Broughton Hotels has promoted Timothy Smith to vice president of operations and development. Smith most recently served as vice president of operations at Broughton Hotels until the company restructured their management to expand Smith’s leadership. LODGING connected with Smith—a hospitality professional with more than 27 years of experience—to discuss his new position and the benefits of the boutique market.
What will you bring to your new position?
I will build trust with clients and quickly produce accurate projections. Sometimes projections may be very optimistic. We know we need to make predictions to stand out among competitors, but that also lead people on the development side to be a little bit optimistic with their projections for a property. Coming from the operations background and the fact that I will continue to oversee operations will highly motivate me to ensure our projections are accurate and we are not over-promising.
How will your relationships with Broughton clients change?
Now I’ll be able to develop relationships with prospective clients from the beginning, build that bond and trust early. I will also maintain those relationships after the contract is signed to guarantee our projections are realistic. Broughton wanted to go this route to give security to our clients. We are not just pulling numbers out of the sky. We don’t have staff that have never worked as general managers or have never cleaned a room or worked a front desk shift just pulling out numbers and making predications. I know exactly what the staffing model of a hotel should look like because I’ve run hotels, I have worked in every department of a hotel so, when I tell you that my prediction is accurate, I am highly confident.
Broughton tends to concentrate on boutique properties. What are the benefits of this market?
There are absolutely markets for branded hotels. But in urban markets and destination markets, where we primarily put our hotels, a boutique hotel is ideal. A boutique hotel allows you to create something really cool. We do a lot of historic renovations to capture the original essence of the hotel and the neighborhood. Guests, especially the millennial generation, want something different, something that is not cookie cutter. When they wake up in the middle of the night, they want to know what city they are in.
So a boutique hotel is the best way to accomplish this?
I think so. In urban or destination markets, a branded hotel tends to limit value perception. Big companies tend to cluster their hotels, so in one neighborhood there may be two or three of their different brands. A branded hotel in that environment lacks strong value perception and they could never alter guests’ expectations. Guests will perceive the hotel’s value in relation to its surrounding hotels. This makes it really very difficult to drive a substantial ADR. In the boutique field, we are able to customize the hotel to its demographics depending on our location. There are a lot of opportunities to drive ADR with a boutique hotel that don’t exist with a branded hotel.