Hotel Online  Special Report
Robert J. Morse: Millennium’s 
New President

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:

  • To maximize the current potential of our hotels in the U.S.
  • To implement an aggressive sales and marketing plan to make greater inroads into our market segments.
  • To have a well thought out and concise repositioning program to reinvest capital into the properties and maximize profits and revenue.
With regard to acquisitions, we will be looking to disciplined growth with the “right” opportunities in U.S. gateway cities where we are currently not represented. We will be looking for pure acquisitions, joint ventures and management opportunities wherever appropriate.

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.

For more information:
Visit Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP’s 
web site:
Email Jim Butler at [email protected]
Or contact 
Jim Butler at the Firm
 Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP
  2121 Avenue of the Stars
 Los Angeles, CA 90067
     Phone: 310-201-3526 
Also See: Michael A. DeNicola: Jim Butler Q & A / JMBM / August 2000 
Woodley Road:The Global Hospitality Advisor interview with Don Winter, a qualified, first-hand insider's view / JMBM / Feb 2000 
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

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