Checking In with Mark Ricketts, President and COO of McNeill Hotel Company

Mark Ricketts

Founded in 2014 by Philip McNeill, Jr. and Mark Ricketts, Germantown, Tenn.-based McNeill Hotel Company is a third-party management company that focuses on select-service properties with an emphasis on Marriott and Hilton brands. According to Ricketts, McNeill Hotel Company has grown by creating an environment where it is viewed as “best-in-class” by its associates and the brands they work with. Ricketts notes, “As a relatively new organization, we can offer to good people the opportunity to help forge who and what we become in the years ahead.”

How do you deliver a personalized experience for each of your clients?
It starts with understanding and caring about people, which includes building a strong relationship with your repeat customers. At the end of day, it’s the experience that you can provide the guest that makes the difference in loyalty, reflected in referrals and repeat visits.

To achieve this goal, we must hire and train people who share this enthusiasm for our industry and the difference that we can make for guests. Let’s share with visitors what’s great about our property and what makes our host community and region tick. Certainly, from a more technical standpoint, in today’s world we need to pay close attention to guest surveys and online reviews and respond in a positive way to any criticisms.

What does it take to stay competitive in today’s market?
Both “hotels”—the one that the guest experiences and one that they don’t see, which encompasses our training, management, and operational systems—must be outstanding. Of course, there are certain givens that we all expect during a hotel stay, such as a clean room, a secure environment, and modern amenities. But how can we go beyond that to make the visit memorable? Each guest helps define what that means. For one person, it might be a great breakfast with a made-to-order omelet. For another guest, the key factor might be outstanding WiFi, the fitness center, or that we helped find a room in another city for the next phase of their vacation.


What current industry trends do you think are here to stay?
Technology comes to the forefront here. From the mobile apps we will use in all phases of our hospitality operations and communications to guests expecting robust, in-room entertainment options. Today’s guest wants to be able to resume a Netflix or Hulu program they were viewing at home the night before without missing a frame. Other important trends include the ability to choose one’s room before even arriving at a property, alternative ways to check in, expanded exercise rooms, and healthy food options.

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Robin McLaughlin is digital editor of LODGING.