is in the works. Additionally, we have two agreements in the works for our Lafitte's Restaurant concept to be licensed in hotels outside of our company.

Q: Talk about or describe your differentiation from other companies:

Kucera: We have and live by very strong core values. This is imperative for us to exemplify these values to attain our vision. Secondly, we have very knowledgeable and professional disciplines within our organization. These are very talented people with respect to their expertise and areas of concentration. In addition, we have a unique benefit of having a 'corporate engineer in our company. Our corporate engineer works diligently with the properties to maximize the overall mechanical services of a hotel. He is able to provide leadership and direction in the oversight of renovations, construction, and conversions.

Iavarone: Another effective differentiation is our Lafitte's restaurant concept. Lafitte's was born from a passionate desire to offer a dining experience that far exceeds the average ‘hotel restaurant’ offering of today. Our New Orleans based company chose Louisiana cuisine as our target because we believe such fare has broad appeal to almost any market in the country. We provide truly authentic Louisiana cuisine incorporating Cajun, Creole, and other local ingredients. We are fortunate to join forces with renowned Chef John Folse in the development and distribution of our menu. Most importantly, we provide a ‘profitable’ restaurant choice for hotels and owners.

Kucera: Overall, we provide the leadership, direction, experience, automation, focus, and perseverance to enhance the overall return on investment. And as we continue to grow we will continue to maintain our personal relationships and association with each hotel as well. And, keep in mind, we operate as owners because we are owners ourselves!

Q: How does Expotel approach sales and marketing and revenue management?

Iavarone: Sales and marketing and e-commerce are synonymous with successful performance by hotels. We maintain extensive involvement with brand affiliates and consistent dialogue with brand support teams for the maximum results and the consistent familiarity of the brands' reporting intelligence. No matter how small (or large), a company should be cross selling across its portfolio to further its marketing potential and account base. We also require our general managers to be a part of the sales process.

Revenue management is practiced daily with key involvement from me, as well as our corporate director of revenue management. It is imperative that we have connectivity from our corporate level to the field and constantly be engaged with our properties to cover the spectrum of revenue management and e-commerce.

Q: How do Expotel's internal programs and property visitations work?

Kucera: The property visits we conduct differ according to the market and product type. We set specific agendas to cover as much ground as we can during a visit and tailor it to specific opportunities for that hotel.

Part of each visit is an all-employee meeting centered on our value system. It also gives us an opportunity to acknowledge exemplary performances by associates who mirror our core values. We dedicate a half-day to managers and supervisory teams based on the financial picture of each hotel, as well as guest-service measurements.

Q: What is your approach to the operations side of the business?

Kucera: We use a scorecard approach in order to maximize the return on the overall hotel investment. To grow profitability, we must drive overall service levels to maximize the guests' intent to return, thus allowing our sales and marketing team to focus on securing new business.

Through effective financial systems and controls, we're able to maximize the flow-through of revenue to profit. We monitor and take proactive approaches through ongoing review of the online brand guest service scores and the Smith Travel Research weekly and monthly Star Reports. We use our online SAP accounting software to monitor and control all expenses for maximum profitability.

Iavarone: The bottom line is that our success is based on our personal engagement and vast knowledge with each hotel we manage to ensure the greatest return on investment for owners.


For further information on Expotel and the services the company provides, contact Mark Kucera at mkucera@expotel-usa.com, or visit its website at www.expotel-usa.com.

Our Service is Total

Marketing

  • Market analysis & research
  • Planning
  • Sales promotion
  • Reporting/monitoring
  • Management of brand affiliations
  • Dedicated seamless revenue management connectivity

Operations

  • Innovative food & beverage management
  • Cost control and dedicated revenue enhancement
  • Standardized purchasing
  • Internal training
  • Human resources property support
  • Centralized benefit management

Accounting/Finance

  • Centralized accounting services
  • Monthly reporting
  • Payroll processing
  • Internal auditing
  • Financial statements
  • Annual business planning
  • Due diligence
  • Select joint ventures/acquisitions

Maintenace/Renovation

  • Dedicated corporate engineer
  • Dedicated preventive maintenance systems implementation
  • Distressed property turnaround
  • Overseeing renovation, construction and conversion

Proven Profitable Restaurant Concept

Our innovative Lafitte's restaurant concept brings together the vision of former American Culinary Federation President Chef John Folse and the expertise of Sysco Foods to create an exciting experience for your guests and a truly profitable asset for your hotel.

Expotel's Core Values

Our management team and our associates share core values and a common organizational vision. Our values are what set us apart. They drive our company. They give meaning to our work. And they make your business our unique passion. We serve our owners, business partners, guests, associates, and communities according to a well-defined set of core values:

Respect

Foster respect to achieve shared goals through teamwork, empowerment and support at all levels of operation.

Communication

Create an environment of open, honest, direct and timely communication at all times.

Recognition

Celebrate achievement by promoting and rewarding our associates' successes. Creating productive, trusting environments helps us reach our owners' goals.

Balance

Combine people, product and profit to achieve prosperity.

Excellence

Exceed the standards set by our industry. Exceed the benchmarks set by our owners so they can own their markets and dominate their competition. The status quo is not an option.

Do the right thing

Always choose the right way over the easy way in service of our guests and, most importantly, our owners.

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