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Interstate Hotels & Resorts Ramps Up Management Training; Classes in Revenue Management and Sales & Catering Management Designed to Help the Company Maximize Revenues at 270 Hotels


ARLINGTON, Va., August 11, 2004—Interstate Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHR), the nation’s largest independent hotel management company, today announced that it is ratcheting up its management training efforts as the industry begins to recover from a three-year downturn, with the introduction of two proprietary, week-long training programs.  New classes in revenue management and sales & catering management are designed to help the company maximize revenues and optimize service at the 270 hotels Interstate manages for owners nationwide.

“One of the key advantages of our company is our size, which allows us to develop programs that smaller companies just do not have the resources to support,” said Jill Kallmeyer, Interstate’s vice president, organization development and learning.  “Our programs include a broader, more balanced perspective on revenue sources than the brand-specific programs cover, including a range of travel segments and distribution channels, like voice, Internet, travel agents and meeting planners, as well as more tools and systems for events and catering.  The goal is to give our properties superior tools and information to respond quickly and successfully to changing guest and market dynamics.”

“Occupancy is coming back and average room rate is on the rise as the industry recovery continues to gain momentum,” said George Brennan, Interstate’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.  “Our goal is to grow faster than the industry as a whole, but with the right mix of business that delivers the most revenue to the bottom line, which is why owners retain us.”

Revenue Management 

“Revenue management is perhaps the most complex part of hotel management and the most difficult to master,” Kallmeyer said.  “Several of the major brands offer revenue management programs, and we have our own internal systems.  However, we wanted to take revenue management to the highest possible level, to give our revenue directors and managers the equivalent of a mini-doctorate in revenue management.”
Hunter Webster, Interstate’s vice president revenue management, noted that the hotel industry lost much of its pricing power during the recent economic downturn.  “Improving demand and continued low levels of new supply create opportunities to aggressively increase room rate, but that is only part of the equation.  You also need sophisticated and targeted revenue management to generate the optimum mix of occupancy and room rate that will improve a hotel’s bottom line.  This program is designed to accomplish that goal.”

Reaction from the field to the new program has been very positive.  Barbara Kirklighter, director of revenue at Hilton Crystal City, was impressed with the scope and breadth of the coursework.  “The week-long class covered all aspects of revenue management,” she said.  “But rather than just teaching people how to use a system, the focus is on enhancing knowledge levels.  Interstate has some of the best tools, data, resources and systems in the industry, and the Revenue Management course utilizes all of them.  As our company grows, this course will help us build bench strength in this key area.”

The training program is open to any Interstate director or manager of revenue management who has been in the position for at least 90 days.  With four classes scheduled for 2004, Interstate plans to provide in-depth training to nearly 100 revenue managers by year end.

Sales Skills Training

“Sales skills training for group, transient and catering sales managers has always been a basic but important part of our business,” Brennan said.  “The new sales and catering manager school is a more client-focused program that is designed to generate incremental business with practical information about the art of the sale.” 
Class modules include prospecting, building rapport, evaluating business, creatively packaging proposals, presentations, effective site inspections and closing techniques.  Participants also review two, in-depth case studies.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts operates approximately 270 hospitality properties with more than 60,000 rooms in 40 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Russia, Portugal and Belgium.  BridgeStreet Corporate Housing Worldwide, an Interstate Hotels & Resorts’ subsidiary, is one of the world’s largest corporate housing providers, offering through its network partners approximately 3,100 upscale, fully furnished corporate housing units throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, France and 39 additional countries. 

Melissa Thompson
Vice President, Corporate Communications
(703) 387-3377
Also See: Terry Alder Named Vice President of Operations and Hunter Webster Named Vice President of Revenue Management for Interstate Hotels & Resorts / January 2004
Interstate Hotels & Resorts Reports 2nd Qtr Net Loss of $2.7 million Compared with a Loss of $0.5 million a Year Earlier; Terminates Intercompany Agreement with MeriStar / Aug 2004
Interstate Hotels & Resorts Selected to Manage 548-Room Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas and The Pantages Suites Hotel & Spa in Toronto / February 2004

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