AmericInn eyes record year in 2015, adapts to reach it

LAS VEGAS—Paul Kirwin can't see the future, but he knows how to prepare for it. The president and CEO of AmericInn kicked off the brand's 2015 conference and trade show here extolling the virtues of adaptability, telling everyone in attendance that evolving to meet the needs of tomorrow's consumers is the industry's mission for the year ahead.

Kirwin is hung up on adaptability because he wants the good times to keep coming for AmericInn, which posted systemwide revenue of $211 million and over $50 million in revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2014, all-time highs for the brand. On top of that, the STR market index for Americinn rose to 109.

"Usually after so many good years, and especially after the great recession, we could expect a softening in performance," Kirwin said. "But the market remains strong. 2015 should be good, but I don't want good. I want it to be better."

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Marketing and Rates
To Kirwin , making 2015 great for AmericInn will require aggressive marketing and rate adjustment. Last year, more than half of AmericInn's system-wide revenue came from brand channels, while the brand's website brought in 13 percent of guests, accounting for 4 million visits and $26 million in brand growth. Kirwin wants to keep the website's momentum going by being more creative with its implementation.

"Why is this so exciting? It's the distribution channel with the least cost, and takes no hotel resources," said Mark Masuda, VP of marketing, sales and distribution for AmericInn. "And increasingly, millennials want to transact this way."

Masuda addressed the audience first by announcing that AmericInn's 2014 'Random Acts of Vacation' marketing campaign won the Adrian Award by the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association in the realm of digital marketing. He went on to speak about the brand's Easy Rewards program, of which one-third of AmericInn guests now belong to on average.

"We are in a highly competitive marketplace with a lot of great midscale brands," Masuda said. "How do we differentiate? We do it by creating clean, easy messages."

New Loyalty Tier
As part of this, Masuda announced a new tier for AmericInn's rewards program, "Easy Rewards Elite," which will strive to recognize Elite members and gift them with a welcome bag at check-in. According to Kirwin, providing these small touches is what it will take to succeed in the social media era, where customers expect more even as hotels are supplying more.

"That's the circle of life for hotels," Kirwin said. "One must generate more revenue to have the profit to reinvest. And in 2015, we will have a greater opportunity to drive future investment."

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