Omni Hotels experienced a banner year in 1997. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) was up, a major capital improvement program was put into place, five new hotels were added to the companys portfolio, extensive renovations began on three existing properties, new company-wide technology systems were developed and a new national advertising campaign was launched.
According to Smith Travel Research, within the upscale hotel market, Omni Hotels RevPAR was more than 20 percent higher than the upscale industry competition. Significantly contributing to Omni Hotels strong performance, the companys eight national sales offices booked more than half a million room nights for the 44 property chain in 1997 and contributions from Omni Hotels central reservation center for the year accounted for 35 percent of total rooms revenue - surpassing the national average which was 30 percent.
In addition, the companys owned and managed hotels EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was 35 percent higher than the competition in 1997. Omni Hotels parent company, TRT Holdings, Inc., also invested nearly $400 million back into the company in 1997.
“The additional capital from TRT Holdings will provide Omni Hotels the opportunity for continued growth,” said Jim Caldwell, president of Omni Hotels. “With nearly $400 million in new capital available, we can further expand and improve Omni Hotels.”
Included among Omni Hotels new hotel developments for the year: the Omni San Francisco Hotel, the Omni Interlocken Hotel and Conference Resort located outside of Denver and the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale in Conn. Omni Hotels also acquired the Crowne Plaza Majestic Hotel in St. Louis, renaming it the Omni Majestic Hotel, as well as the Club de Playa at Puerto Aventuras in Mexico, renaming it the Omni Puerto Aventuras Beach Resort.
In addition, the company began major restorations of what are considered some of the countrys finest historic hotels: the Omni Parker House in Boston ($46 million), the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. ($70 million), and the Omni Ambassador East in Chicago ($14 million). The company also began making major capital investments for renovations to almost every other owned/managed Omni Hotels property, as well. Several of Omni Hotels franchised properties initiated major renovations this past year including the Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas in Mexico, the Omni Los Angeles Hotel & Centre and the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Md.
In 1997, the company initiated improvements to its technology base by spending several millions of dollars in upgrades to Omni Hotels central reservation system and developing a state-of-the-art revenue management system. Omni Hotels revenue management system, a yield management program, will enable the company to sell guests the right rooms at the right rate for the right length of stay. The system will also allow Omni Hotels to maintain historical data on guests to help meet future needs.
Omni Hotels also launched a new national advertising campaign in 1997. The “You can see the city from here” ad campaign aired on several national cable networks including ESPN, CNN, Headline News and CNBC. The ad campaign was incorporated into the companys expanded summer leisure newspaper advertising program, as well as several direct mail campaigns.
The company instituted new operating standards and training programs, as well. “Omni Hotels is not standing still. We are making major investments and have seen our business grow across the board,” said Caldwell. “We are committed to making our hotels and customer service second-to-none.” J. D. Power & Associates and Frequent Flyer Magazine rated Omni Hotels among the top five hotel chains for customer satisfaction among upscale hotel chains in 1997.
Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Omni Hotels is a privately owned chain of 44 first-class and luxury hotels and resorts located throughout the United States and Mexico. Omni Hotels properties offer four-star services ranging from gourmet dining, fitness facilities, tennis, golf, wine tastings, tours of local attractions, music festivals and childrens activities. Omni Hotels will continue an aggressive agenda for expansion in first-tier markets and key secondary cities, with an emphasis on the Midwest and West Coast.