GuestHouse International fired off its annual Franchise Owners` Conference in February with regional events in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Themed “A More Perfect Union,” the conference emphasized GuestHouse International`s commitment to maintaining a true partnership with its franchisees. Guest speakers included Sam Apostle, John Russell and Don Ferrell.
Introducing the colonial theme, President Rob Wilson marched in to the meeting room dressed in full colonial soldier gear to the sounds of the Hallelujah Chorus. He then gave a rousing State of the Union Address reiterating GuestHouse International`s commitment to preserving an owner-friendly environment no matter how fast the company grows. “We will continue to encourage and support the entrepreneurial spirit of owners,” said Wilson. “Each property will always have the freedom to keep its unique identity.”
The State of the Union was followed by the unveiling of the 2001 marketing plan by the GuestHouse International marketing team, each dressed in 18th century costumes. Highlights of the plan included a new property marketing guide, telemarketing and sales support, and a new GDS code. Commenting on the plan, Marketing Director Deb Naughton said, “As we strengthen our national and regional marketing efforts, we will continue to provide the property-specific support that`s so important to your success.”
Two industry legends were the honored luncheon speakers. Sam Apostle, former President of Ramada and partner in Apostle Fitzgerald & Company, was the speaker in Los Angeles. John Russell, former Chairman/CEO of Cendant`s hotel division and present Chairman of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, spoke in Atlanta. Don Ferrell of Signature spoke at both conferences, discussing the importance of selling to the customer at the point of initial contact.
During the luncheon on the second day, Greg Plank , President of parent company Suburban Lodges of America, Inc. discussed the uniqueness of GuestHouse International. “Each of our franchisees is a citizen with rights,” Plank said. “We don`t believe in `taxation without representation.` Every program we implement must have bottom-line value. We believe in big-company support with small-company attention.”
After the presentations, three rotating roundtable discussions were held that included topics such as Yield Management, Localized Sales Efforts, and Quality Service. The first day`s events ended with a gala reception, capped off by a harpist playing period pieces in tune with the conference theme. The conference also included award presentations to properties for their commitment to excellence in the areas of Marketing Excellence, Quality Services, Franchise Services and a President`s Award.
GuestHouse International is a mid-market brand comprised of individually owned Inns, Hotels, Suites and Suites Plus properties. The brand encourages property diversity and provides a unique conversion or new construction opportunity for a wide variety of quality properties. GuestHouse International properties include conversions from industry leaders such as Ramada, Comfort, Howard Johnson and Residence Inn by Marriott. The brand`s franchising concept centers on fair treatment of owners and results-driven support to its properties. GuestHouse International now has over 130 locations open or under development in 28 states. For information about convenient locations nationwide, call 800-21-GUEST(214-8378) or visit www.guesthouseintl.com. For information about franchising opportunities, call Rob Wilson at 888-951-2100.