Larkspur Hospitality Company recently added two seasoned travel executives to its corporate management team, preparing the company for an extensive new phase of external growth. Ken Leone, a veteran Northern California hotel executive, has been hired as Senior Vice President of Operations and travel industry veteran Diane DeRose has been hired as Vice President of Sales and Marketing according to Karl Hoagland, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Larkspur Hospitality.
Most recently, Leone served as the Vice President of the Hotel Division for Win Ship Properties. His expansive hotel management career is comprised of key positions including Regional Director of Operations for MeriStar Hotels and Resorts, Vice President and General Manager for JG Enterprises and Vice President Hotels for Mattco Investment Corporation/Spectrum Hospitality Services. Leone is a Certified Hotel Administrator. “Ken brings to us 25 years of hotel operations management experience. His background managing multiple brands and leading successful teams will prove invaluable to Larkspur Hospitality`s management team,” said Hoagland. “Ken has a proven track record of increasing the operational and financial performance of hotel portfolios, with significant expertise and relationships in our markets.”
DeRose has over 18 years experience in travel industry and online sales and marketing including senior management positions at Hertz Corporation, Visa USA, Cunard Cruises, Destination Hotels and Resorts and Netcentives. “Diane brings significant sales and marketing experience in many areas of the travel industry, and is leading strategic improvements to our organizational approach in this area.”
“The addition of Ken and Diane, combined with the redesign of our operations and sales and marketing organizations, gives us the expanded leadership that ensures continued success and further positions us for our aggressive growth plans.”
Further changes include a restructuring of the Sales Team into a regionally based, centralized organization and promotions of two key staff members. Karie Geiger will become Regional Director Sales and Marketing for the Silicon Valley/South Bay region and Heather Reagan will assume the role of Regional Director Sales and Marketing for the San Francisco Bay Area.
LHC`s growth plans center on acquiring hotels and adding management contracts, as well as developing Larkspur hotels in select locations.
“We have over $100 million of committed growth capital and we’re looking for strategic hotel acquisitions or development opportunities,” said Hoagland. ”
“Our new team of proven performers can lead our company to new heights. The addition of these team members caps 2002, a year of tremendous internal growth for LHC. Our intense focus upon management performance paid off with 8 consecutive months of substantial increases in RevPAR Penetration Index (RPPI) in 2002. At the same time we maintained our guest satisfaction scores, which far exceed industry averages.
Through operational efficiency LHC has preserved its cash flow in the challenging environment, with flow through statistics that are above industry averages.
For 2003 we expect a new phase of substantial external growth. LHC is actively looking for independent or branded three and four diamond hotels as well as in-fill hotel sites on the West Coast in strategic business or resort locations. “Now that the company has an established history of revenue growth as well as a solid corporate infrastructure and people resources, we are looking to share that expertise and manage hotels where we can create the same results for other hotel owners”, according to Hoagland.