Intent on considerably expanding its third-party management portfolio and positioning itself for growth through a potential acquisition, Banyan Tree Management recently relaunched as Aperture Hotels.
Led by President/CEO Charles Oswald, Atlanta, Georgia-based Aperture Hotels represents what he describes a “whole new company.” For over a year, Oswald held the same position for Banyan Tree Management, which had served as the management arm for Banyan Investment Group and its portfolio of 15 properties. The CEO noted that establishing the firm as a standalone management entity “was the idea from the onset” of joining the company as he touted its key personnel and growth aspirations.
“We brought in more than half of our above-property leadership team during the last few months. The team has over 400 years of operational experience, which is, I think, a really big number for a small group. So, we’re going to be able to punch above our weight. I think we’re going to be able to deliver that sort of boutique experience, but with actual experienced people running the business,” he said, adding the company has 500-plus employees throughout its hotel portfolio.
Oswald’s experience prior to joining Banyan Tree included stints with leading hotel companies such as HP Hotels—where he served as CEO—as well as Noble Investment Group and Interstate Hotels & Resorts. He explained how the name Aperture came into focus for the company.
“We’re really attuned to data science and predicting what’s going to happen next. It’s about making sure that you’re honed in on the right opportunities in your business and when you think about it, that’s a lot like the aperture lens on your phone. That’s the lens the light shines through. It’s spotlighting the right thing, focusing on that point, and then we send our team out there in the field to go tackle the issue. So that’s where we deploy ‘the art of hospitality’ and really put together a perfect picture,” he explained.
Aperture currently operates more than 2,000 rooms with major branded and independent properties in urban, suburban, and leisure destinations. Oswald noted that in addition to targeting select-service properties, as well as extended-stay hotels, the team’s experience spans from the luxury tier to boutique independent resorts.
Oswald acknowledged the company’s growth aspirations but also tempered expectations slightly.
“We want to be really good and strong in what we do, but don’t be surprised if over the course of the next three or four years we’re a top 25 management company and growing beyond that. I wouldn’t count M&A [mergers and acquisitions] out of the picture. That’s certainly a possibility as long as it’s the right cultural fit and the right portfolio fit,” he said, adding, “I don’t see us ever being a huge group.”
Oswald—who noted the company’s current portfolio has experienced above-average gross operating profit margins—emphasized the importance of ramping up the right way to ensure a strong start and the ability to get to the next level.
“It’s a natural inclination as an operator that likes to get things done to rush in and do it right away, but we determined the right way to do it is to make sure when you launch you’re a ‘new’ company. All of those changes have been set in place, as well as new processes and a new team. The team you want to present to market needs to be ready with the capacity to grow the first day that you flip the switch and say, ‘I’m Aperture Hotels.’ So that’s kind of where we are today. We spent most of the year building up that platform so it would be ready to go and not disappoint. Reputation is everything,” he said.