Advantage Hotels CEO talks Vista, Select Inn buy

The Vista Inn Lake Tarpon in Palm Harbor, Fla., is part of the Vista brand portfolio. Photo credit: Advantage Hotels (The rear exterior of the Vista Inn Lake Tarpon)

Patrick Mullinix, former group president of the Americas Best Value Inn brand, has formed Advantage Hotels, a new hotel company focused on building strong franchisor/franchise owner relationships. The company subsequently acquired Advantis Hospitality Alliance’s Vista and Select Inn brands for an undisclosed amount.

Select Inn, founded in 1990, sits at the upper end of the economy chain scale. Currently it has four locations, one each in Minnesota, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. Started in 2005, the midscale Vista brand—with an Inn, Inn & Suites and now a Hotel option—includes six locations: two in Florida and four in Tennessee.

During the next 12 months, Mullinix said Advantage expects to open 40 to 45 new locations. “We may adjust over the next two years as we add staffing and as we enhance our support programs, but we really feel that that’s a comfortable area of growth and very obtainable,” he said. Geographically, though, Advantage likely will keep to its current area, namely Texas, the lower Midwest and the Southeast. “We already have a footprint there and we’d really like to stay focused on that for at least the next two years,” Mullinix said.

Though conversions largely will fuel Advantage’s growth, Mullinix revealed that the company has decided to get into new construction as well. “That took us by surprise,” he said. Though the company had not originally planned on it, he said it is in talks to build two to three new-build properties in Texas.

Outside of hotel franchising, he said Advantage also is looking to get into discount real estate brokerage in the first quarter of 2020. “With our relationships and our circle of influence in the industry, which is very, very large, we think that that’s a natural segue for our company’s growth," Mullinix said.

Three former Asian American Hotel Owners Association chairmen will comprise Advantage Hotels’ advisory board: Ramesh Surati, Dhansukh “Dan” Patel and Mukesh Mowji. Steve Belmonte, the former president/CEO of Ramada Hotels and former CEO of Vimana Franchise Systems, is a senior advisor and on the executive board of directors.

“Advantage Hotels’ robust infrastructure, franchise resources and system enhancements will afford franchise owners an incredible opportunity for increased reservation potential, and Patrick’s proven track record will set an accelerated pace for brand growth of quality hotels nationwide,” Surati, also a principal of Advantis, said in a statement.