A Word From Management: Thomas Luersen, President of CoralTree Hospitality Group

Tom Luersen, President of CoralTree Hospitality Group

CoralTree Hospitality Group launched in January, following the acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality by Hyatt in December of last year. The new management company’s portfolio consists of Two Roads hotels that were unable to enter the Hyatt portfolio for reasons such as legal barriers, marketplace competitiveness, or brand affiliation. CoralTree now manages 17 hotels and is planning on adding three more to its portfolio shortly. President of CoralTree Thomas Luersen spoke with LODGING about the company’s launch.

What was the process of launching CoralTree like?
It’s been great. We were able to retain leaders and executives with whom I’ve been working for 20 years. We started together at Destination Hotels, then went to Two Roads, and now CoralTree. These individuals have proven track records and can make a difference moving forward. We feel good about the niche we’re in, which is resort management, resort communities, and lifestyle hotels. Our success is based on the strong personal relationships that we’ve built with owners, team members, and guests.

How have the hotels in your portfolio been reacting to the new company?
Feedback from owners has been positive thus far. Owners see that we have more time for them. They also get to retain their property’s leadership and know that the corporate team at CoralTree is right behind them because there’s an existing relationship. In fact, several of our owners have extended their contract terms because they feel the momentum and positivity coming from the new company.

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Now that you’re building the portfolio, where is your focus? What are you doing to prove yourself?
We’ve been traveling every day to get face time with our current ownership group to remind our owners what we’re about. We’ve never had a cookie-cutter approach to applying success at a hotel. We approach every new hotel and resort opportunity personally, without a prescriptive solution. We’re communicating that to owners who want to work with an organization that’s creative, innovative, and flexible, but also focused on the guest experience.

What is the biggest challenge facing management companies in 2019?
There’s a constant war for talent. You need to have leaders that empower people to stay with an organization. For CoralTree, our leadership team’s average tenure is about 17 years, with mine currently at 21. It’s important to attract and retain talent; that’s the secret to success in hospitality. Wages have become more competitive, there’s more supply in the marketplace, and global brands are entering spaces they haven’t before. CoralTree will have an advantage in that we hire the entrepreneurial and empowered leaders who feel a sense of independence, while, at the same time, belong to something bigger.