Interview with GHG Chairman Jim Butler
|November 2000 - In April of this year, Robert J. Morse was
hired to be President of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, The Americas. Morse
joins MHR from Meristar Hotels & Resorts where he was Executive Vice
President of Operations. Prior to that he held senior posts with Sheraton,
last as President of both the Franchise Division and Four Points Hotels
by Sheraton. Commenting on Bob’s appointment as president of MHR, John
Wilson, Chief Executive of the London-based parent company (which has 116
hotels in 13 countries worldwide), noted particularly that Bob will be
“tremendously valuable as we integrate the recently acquired Regal hotels
into our global portfolio.”
In an interview with GHG Chairman Jim Butler, Bob Morse talks about his plans for acquisitions, rebranding strategies for the Regal properties acquired last December, and his vision of becoming a “serious player in the corporate meetings market.”
Jim Butler: First, congratulations on your new post. The Millennium brand, the Copthorne brand, and now re-branding the Regal acquisitions. What do you do with these brands and how do you position them?
Robert J. Morse: At this point, Millennium Hotels and Resort’s strategy in North America is to reposition the 12 Regal hotels through a renovation and capital investment project. This endeavor will take place throughout the fourth quarter of 2000 and the first quarter of 2001. We also anticipate that the hotels will be rebranded and renamed “Millennium” at the end of the first quarter of 2001.
Butler: What are the particular challenges the brands face? That you face as a global company?
Morse: We believe that Millennium Hotels and Resorts has a tremendous opportunity to make great gains on a local basis with our current distribution of properties worldwide. Being a relatively unknown company in the U.S., which is the largest hotel market in the world, we feel we are in a position to leverage our global sales offices around the world and our own property sales people to better promote our brand and growth share.
Butler: MHR is lucky to have someone with your strong hotel industry experience and contacts. What are your initial priorities at MHR?
Morse: I see my job as three-pronged:
Butler: How are you going to make the Regal acquisitions work with the rest of the portfolio?
Morse: The Regal portfolio of hotels for the most part is comprised of downtown urban hotels with the proper mix of rooms and meeting space. Our objective will be to position the Regals to be converted to Millennium Hotels as 4-star meeting/conference hotels. Given the mix of our hotels, we believe when our conversion is complete, we will cover half of the top hotel markets in the U.S.
Butler: What are you doing to reposition your Regals and Millennium Hotels as a 4-star brand?
Morse: We closed the acquisition of the Regal portfolio late last year. We are now underway with a $50 million renovation being spent over five years to bring eight Regal Hotels up to par with Millennium standards — a renovation of approximately 2,600 rooms with complete interior design upgrades of guestrooms, corridors and meeting space. Guestrooms will receive entirely new color schemes, desks, linens, pillows and beds. It should be completed by April 15, 2001.
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Email Jim Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Butler at the Firm
Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP
2121 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
|Also See:||Michael A. DeNicola: Jim Butler Q & A / JMBM / August 2000|
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|Kleisner on the New Wyndham / Jim Butler Q & A / JMBM / Oct 1999|
|Olympus Making Bold Moves - Olympus Real Estate of Dallas Spends$1 Million Buying the Rockresort / JMBM / March 2000|
|Straight Talk from KPMG's Nardozza / JMBM / Dec 1998|
|Special Reports / Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP|