Atlanta-based hotel ownership, management and development firm Hotel Equities and its global private equity affiliate Virtua Partners have entered into a strategic alliance with Columbus, Ohio-based The Witness Group, a hospitality development and investment group.
Hotel Equities transitioned and assumed operations of The Witness Group’s portfolio of 36 hotels earlier this month, representing brands like Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Hyatt. HE and Virtua will focus on future transactions, conversions and new development generating a significant value-add for investors, associates and all parties involved.
In a statement, HE President and CEO Brad Rahinsky said The Witness Group’s development history worked well with Hotel Equities’ business-intelligence systems, training programs, development services and operating platform. “This was not a transaction rushed into to hit a number,” he said. “This relationship established over many months of conversations, face-to-face meetings and genuine dialogue is a true partnership founded on trust and shared values and goals.” Discussions on the strategic alliance began in early 2020.
“While we put the conversations on pause in March with COVID, we eventually picked back up early summer recognizing this as a rare window to integrate platforms with less interruption to business,” said TWG Chief Development Officer Aakash Patel. “We think this better positions us for the rebound.”
HE’s Chief Development Officer Joe Reardon described the transaction as two companies who bring the right ingredients to the table to achieve much more together. “As we continue to ramp back up to 2019 levels the 1+1=3 mentality is so important to success,” he said. “Merging best-in-class teams, resources and procurement cost savings will expand our footprint together and create significant opportunity for all stakeholders. We could not be more excited and see the potential for other partnerships moving forward."
TWG’s Chief Administrative Officer Sachin Patel anticipates his teams will benefit from a larger support system and shared best practices. He added, “most importantly, this will give our property and corporate teams a better platform to learn through HE's training programs and leverage the additional opportunities available to them in the larger portfolio.”
Transitioning the 36 hotels into HE’s portfolio began on Sept. 1, commencing with a series of town hall meetings between executive leadership teams from both companies. HE’s COO Bryan DeCort shared that as part of the integration process, Hotel Equities has welcomed more than 500 new associates to the team who will benefit from HE’s training as well as growth opportunities within both companies.
With this alliance also comes the expansion for HE and Virtua into the Midwest. “We are excited to expand our presence into the heartland. Utilizing both team’s knowledge and expertise will create a smooth transition,” said Quinn Palomino, co-founder and principal of Virtua Partners. “We consider ourselves to be results-driven companies with strong and distinct cultures.”