013 | Fearless Leadership with Vantage Hospitality President and CEO Roger Bloss

Roger Bloss has more than 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry, starting in the business as a teenager. After serving in executive positions with several major hotel franchise companies, Bloss and his partners started the Vantage Hospitality Group in 1996 and acquired their first hotel. Bloss’ vision was to develop a national hotel chain based on an innovative membership model. His group was confident that this approach would reinvent the hospitality industry and change the way franchises were operated, and it did. The group continued to build the company’s infrastructure, resources, and programs, before launching Americas Best Value Inn as a national hotel chain in 1999, earning many industry accolades over the past decade. Today, Vantage Hospitality is the 8th largest hotel company with nearly 1300 properties worldwide.

LL013-Roger_BlossBloss took that vision and created Vantage’s innovative Freestyle® Brand Affiliation Model, offering hoteliers A Voice and A Vote℠ in the brand’s direction (including setting the fees members pay to the brand); low, flat fees; and flexible contracts. Unheard of in the industry, the successful model earned Bloss Lodging Magazine’s “Innovator of the Year” award in 2006 and 2010.

Vantage is the only hotel company to be ranked among the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies for eight consecutive years.

Resources & Links

Roger Bloss

  • Email: rbloss[at]vantagehospitality.com
  • Phone: (805) 557-7300

Vantage Hospitality

In the news

Asian Hospitality – Vantage opens first company-owned hotel

[spp-transcript]

The beginning

Roger landed his first job in the hotel industry at the young age of 13 washing dishes at a Holiday Inn in South Beach, Fla. By the age of 17, Roger’s “can do” attitude earned him the opportunity to become a GM for that same property. Roger continued in the industry and worked his way up through the ranks to several executive positions within major hotel franchise companies.

In 1996 while on a trip to India organized by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), Roger listened carefully to successful hoteliers share their likes and dislikes about hotel franchise agreements. After the trip, he drew a line down a piece of paper noting what people disliked on the right, and what they liked on the left. Roger believed that, if he could do away with the things that hoteliers disliked, and deliver what they liked better than anyone else, with a better attitude, and at a lesser cost, he might have a shot at building a great company.

The leap

Shortly after that life-changing trip to India in 1996, Roger made the courageous decision NOT to renew his contract with HFS (now Wyndham) as President of Knights Inn. His wife was 9 months pregnant at the time, and less than 3 weeks before his daughter was born, Roger found a creative way to lease a property in California. Within a couple days, he had an opportunity to lease yet another property, and combined, those two properties became the beginnings of what Vantage Hospitality is today.

Roger is a fearless leader that truly personifies the entrepreneurial spirit. He’s not a second generation hotelier, he doesn’t have a hospitality degree or an MBA – he’s an “all in” business man that finds creative ways to make things happen. “Entrepreneurs are doers, not dreamers” said Roger, and his story is a clear indication that he walks the talk.

[spp-tweet “‘Entrepreneurs are doers, not dreamers’~Roger Bloss”]

The vision

Going back to that piece of paper he drafted where he outlined the likes and dislikes of franchise agreements, Roger built a brand around a couple simple, yet innovative concepts.

The ROI Promise – “Don’t pay me unless I send you business.  If I don’t send you more business than you pay me in fees, don’t pay me.”

[spp-tweet “‘If I don’t send you more business than you pay me in fees, don’t pay me.’ ~The Vantage ROI Promise”]

The Freestyle® Brand Affiliation Model, offering hoteliers A Voice and A Vote in the brand’s direction – Roger believes that people respond better if you educate and motivate, rather than mandate, so he set out to create a company that educates his members on how to make more money, rather than dictate how they should do business. He believes that a membership model that allows licensees to have a voice in the direction of the company, including the fees that they pay, is the best way to lead.

“I didn’t create penicillin. I didn’t put a man on the moon. All I did was listen to people and said ‘hey, it could be done better.'”

Advice for hoteliers

Roger encourages all hoteliers to become a guest at their own hotel; check in late at night, call at odd hours, experience what guests experience and take note of the service your staff is providing.  Read customer reviews on TripAdvisor and other social sites and embrace that feedback.  Don’t be cynical about negative guest comments; don’t assume that they’re just trying to get something for nothing.  Generally speaking, people don’t go through that much trouble to post a review just to get something for free. Customer feedback is a gift. Listen carefully, address the concerns, and you’ll provide a great service.

[/spp-transcript]

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!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Lodging Leaders Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They really do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes. It’s FREE. All it means is that you’ll automatically be notified when the next episode is released. There are options for subscribing on Apple and Android devices!

Until the next …

  |