Roger Bloss, Vantage president and CEO, and Bernie Moyle, Vantage COO and CFO, donned sunglasses during the opening skit at Vantage Hospitality’s annual conference in Las Vegas in December.
Las Vegas – It’s official. As of January 1, all Vantage Hospitality Group hotel websites began displaying a TripAdvisor review widget—a big move for a company comprised largely of economy hotels, and a measure the company’s member hotel owners voted for themselves.
Vantage members (who own and operate Americas Best Value Inn, Canada’s Best Value Inn and Lexington by Vantage hotels) vote annually whether to pass proposed resolutions for the brands. At the company’s annual December conference, the majority of members voted to make the widget a requirement. Previously, owners had been able to opt-in to display it.
Increased attention to customer feedback and reviews, along with sales and marketing, were top priorities at the conference. Vantage president and CEO Roger Bloss summed up the company’s initiatives by saying, “As we embrace this powerful social media channel, we’re counting on you to achieve higher guest satisfaction scores.”
“We’re doing company-sponsored training focused on social media,” said Vantage VP of brand management Jordan Langlois. “It highlights reputation management. Our ultimate goal is to make more revenue-generating products for members.”
Langlois said that of the 350 Vantage members who opted-in to show the TripAdvisor widget (prior to the recent full-membership approval), those that had seen their TripAdvisor ratings boost from two stars to four stars also saw a 20-percent increase in average daily rate. “That could mean as much as $50,000 in additional revenue for you,” he told attendees. Part of the company’s training initiative is a new online portal that will be rolled out this year.
Mobile is another major focus for the Vantage brands. Deb Lambert, Vantage eBusiness director, said the company has “seen growth of 430 percent in mobile bookings,” representing nearly one-third of all traffic to the brand’s various websites. This year, the company will invest in upgrading brand websites and enhancing mobile versions of the sites, also allocating more marketing dollars for mobile bookings.
Roger Bloss, Vantage president and CEO, and D CEO Derek Stevens led a tour of The D Casino Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. Earlier this year the casino hotel became one of the first hotels affiliated with Vantage’s Lexington Legacy soft brand.
Bloss and Bernie Moyle, Vantage COO and CFO, shared expansion plans for the company’s brands, as well as 2013 successes. The company made the list of Florida’s Best Companies to Work for by Florida Trend magazine for the fourth consecutive year, and was ranked on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500/5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies for the eighth consecutive year.
“Our vision is to continue to build quality brands globally and the right way,” Bloss said. “The bottom-performing 10 percent of properties are in rehabilitation mode or they will be eliminated,” he added. The 30th Canada’s Best Value Inn opened in 2013, and the company is “seeing promising growth in China, South Korea and Indonesia,” said Bill Hanley, group president of Lexington by Vantage. Still, the company’s biggest focus is on North America, Moyle said.
The company’s Lexington by Vantage collection of properties also saw growth in 2013. Thirty properties fall under this brand, and under Hanley’s leadership, the company is targeting growth markets for expansion, particularly airport locations. The Lexington Legacy soft brand this year added The D Casino Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, as well as the Lions Gate Hotel in Sacramento, Calif.
At the conference the company introduced a new Lexington prototype to members. The new-build design was engineered to offer flexibility to owners, Hanley said, with the footprint hovering around the 100-guestroom mark. The first floor has an open-plan lobby extension, a multi-function breakfast and meeting area, a fitness center, business center, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi.