In the most challenging year on record for the hotel industry, My Place Hotels broke ground on new development projects and opened new properties nationwide. Recently, My Place launched a new brand, Trend Hotels & Suites, with a specific focus on the franchisee and franchisor relationship. Matt Campbell, chief operation officer/chief legal officer at My Place Hotels, shares how the company continues to weather the storm of a global pandemic, how they’re looking at the future landscape of the industry, and how involvement with AHLA has helped them continue to innovate and adjust to market conditions.
Can you give a bit of background on your company?
My Place Hotels of America is a company that bridges the gap between our franchisees’ bottom line and guest satisfaction. We are founded on the principles of delivering superior quality and the highest customer service for our guests, while simultaneously providing our franchisees with a uniquely effective business model with both My Place Hotels and Trend Hotels and Suites. We are extremely proud to have continued our hospitality legacy with the launch of Trend Hotels and Suites and successfully opened four My Place Hotels in the midst of a pandemic. We expect to continue to be a light within our industry during this unique environment.
What innovations have changed the way My Place approaches its hospitality clients in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The innovation displayed by My Place Hotels of America was not prompted by the pandemic, it was simply highlighted. Innovation coupled with hospitality has always been an attribute that My Place Hotels has maintained. We have always prided ourselves on being clean, comfortable, and affordable, and COVID-19 allowed us to showcase these values. Today, we continue to focus on the advancement of our technology systems, centering around touchless and automated processes to enhance guest satisfaction and improve operational efficiencies. This includes building and deepening our relationships with our franchisees and frontline employees who both assist in identifying the innovation necessary to bridge that gap between the hotel’s bottom line and guest satisfaction.
My Place Hotels launched a new brand, Trend Hotels & Suites, in the middle of the pandemic last summer. What about the current franchise environment made it attractive to launch this brand?
Some of the greatest people, products, and innovations are born out of times such as this one. On the shelf for the last few years, launching Trend in this environment was attractive because of Trend’s dynamic flexibility and individualism. Top of mind for us has always been the franchisees. Being franchisees ourselves, we understand the growing dissatisfaction between the relationship of the franchisee and franchisor. With the onset of the pandemic, our friends in this industry made it clear that franchisees in other systems were being supported less while being weighed down with more fees. Launching Trend in this period was a very intentional and thought-out decision. We are firm believers in true hospitality, which should both enhance and optimize the relationship. Plugging into the “Power of My Place,” Trend truly has no limits as to what it can do with its tailored fit processes emphasizing the distinctive characteristics of each hotel.
How did you first hear about AHLA and what made you want to get involved with the organization?
I have certainly been aware of AHLA for several years, and I have always appreciated the legislative advocacy that occurs within their organization to advance and protect our industry. Over the years, I have participated alongside AHLA at numerous events including the national advocacy events in Washington, D.C. These events are great opportunities to share personal and impactful stories with our elected officials to raise awareness and encourage change. I am also privileged to be a member of the AHLA Industry Advocacy Committee and General Counsel Committee. Taking great pride in maintaining and deepening relationships, AHLA has been a great outlet for advancement in the hospitality industry through partnerships, innovative research, support, and opportunities.
How do you see the hotel industry evolving over the next five years?
The hotel industry is constantly evolving and adjusting to market conditions. The hotel industry experienced significant change with innovations as the internet was developed, and the industry experienced changes when national tragedies happened. Today, it is no different and we will continue to appropriately evolve through and with the current pandemic. Although technologies and systems will certainly evolve to fit the needs of today, the basic ideas within hospitality have remained unchanged for many years. The foundation of hospitality and putting others first will remain most important. My Place Hotels will continue to be in the forefront by doing what we have always done—simply putting franchisees, hotel staff, and guests first.