Gulph Creek Hotels Task Force & Hotel Takeovers

June 12, 2009
Derek Sylvester

Gulph Creek Hotels Task Force & Hotel Takeovers

Wayne, PA, June 12, 2009 — Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a task force as a temporary grouping under one leader for the purpose of accomplishing a definite objective.  Gulph Creek Hotels defines task force as the Power to Outperform™.  Our Task Force provides us the competitive edge in taking over and turning around underperforming hotels.  Gulph Creek recently took over the management of a 200-unit Marriott branded hotel that since inception has not met performance expectations.  Within the first four months of taking over management, the Hotel’s RevPAR index improved more than 50 percent over the same period in 2008.   The Hotel’s RevPAR ranking improved from 5th of 8 hotels to the consistent market leader.  We also restructured management and staffing levels, resulting in significant annual cost savings.  Operating costs and profitability continue to improve as we source new vendors with better pricing throughout every department.

Our success in taking over management of underperforming hotels is directly attributable to planning, preparation and the implementation of our procedures and actions with a dedicated task force team.  Our task force of Gulph Creek team members is comprised of strong leaders from our other hotels with extensive experience in operations, accounting, customer service, food & beverage and sales & marketing.  Our teams are energetic, enthusiastic and committed to developing the culture and achieving the service and performance levels which are synonymous with each Gulph Creek hotel. 

Our takeover process begins weeks before we enter and takeover the Hotel.  We evaluate the Hotel’s cleanliness, guest satisfaction levels, brand scores, vendor list and pricing, CapEx, property improvement plans, staffing levels, market position and competition.  We begin the process of recruiting, banking, setting up vendor accounts, credit card processing and payroll/benefits processing in the pre-takeover phase.  We establish overall goals, timing and a detailed, prioritized plan of attack.  Within the framework of our overall goals, each task force team member develops their own detailed plan and timeline for their respective departments.  We hold a number of pre-takeover meetings to review plans, timing and a communications strategy to ensure that our task force objectives are consistent and clearly articulated.   

Once on site, we host an all-employee meeting to make introductions and discuss our game plan as well as any employee concerns.  Our task force then gets to work reviewing each in-place procedure and taking immediate steps to change, improve or maintain that procedure.  We ensure that brand standards are in place and that operational systems are functional and efficient.  Each task force team member is empowered to take immediate action and make critical decisions guided by the culture and leadership of Gulph Creek Hotels.  After two to three weeks of around-the-clock investigating, training, and implementation, the task force transitions leadership to the Hotel’s department heads.  We continue to follow up and monitor performance and make adjustments as needed. 

Once the operation is running smoothly, we conduct a thorough sales blitz with 10 to 15 sales managers from our nearby hotels.  We uncover new business, provide assurance to existing clients and implement tested sales and marketing initiatives from our other hotels.  We review room rates, booking procedures, distribution strategy, yield management practices and implement sales productivity tracking and productivity measures.   

Teamwork is a core value of Gulph Creek’s organization and is exemplified by the efforts of our task force to provide the assistance, resources, and support to the Hotel’s team members through the transition.  Follow up by phone and routine visits helps to ensure that policies and procedures put in place during the transition have a lasting, positive impact on the performance of the Hotel and the satisfaction of both guests and team members.