CH&LA: Have you owned any other franchises besides Best Western? DOUGHTY: Yes, over the years we have had interests in other franchise branded properties. We have owned and operated Quality Inn, Park Plaza, Ramada, and AmeriSuites. CH&LA: What do you think are the advantages of owning a franchise versus being an independent? DOUGHTY: The main advantage to being a franchise is the built-in set of loyal customers that a brand can deliver via their proprietary reservation systems. CH&LA: What did you choose first, the locations of your properties or the brand? DOUGHTY: Location, location, location! Brand is an important, but a secondary consideration, to location. CH&LA: What are some of the benefits you receive from Best Western that you would say make them unique or different? DOUGHTY: Best Western is a memberowned 18 California Hotel & Lodging Association SPRIng 2014 organization and, due to this structure, each owner has significantly more input into the policies of the brand and also more control over the day-to-day operation of the property. Since Best Western is member owned, the fee structure is 50% of other comparable private franchise brands and produces a very healthy contribution to sales through the Best Western reservation system. CH&LA: What is your management style? Are there any mottos or expressions you use at work? DOUGHTY: My management style comes from a core belief that we are all partners in the success or failure of each hotel, and that no one holds all the answers. When Tracy and Buzz founded Thunderbird Properties, Inc. they had the operating partners work on site as general managers. Although our general managers are not necessarily operating partners, we treat our general managers as if they were partners. We give little day-to-day direction, manage by walking around not by hovering over, and I am always looking to learn new techniques from whomever I can. I expect and receive excellent results from this decentralized management style, at least so far. CH&LA: What is a successful day for you? A successful year? DOUGHTY: I have two answers for these questions. The first, as far as business, being a numbers person influences my idea of a successful day or year. I like the “game” of business, beating the comp set in STR or hitting the top 25% of properties in profitability per PKF. Those are the payoffs with the results being happy owners and happy bankers; good people to keep happy. The second answer relates to my personal success, which includes, giving back, helping family and friends grow in health, wealth and happiness, and making people laugh. HOTELIER PROFILE—CARL DOUGHTY Known for mid-size business-class property management, Pacific Plaza Hotels, Inc. specializes in maintaining consistent profitability. For over 30 years, they have demonstrated successful turnarounds, renovations, operational restructuring, and inter-property co-operative marketing campaigns that result in an overall return level which outperforms most of the country’s similar-sized firms.
CHLA Spring 2014
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