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Four Fundamental Practices to Help Hotel Companies
Weather the Current Downturn

SHELTON, CONN. – June 17, 2009 – Look back over the multiple downturns the hospitality industry has experienced in the past 15 years and you’ll recognize two over-reaching patterns. First, recession is cyclical. Second, recession in the hospitality industry acts like evolution cubed, except the companies that survive each downturn have a lot more than natural selection going for them.

“This economy holds significant opportunities and long-term rewards for hotel companies that are savvy, well-capitalized and flexible enough to act swiftly when opportunities arise,” says Gerald P. Chase, president and chief operating officer of New Castle Hotels & Resorts, a hotel owner, developer and third-party manager that grew through the last two recessions and emerged from each stronger than before the downturns. 

Chase says four fundamental practices can help hotel companies weather the current downturn:

Avoid knee-jerk reactions to market fluctuations.
“Instead of making hasty, reactionary moves driven by desperation, focus on developing a long-term survival plan that carries you through the current downturn and positions you to resume growth when the economy improves,” Chase advises.
Begin planning now, not just for this recession but for the next one as well. 
“Because another one will occur eventually,” he says. “Companies that have already streamlined processes for maximum efficiency, that develop their downturn game plan while things are still going well, are the ones that will be best positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities.”
Value your employees and do your best to retain them.
“Finding and retaining good people is the key to success,” Chase says. With unemployment at its highest level in 16 years, some companies may be tempted to “fish around” for desperate workers willing to do a job for less than the person they’re currently employing to do it. That’s a mistake, Chase says. “In the long run, it almost always costs you more to find and train a new employee than it does to hold on to the one you already have.” New Castle uses incentives, internal promotions and an open-door policy to ensure high employee satisfaction that translates to high retention. 
Make hard decisions with courage and compassion
“Cost cutting is necessary in an unfavorable financial climate,” Chase says. “Successful companies have the courage to make the hard decisions like curbing expenses and eliminating duplicate positions within the company to ensure investors and lenders are protected. But these decisions should be made with compassion, good communication and the full engagement of the people they most affect. These decisions need to be made and implemented in a caring, careful and fair way.”
“In the ‘90s, many people in the industry said ‘It can’t get any worse than this.’ Then 9/11 happened and they thought that downturn was the worst-case scenario,” Chase says. “Recession is cyclical and recovery is an inevitable part of that cycle. What sets the survivors apart from the rest is not how well they ride out the recession, but how well they position themselves to maximize opportunities during the recovery.” 

In this recession, the opportunity-generating pattern has already begun. Undercapitalized companies and poorly managed hotels are beginning to fall by the wayside. Banks and investors must then take possession of the properties, but rarely have the expertise to actually run them. Whether they choose to hold on to the hotels or sell them, they still need the properties to be running in the black. Opportunities emerge for third-party managers like New Castle, whose mixture of seasoned confidence, market savvy and proven track record are appealing to reluctant investors-turned-owners. 

New Castle Hotels & Resorts portfolio includes 31 and hotels the company manages, owns or is developing in the United States and Canada.  Since the beginning of 2009, New Castle has opened a new property in Canada, assumed management of a hotel in Albany, N.Y. and is co-developing another hotel in Georgia. New Castle will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2010.  For more information on New Castle Hotels & Resorts, please contact Gerald P. Chase, president, chief operating officer, at (203) 925-8370, or visit the corporate website at


Gerald P. Chase
New Castle Hotels & Resorts
(203) 925-8370


Also See: Gerald P. Chase Promoted to President, COO of New Castle Hotels / Nov 2000
New Castle Hotels & Resorts to Manage Holiday Inn, Albany, New York / May 2009



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