007 | A Franchisor’s Perspective with Doug Collins

Doug Collins is President of DC Hospitality, a hotel brokerage firm based in Atlanta, Ga. DC Hospitality was formed in 2014 and offers comprehensive brokerage services to the hospitality industry throughout the country.

He is also CEO of Hospitality Lodging Systems, owner of the Budgetel and Haven Hotels Lodging hotel chains.

LL07-Doug_CollinsCollins served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Atlanta based America’s Best Franchising, a position he held since the company’s inception in January of 1993 to February 2014.

America’s Best Franchising operates almost 300 properties, with a total of more than 20,000 rooms, under its four upper economy hotel brands – America’s Best Inns & Suites, Budgetel Inns & Suites, Country Hearth Inns & Suites, and Vagabond Inns & Suites – plus its upscale 3 Palms brand for independent hotels. Most properties are located in the United States, with locations also in India, Argentina, China, and Nigeria.

[spp-tweet ““Don’t get caught up in what’s happening in the moment” ~Doug Collins”]

Prior to joining America’s Best Franchising, Collins held positions as Chief Financial Officer and then as President of Days Inn of America, one of the world’s largest hotel franchise systems with more than 1,800 properties.

From 1980 to 1990, Collins served in a variety of capacities with Imperial Hotels Corporation, including as President and as Vice President of Finance. He was responsible for the ownership, operation, and growth of approximately 60 properties for this publicly-held firm.

Collins earned an undergraduate degree in business at Georgetown University and an MBA in finance/investment at George Washington University. He was accredited as a certified public accountant (CPA) and practiced with the Grant Thornton firm in Washington, D.C.

[spp-tweet ““Don’t be a distressed seller” ~Doug Collins”]

Jumping to present day, Doug’s Hospitality Lodging Systems (HLS) assumed sole worldwide franchising and management of the Budgetel Inns & Suites brand (http://www.budgetel.com) last November, but the resurrection of the Budgetel brand isn’t the only item on Hospitality Lodging Systems’ agenda. HLS also launced a new soft brand, Haven Hotels, earlier this year with their first Haven property in Dallas, TX, and their second one due to be announced in the next couple months. Haven hotels will positioned in the mid through upscale segment and allow properties to keep all or part of their identity while also having access to services such as reservations, and help with their revenue and reservation management to improve their profitability.

What makes Budgetel special is that it offers a brand website essential reservation system and access to major travel sites and their agents around the world. This is essential in today’s growing technological world which is in a state of rapid and constant expansion.

Resources & Links:

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[spp-tweet ““Take advantage of tools given to you through your affiliation and pay attention” ~Doug Collins”]

How Can Hoteliers Help to Drive Revenue?

According to Doug, taking advantage of tools given to you through your affiliation and paying attention to what is happening in your community is what drives revenue. Remember, that you don’t want to do this alone. Don’t get caught up in what’s happening in the moment and don’t be the last guy to pay top dollar for a hotel. Be very aware of what other hotels in your community are doing.

[spp-tweet ““Be involved in your community” ~Doug Collins”]

In What Ways Can Hoteliers Improve their ADR or Overall Profitability?

Doug claims that you can improve your ADR by staying on top of it. Be involved in working the rates based on what’s going on (holidays, special events, etc). The hotel business is a “real time” business.

Retaining customers is also effective for business. It is the hotel’s responsibility to capture the customer and turn them into a ‘repeat guest.’ How can hoteliers aim to do this with OTA’s (Online travel agents)? The fact of the matter is that OTA’s are here to stay. Hoteliers must work and manage their relationships with them.

Nevertheless, when the guests come to the hotel, it’s all about customer service. Capture email addresses and be sure to make follow ups via email. Reach out as much as possible without being too aggressive. Likewise, aim to retain OTA’s as direct customers. Travel clubs, promotions, customer service and satisfaction are the best ways to do it. *BUILD RELATIONSHIPS* and remedy all problems.

[spp-tweet ““Improving your ADR is really a matter of staying on top of it” ~Doug Collins”]

Leadership

For Doug, Leadership is about learning from mistakes and triumphs. It is about always fostering the associative relationships he has. It is about promotion and creativity. As a leader, Doug also believes in hiring the right people and providing them the tools, guidance and mentorship to do their job. Doug adds that it is imperative to always promote, encourage and acknowledge his staff as they grow in their roles.

Are Leaders Born or Made?

Half of it is a luck (fortunate positions that help you get there). Once you do get there it is a matter of performance and earning your “stripes’ every day. Leadership is about constant innovation and growth.

What Motivates You and Gets you Out of Bed in the Morning?

In Doug’s office in Atlanta, he has a staff that is motivated and energetic and he loves to be surrounded by that energy. Doug always worked for public companies, so what invigorates Doug now is that his family 100% owns Budgetel. He now has the freedom around hiring partners or buying other companies. He loves the fact that he can take complete ownership over its successes and failures.

What is a “Soft brand?”

a soft brand allows the hotelier to keep a certain amount of their identity (if they choose) yet still receive the benefits coming from a full service franchise. In other words, it gives them the independence of still having their own name while also tapping into the power of a brand.

Parting Advice:

Have a great day and keep your nose to the grindstone. Everything is going to be ok!

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Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. If you have some feedback you’d like to share, leave a note in the comment section below!

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Until the next …

 

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