Merrillville, Indiana — White Lodging recently closed on an agreement to sell 25 suburban management contracts. The transaction, combined with planned individual suburban hotel sales, supports White Lodging’s multi-year strategy to exit suburban markets altogether. This transformation focuses the company’s resources across a concentrated urban portfolio with more complex hotels that deliver memorable and elevated guest experiences.
“This strategic portfolio shift further defines our position in the industry and reinforces our focus on urban luxury and lifestyle hotels with independent destination restaurants,” said Bruce White, founder and chairman of White Lodging. “In a sea of commodity hotel properties and expanding management portfolios, we are positioned to create the highest level of guest experiences and an environment where associates thrive. Our interest is to develop the best associates while building the best hotel, restaurant, and bar concepts in every market we operate in.”
In addition to continued development of premium-brand urban properties in core markets, White Lodging is investing in the creation of industry-leading career development and training programs, as well as enhancing its relationship with Purdue University.
“At the same time we are investing in our associates, our opportunity and capacity for new hotel development is targeted and robust,” said Ken Barrett, president of White Lodging. “We expect to continue to build the very best lifestyle hotels that offer exceptional food, beverage, and service experiences.”
White Lodging’s core markets include Indianapolis, Austin, Louisville, Chicago, Denver, San Antonio, Nashville, and Charlotte.
Enhanced Associate Training, Development, and Mentorship
Following this transaction, White Lodging is making a significant investment in revising its training, development, and mentorship programs to better align with a modern post-pandemic workforce dominated by Millennials and Generation Z.
White Lodging’s revised portfolio is tailored to support clearer career paths for associates. With multiple hotels in concentrated urban markets, associates can build a diverse hospitality career across a variety of premium brands without relocating or changing companies.
“We want to show associates that—from the day they are hired to the time they retire— hospitality is an exciting career, and one that can work with a modern lifestyle,” said Jean-Luc Barone, White Lodging CEO, Hospitality Management. “We are developing real curriculum and programs to meet the growing demands and thirst for personal development that this workforce is looking for.”
White Lodging continues to enhance its relationship with Purdue University with a shared desire to develop future hospitalitarians. This includes the recent transition of The Union Club Hotel at Purdue into the first student-run Autograph Collection hotel. The luxury hotel acts as a hands-on learning laboratory for Purdue hospitality students who spend time working and learning about hotel and restaurant operations while earning college credits.
Earlier this year, Purdue renamed the hospitality program the White Lodging – J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, bringing industry leaders together to reinforce that hospitality is a career, not just a job, for those with the spirit to serve.
“The way we win the talent war is by creating a company that allows each individual to be their best selves and grow, and that’s just what we’re doing,” said Barone.
In 2021, White Lodging opened four new premium-brand urban hotels and nine locally relevant food and beverage concepts, including the J.W. Marriott Charlotte, Canopy San Antonio Riverwalk, Austin Marriott Downtown at the convention center, and the Moxy Austin University. The J.W. Marriott Charlotte, Canopy San Antonio Riverwalk, and Austin Marriott Downtown all finished 2021 ranked number one or two in their respective markets, according to Tripadvisor.