News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Dawn Bryant, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan. 10, 2004 - A veteran hotelier specializing in group business has taken over operations at the Radisson Plaza with a plan to get the city-financed hotel back on track.
Michael Roddy started Monday as the hotel's general manager and has already outlined goals to work with the community and other hotels. He also plans to develop more realistic performance forecasts and boost business through Internet initiatives.
Roddy, 61, replaces Michael Poynter, who resigned in November to take a hotel job in Barbados.
The city-financed Radisson has struggled in its first year, missing projections and likely forcing a refinancing of the bonds to cover the early losses.
With 24 years in the tourism industry, Roddy's specialty is group business -- the segment the Radisson at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center was built to serve. He most recently worked as general manager of the Radisson Hotel South and Plaza Tower, a 565-room convention hotel with 70,000 square feet of meeting space in Bloomington, Minn.
The Radisson here has 402 rooms and is the headquarters hotel for the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, which has a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall.
One of Roddy's goals is to create realistic forecasts based on what the Radisson has learned about the Myrtle Beach market during its first year.
He's predicting February revenue will jump 40 percent over the same month last year, the first full month the Radisson was open.
"We knew we had some flawed, overzealous numbers," Roddy said of previous fore casts. "Now we are at ground zero and we are starting to build on that."
The monthly booking pace has picked up in recent months, though not enough to offset the hotel's lagging start. Group business, which took a hit in recent years with the ailing economy and the 2001 terrorist attacks, also is starting to return, although groups are booking closer to their event rather than up to a year out, Roddy said.
"I think we are moving the right way," he said. "There are very good signs."
Roddy brings a different management style to the hotel, wanting to be more involved with guests and groups.
"I want to be intimately involved ... so they see my presence and see we want that business," Roddy said.
He also wants to work with other area hotels to lure groups that would fill up the Radisson and generate business for the other hotels. Luring that city wide business and the dollars those groups bring was the reason the city backed the hotel project.
Before joining Radisson, Roddy had managed Marriott hotels in Bloomington; Gaithersburg, Md.; Boston and Washington D.C.
Roddy was picked by Radisson's corporate office, but he also has the blessing of some Hotel Board Corp. members, who work closely with the Radisson.
"I think Michael's personality is a real good fit for the job that needs to be done," said Walt Standish, chairman of the Hotel Board Corp. "He will continue to bring us the success we expect. Michael is very hands-on and very much a people person."
His experience at convention hotels impressed Brad Dean, the hotel board's treasurer.
"Mike's got some hefty challenges before him," Dean said. "But he brings a wealth of hotel experience and an understanding of the challenges."
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(c) 2004, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.