Mr. Roger Bloss - CEO,President,Founder
- Vantage Hospitality Group Inc.
|1) What is USP
of your hotel brand? How are you different from
The Lexington Collection of Hotels, Plaza Hotels,
Boutique Hotels and Resorts is the only membership
brand in the three and four star lodging segment.
Each hotel is unique and individual; what works
in New York may not work in Phoenix and we give
our hotel owners complete control over the operation
of their properties. They choose the amenities that
work best for their market niches. They can choose
to keep their existing names or choose a Lexington
designation. We offer low fees and short-term contracts
and give our members a voice and a vote in the direction
of the brand. We do all this while providing the
most comprehensive resources in the industry and
the backing of Vantage Hospitality – the 11th largest
hotel company in the world.
|2) What market segment you are targeting?
What types of guests do you want to attract?
As a mid to upper-mid scale brand, The Lexington
Collection attracts a wide-variety of leisure and
business travelers. Each property is different.
Our Lexington Hotel Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort
in Illinois and the Lexington at Hudson Valley Resort
in New York obviously attract families and couples;
while our Lexington Hotel Houston Medical Center
in Houston caters to the families and patients of
the Medical Center.
3) As most of
our readers are hotel owners, what are the benefits
for our readers to select your brand for their next
- Optional low, flat monthly fee or 3% royalties
– the lowest in the industry!
- No liquidated damages;
- Short-term, renewable contracts;
- Freedom to operate your hotel and design custom
strategies that allow for maximum return on investment;
- A voice and a vote in setting the direction
of the brand and its policies;
- Choose your identity -
- If you have a hotel with a long-standing reputation
and name recognition, you may keep your name and
we will use our comprehensive resources to develop
an individual plan for you.
- If you would like to rename your hotel to a
Lexington designation, we will work directly with
you to develop and promote The Lexington Collection
name to your current and potential guests. Additionally,
as a member of Lexington, you can choose the amenities
that best fit your market niche.
- Backing and comprehensive resources of Vantage
Hospitality – the 11th largest hotel company in
- 100% Return on Investment Promise – if your
Return On Investment doesn’t exceed 100 percent
of your membership fees, we will waive your membership
|4) In which
geographical segment do you want to set-up franchises?
Do you have a focus on any specific state or destination?
Hotel owners worldwide are embracing Lexington’s flexible
programs and affordable alternative to franchising. Currently,
the brand can be found throughout North America and China
with plans to continue our rapid expansion throughout
India, Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as continue
our progress throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.
5) Can you share some stories
of success and failures of your franchises?
We have many success stories – in fact, with nearly 900
members, we have thousands of success stories! But Vantage
Hospitality and our brands are best known for taking challenges
head on and, through flexibility and adaptability, we
have persevered when no one thought we would.
When we started our first brand, Americas Best Value Inn,
in 1999, many people tried to discourage us; told us a
new national membership brand would never work. However,
we didn’t listen, and we certainly didn’t get to where
we are today by following the rules.
The old rules of the lodging industry used to be:
- Don’t start a business with your close friends
- Don’t introduce a product into a well-established market
- Don’t expect exceptional growth within the first 10
- Don’t let hotel owners run the brand
We broke every one of those rules and look where we are
today! We’ve grown from two to nearly 900 properties in
only 10 years, making us one of the fastest growing hotel
chains in the world!
That perseverance has carried over to the Lexington Collection.
We continue to hire the best and brightest talent when
other chains are laying off staff, and financially, we
continue to have record-breaking quarters even in one
of the worst economic times our country has seen. We have
a formula for success and it works!
Probably the most significant oversight on our part was
when we first started The Lexington Collection in 2007.
Initially, we thought it best to distance this upper-mid
to upscale brand from Americas Best Value Inn, our limited
service brand. However, we soon learned that owners needed
reassurance that although The Lexington Collection was
a new brand, it was not a new hotel company. Through the
establishment of Americas Best Value Inn, Vantage has
built the solid foundation that provides outstanding resources
and comprehensive programs to build our owners Return
on Investment. By promoting the synergy that exists between
our two brands, we’ve made each brand stronger in its
6) Do you have any structure or system for franchises
to participate in the policy making process of the brand?
For example, Econo Lodge as Econo Lodge Franchise's Association
Member participation is the cornerstone of Vantage’s philosophy
– it’s a hotel company run by hotel owners. Input and
involvement from members is not only encouraged – it is
Both brands are overseen by a member-led Advisory Board
and Advertising Council which meet several times throughout
the year to discuss and approve expenditures and opportunities.
Vantage is the only large hotel company that does NOT
compensate its Board and Council members. These elected
members are required to travel, at their own expense,
to the annual December conference in Las Vegas and a Spring
Board Conference in Coral Springs. They also must be available
for phone conferences and any other incidental travel
that may occur during the year.
I don’t want these elected members to feel indebted to
me or my staff because Vantage paid for their conference
expenses. I want them to tell me what I need to know –
not what I want to hear. And they can only do that by
representing the members in their regions without any
During the December conference, both brands present voting
topics that are discussed openly within the respective
membership and require a minimum 66 percent approval before
passing. Administrators and staff are not allowed to vote
and must abide by the membership’s final decision.
Even an increase in fees must be approved by a majority
– something most hotel chains would never attempt. Our
members are first and foremost business owners. They know
how much money they bring in and how much they can afford
to spend. If I can’t trust them to do what’s right for
their business and our brand, who can I trust?
7) In your view, list the 3
top qualities that franchisees must have to be successful
with your brand.
Confidence. Our members are not part
of some cookie-cutter brand. Each and every property is
different and we want members who are confident in their
uniqueness. We will not tell you, or mandate to you, how
to run your hotel, but we will be by your side every step
of the way.
Active. Our most successful members are
the ones who actively participate on our Advisory Board
or Advertising Council, come to the annual December conference,
and make their voices heard throughout the year. I have
a very strong open-door policy and I love it when a member
calls me to discuss a concern, bounce a new idea around,
or just to say hello. Open communication in combination
with active participation is the foundation of success.
Like everything in life – you get out of it what you put
Common Sense. Particularly in the current
economic times, hotel owners must get back to the basics
in order to stay profitable and competitive. You don’t
need fancy amenity packages, deep discounted rooms, or
outrageous loyalty programs. You simply need excellent
customer service, clean guest rooms, and a property that
is properly maintained both inside and out. This is pure
common sense. You must educate your staff, treat them
well and empower them to make good decisions. Think about
what is most important to you when choosing a hotel and
make your hotel reflect that.
8) What are your plans to market
Your Brand on the Internet?
Vantage and its brands have always been proactive, so
Internet marketing is something that we have been active
in for quite some time. Through comprehensive search engine
marketing strategies including organic search, paid search
(PPC), local search, meta search (e.g. Kayah, SideStep,
etc.), mobile search, Web 2.0 search (e.g. TripAdvisor),
email marketing, online sponsorships, displace advertising
(banners, etc), strategic linking, customer segmentation,
and feeder market initiatives we are able to drive direct
booking to our brand website ( www.LexingtonHotels.com and www.AmericasBestValueInn.com ).
9) How important is Internet
marketing to your Brand for overall strategy?
Internet marketing is extremely important and will grow
more powerful in the next few years. However, we need
to remember the importance of face-to-face relationships
as well. Whether it’s our sales team on the road meeting
with prospective members or the front desk person greeting
a new guest with a smile, we need to cultivate our personal
relationships with people. Therefore, I like to combine
our marketing efforts with a mix of communication methods
– Internet, personal, print, radio, promotions, and PR.
10) What do you feel about
mobile Internet? Will travelers start booking hotels through
mobile by 2015?
I think mobile reservations will be a mainstay long before
2015. Cellular phones outnumber land lines and unlike
some technology that only reaches middle and upper class
citizens, the cellular phone has transcended every socio-economic
segment. According to a 2008 article in USA Today, more
than 31% of people surveyed used their cell phone to text
on a regular basis. I’m confident that number has grown
even higher since last year. Any company – hotel or otherwise
– must be prepared to embrace the mobile technology to
11) Do you have plans to offer
your brand outside United States?
Hotel owners worldwide are embracing Lexington’s and Americas
Best Value Inn’s flexible programs and affordable alternative
to franchising. Currently, the brand can be found throughout
North America and China, with plans to continue its rapid
expansion throughout India, Eastern Europe and the Middle
For more information: Call: 888-582-2378
Visit: www.LexingtonCollection.com & www.AmericasBestValueInn.com