ATLANTA — Hospitality management company Davidson Hotels & Resorts has launched Davidson Resorts, an operating division focused entirely on the unique skillset necessary to effectively manage distinctive resorts. Specializing in complex, high-touch assets, the portfolio will comprise large-scale, highly-activated properties with multiple food and beverage outlets, retail, leisure activities like golf, spa, ski, water sports, and more. At the helm will be resort and luxury industry specialist Steve Contos, who has been appointed executive vice president of Davidson Resorts. In this leadership role, he will lead a collaborative team of resort experts that have been ensconced in the space and understand the nuances of the resort market and the guest journey, including recreational activations and resort programming, spa, retail, membership clubs, and the management of complex revenue streams.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to creating and delivering value to our owners, we identified an opportunity to meet a demand for further specialization,” said Thom Geshay, president, Davidson Hotels & Resorts. “When we evaluated our company architecture, it became apparent that we should have an operational approach for this unique asset type, as we did with the creation of Pivot in 2016 to address lifestyle hotel needs. Davidson Resorts will encompass the talent, skillset, and resources to invigorate complex revenue streams for our owners and provide stimulating venues and experiential programming to entertain guests.”
Davidson Resorts will launch with 11 existing properties that Davidson has strategically assembled under its other verticals in anticipation of the resort division debut, including the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich.; the flagship Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in Hollywood, Fla.; the Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach, Fla.; the Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, Calif.; and the reimagined Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort in Hawaii. The resort division also includes additional properties in Orlando and Palm Springs and ski resorts in Colorado. Poised for growth, the strategy for expansion is opportunistic and will primarily focus on domestic additions while exploring international markets, including Mexico and the Caribbean. Over the next five years, stabilized annual resort revenue could reach nearly $1 billion, according to Davidson’s estimates.
Prior to joining the Davidson team, Steve Contos served as a senior vice president at Marriott International, overseeing all hotels and resorts in the Caribbean and the luxury resort portfolio in Latin America. During his tenure, he was responsible for 78 hotels and resorts across 12 brands. Under his operational oversight, a number of properties earned awards and accolade recognition, ranging from Forbes 5-Star designations to Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. Previously, Contos was the area vice president of the Americas Southern and Eastern regions, focused on a premium portfolio of hotels in Florida and Louisiana, which included some of the largest Marriott resorts. He has held a myriad of positions within the hospitality industry, serving as general manager at five different properties, including the Orlando Grande Lakes Resort complex, which includes a 1,000-room JW Marriott and a 564-room Ritz Carlton. Contos rose through the ranks of food and beverage operations, banquets, and catering, ultimately becoming hotel manager of the Marriott Orlando World Resort, which was the largest resort asset in the Marriott system at the time.
“It is truly our pleasure to welcome Steve to the team, as we are excited to leverage his wealth of knowledge and experience to this newly deployed operating vertical,” said Pete Sams, chief operating officer, Davidson Hotels & Resorts. “Throughout his career, Steve has been successful based on his results-driven approach to the business and by always putting people first. We feel confident that he will fortify Davidson Resorts by leveraging his tremendous resort experiences with large-scale, complex assets, as well as small, intimate luxury properties.”
Drawing on the foundational resources at Davidson Hotels & Resorts, Davidson Resorts will leverage shared platform services to streamline departmental efficiencies such as accounting, legal, treasury, IT, and risk management.