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Leveraging New Locations

Concord Hospitality Continues Dynamic Growth By Entering New Markets

Friday, April 26, 2019
Dennis Nessler
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When more than 100 hotels in its portfolio, Concord Hospitality maintains a presence in many markets within the U.S., both large and small, but it seems there are still plenty of untapped markets with growth potential for the company as well.

In fact, the Raleigh, NC-based management and development company entered five new markets in 2018 alone. Furthermore, of the company’s more than 40 projects in the pipeline no less than 19 of them are in new locations, according to Nick Kellock, COO, Concord Hospitality.

Kellock underscored the company’s open-minded approach to development. “We love going into new markets, but we also love developing in markets where we’ve already been successful,” he said.

Acknowledging that the company has a general preference for high-barrier-to-entry markets, Kellock detailed Concord’s decision making process for entering a region and assessing the fundamentals.

“What we care about most is what’s the nature of the demand? What is the resilience of the demand? In addition to major cities, we tend to build a lot around universities, hospitals, medical campuses and what have you because they tend to be more recession proof. In many cases there’s ongoing growth related to those presences, they create other activity that creates jobs,” he said, later referencing one of the more critical questions, “is the market growing?”

Concord Hospitality--which was founded in 1985 and manages full-service, select-service and soft brands and lifestyle properties--currently has 106 hotels in its portfolio. The company has opened six new properties and acquired two hotels since last October when it announced a partnership with Allegheny Capital Corporation.

The new markets the company entered in 2018 are Atlanta; Jacksonville; Philadelphia; Louisville, KY; and Ottawa, Ontario.

Kellock touted the upside of the Hyatt Place Jacksonville, which along with the AC Hotel Gainesville Downtown, was one of two hotels the company opened in North Florida.

“We’re in the town center part, which is a new retail oriented area with a lot of business growth around it. It’s not too far from the Mayo Clinic and satellite businesses related to the Mayo Clinic being there is a factor. It was a combination of great amenity support, lots of new restaurants and what have you right in the neighborhood of the hotel and it’s an opportunity to establish the Hyatt Place brand in that area,” said Kellock.

Concord returned to Atlanta after an extended absence through a deal to manage The Canopy by Hilton Atlanta Midtown as part of a joint venture with multi-family developer Greystar Real Estate Partners.

“Midtown is going through huge growth and demand for hotel rooms is surging in that area. In fact, it generally is in the whole of Atlanta, which is something that couldn’t be said five or 10 years ago,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia Concord now manages the Cambria Hotel Philadelphia Downtown Center City. The property includes a rooftop bar and restaurant and is located on the Avenue of the Arts by the theater district. “It’s right in the heart of downtown; just a fabulous location,” noted Kellock.

The company entered Louisville, KY with the AC Hotel Louisville Downtown, which represents its first modular hotel. Representing one of the brand’s most unique properties, according to the company, the hotel is influenced by the surrounding NuLu neighborhood which includes restaurant, boutiques, shops bars and galleries.

Concord also opened a dual-branded Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, its ninth property in Canada.

Kellock acknowledged the inherent advantages of the company’s relative size and scale noting “we have a much greater pool of resources.”

However, he pointed out the company remains very disciplined when it comes to potential expansion opportunities.

“Bigger is better but we’re not interested in growing for growth’s sake. We’re very much quality driven; quality brands, quality properties, like minded owners who are prepared to invest. We don’t want to get into the mold of just being a regular management company that will manage anything as long as there’s a fee coming out of it...That quality cornerstone that we have is very, very important,” said Kellock.

Meanwhile, Concord--which was recognized last year by Fortune in partnership with Great Place To Work--is on track to grow its associate base to more than 5,000 by year’s end. Kellock talked about the company’s approach to personnel and some of the challenges associated with such growth.

“Keeping pace with the talent that we need is the number one [challenge]. There is a war on talent at every single level of the organization. Whether it’s housekeeping or in the corporate ranks; we have very good retention. We’re fortunate enough to have been recognized as a great place to work by Fortune. We work very hard on creating a great employment experience for our people, but the reality is when you’re growing you can’t fill every position from within,” he concluded.

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Dennis Nessler    Dennis Nessler
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