Industry NewsBrandsLODGING Exclusive: My Place Hotels Strikes a Balance with New Tech Initiatives 

LODGING Exclusive: My Place Hotels Strikes a Balance with New Tech Initiatives 

Hoteliers are frequently looking for ways to streamline their operations, keep expenses down, and boost their bottom line—especially in today’s challenging economic climate. With this top of mind, My Place Hotels of America, a hotel franchisor with 70 locations across 29 states, recently announced several initiatives to help franchisees improve operational efficiencies and profitability while ensuring guest satisfaction. The upper-midscale extended-stay brand introduced Medallia, a customer experience management platform, to give franchisees access to valuable, actionable data and leveraged its scale to negotiate reduced transaction fees across various distribution channels, improving profit margins.  

In an exclusive interview with LODGING, Matthew Campbell, chief legal officer and chief operating officer for My Place Hotels, shared the strategy behind the brand’s latest initiatives and what these moves mean for franchisees.

What is My Place Hotels’ strategy behind introducing new tech and platforms like Medallia to franchisees?

My Place Hotels is always looking for new technologies, platforms, and systems that focus on improving guest satisfaction, along with finding ways to improve operational efficiencies. This is truer now more than ever as guests are more vocal about their wants and needs and as operators are continually looking for ways to streamline their operations, maintain their expenses, and get more through to the bottom line. Those are the primary factors in us connecting with Medallia and launching that program out to all our operators this year. In parallel with our loyalty program, it certainly gives our hotels a better perspective into what their guests are saying and wanting. It also creates operational efficiencies to manage guest reviews in an easier fashion and narrow down the training objectives that are important at the property level.

What is My Place’s general process for rolling out new initiatives smoothly?

The playbook and timeline for rolling out any initiative vary based on the scope of the platform, but what never changes is making sure any new initiative, programming, or platform strikes a balance with operational efficiencies and guest satisfaction. It simply will not work without that balance—you’re not going to get the buy-in from the operator, and the guest certainly isn’t going to like it. Once we determine that there can be a balance, we’ll test a new platform in our training center in Aberdeen, South Dakota, before we release it to a subset of properties and ask for their opinion on how well it works and whether they like it. If we get positive feedback, then we’ll release it to the larger group of hotels. At the end of the day, the input from our franchisees is the area to which we give the most weight in this evaluation process. Having an operator-first mindset really ensures a smooth transition and learning period when we push any platform out.

What notable outcomes can you share from these initiatives?

Any time you roll out a new platform, it gives the operator different insights into what’s taking place at their property, whether guest feedback or the cost and time of various functions. As a franchisor, we have the time and resources to devote to these platforms that, in a lot of ways, the franchisee does not. When franchisees are able to see behind the curtain different ways of doing something, there’s value in a new tool.

My Place Hotels recently negotiated lower transaction fees across various distribution channels for franchisees. Can you elaborate on that move?

We’ve been really successful in growing our brand over the last handful of years. There are certain benefits that come with size and scale, such as reducing fees. The fees are important, but it’s just a part of why people select My Place—the brand is nimble, quick, and open enough to challenge the status quo and pricing when it’s an item that can be negotiated. Engagement with our guests and franchisees is also at the top of that list. One of My Place’s core values is building an environment for our team members and franchisees to create, learn, and grow together. 

Why are these new initiatives so significant to franchisees in the current economic and industry climate?

These uncertain economic times—along with changing guest dynamics, booking processes, and booking windows—require constant evaluation of hotel programming, processes, and procedures to stay ahead. Our franchisees have selected us because we are a franchisor with an operator-first mentality. We’ve seen all too often that brands are making decisions and implementing new programming that doesn’t give enough consideration to actual hotel operations. That’s not right, and it’s an out-of-balance decision. We have a history and culture at My Place that demands that our franchisees’ priorities are our priorities, and it puts our focus on improving the bottom line of hotel assets by finding programs that challenge the cost structure, create staff efficiencies, and ultimately ensure guest satisfaction.