President and founder of Century Equities Danny Aderholt has more than 30 years experience in the real estate business, developing both commercial and residential properties. Though Aderholt first dipped Century’s toes into the hotel industry 21 years ago, it was only about half a decade ago that the company started to actively grow this part of its portfolio. Today, Century owns a number of hospitality properties, including eight Wyndham hotels. Aderholt says that when Century decided to enter the hospitality business in earnest, it concentrated on building up a staff with an excellent track record and maintaining an active presence in its properties.
What made you want to franchise with Wyndham? We looked at the Microtel prototype about five years ago, not too long after Wyndham acquired the brand. We were looking for a first-rate, high-quality economy product to market to the Western Pennsylvania/Southeast Ohio region. We were very impressed with the Microtel prototype and the value it delivered to both the guest and the owner.
What do you like most about working with Wyndham? Right off the top: The people. The accessibility, quality, and integrity of the leadership at the top of the company are what have been most impressive to us.
What is a hotel owner’s key to success? It’s really not that mysterious—you’ve got to run a first-rate operation. Whether you’re running an economy hotel, a midscale hotel, or an upscale hotel, you have to give the guest a great experience. That starts with your team of people on the ground. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about.
What suggestions would you have for a first-time franchisee? For a first-timer, I would recommend finding a proper management company with an excellent track record. Hospitality isn’t a business where you wake up in the morning and you just figure out the right way to do things. It requires some experience and expertise. I would also encourage first-time franchisees to have a deep pocket, to provide for the unexpected, and tackle glitches head on.
What about the hospitality industry do you find most exciting right now? There’s definitely a level of creativity today that didn’t exist only a few years ago. Back then, it seemed as though the creative products were reserved for the bigger markets. Now I see some of the major brands, including Wyndham, willing to flex a bit and show more creativity.