A Year of Discovery

Being my first year as President and CEO of First Hospitality Group, I am thrilled to say that this past year has yielded a bounty of great achievements and positive changes. Team FHG is fortunate to have been at the top of our game for the past 30+ years, and in 2015 we set our sights on even grander levels of success. All in all, it was a very promising year for the industry at large which made it clear to me that we were going to need to distinctly differentiate ourselves from the competition.

I had the privilege of joining many of you in the celebration of your achievements in 2015. With great pride we congratulated the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown on receiving Hilton’s Developer of the Year Award and rang in the first anniversaries of our new developments from Champaign, IL to Columbus, OH. The opening of our Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown and the start of construction on the Marriott Autograph in LeVeque Tower were heartily celebrated. We’ve seen many of our team members be promoted from within and I am proud of how our First family has grown.

In addition to our numerous successes, 2015 was also a year of transition and the biggest that we’ve had in a long time. To stand out in an overflowing industry, we have to reject the status quo. We took the time to focus, thought about our strategic vision, and carefully considered what needs to happen to set us up for success in the years to come.

We are driven by our desire to put you, our team members, in a position to succeed. Therefore, we formed an outside advisory board to support us in taking a long, hard look at our company. We came together with a unified vision and established what I like to think of as some bodacious goals. While in the past some measured our success on the size of our portfolio, our future will be measured by revenue growth and a strategic plan to expand our full-service properties.

As we continue into 2016, we’ve seen some incredible talent come together in upper management and I am excited to witness the “dream team” in action. As the year progresses, hotel openings will begin to unfold in Toledo, Columbus, Detroit, and Louisville – 75% of which will be full-service properties. Additionally, we are excited to continue working on projects such as the Chicago McCormick Place Triplex, which promises to bring in revenues exceeding that of some markets in their entirety.

Clearly, we are never sitting on our thumbs waiting for change to happen to us. We bring change, and this year we are looking to make an even bigger impact than before. Now is the time to be laying the foundational blocks for our next 30 years. 2016 is the year that we leave our comfort zones behind and embrace a culture of growth, both personally and professionally. In the spirit of welcoming the new, 2016 will also be the year that I really start digging into my bucket list. Maybe I’ll finally get a tattoo or start taking veganism seriously, to prove that I will never be too old or set in my ways to change. So, join me in my excitement as we ring in 2016 and all the changes that are to come. Our year is only just beginning and we have plenty more to look forward to.

I’m eager to connect with many of you next week at our annual awards conference. Stop by, say hi, and share your ideas with me!

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