As the one-year mark passes since the COVID-19 shutdowns in March 2020, First Hospitality has shared insights into the company’s Emerge Stronger campaign. This strategic response to the pandemic led the company’s hotel portfolio to outperform in markets across the U.S. through 2020, with STR results including a 122% RevPAR Index and 443% group RevPAR Index.
“Agility is, perhaps, the best quality a company can possess in times of crisis,” said David Duncan, president/CEO of First Hospitality. “Reflecting on 2020, I’m grateful to lead a company that’s agile and forward-thinking. We swiftly implemented the Emerge Stronger campaign, part of which focused on maintaining as many revenue-driving channels as possible. This was key to our short-term stability and long-term success during the peak of the pandemic, and that strategy continues to bear out today.”
First Hospitality attributes its 2020 performance to a data-driven approach led by FirstAnalytics, a proprietary revenue management system.
“We rolled out FirstAnalytics in January 2020 to bridge the gap between third-party revenue software,” said Jenna Fishel, VP of revenue management at First Hospitality. “We knew the technology was a significant development for our hotel portfolio, and we’ve proven its effectiveness throughout the downturn. This technology gives our revenue management teams access to brand data and metrics in real-time so we can identify market trends and proactively adapt our strategy. Even during the most unstable times, we were able to strategize on recovery curve trends by segment, validate forecasts and anticipate demand changes and revenue opportunities. This allowed us to grow share throughout 2020, and it will allow us to continue this trend as we see further recovery for our industry.”
As of February, First Hospitality reported rolling three-month total RevPAR Index of 132.9%, up 11% year-over-year and rolling three-month group RevPAR Index of 290%, up 150% YOY, according to STR.
“We’re a people-first company, and maintaining a strong internal unit was key to our success last year,” said Paul Hitselberger, COO of First Hospitality. “At the beginning of the shutdown period, we conducted an intensive deep dive into our entire sales strategy. The insights we gained through FirstAnalytics gave our teams the confidence to increase our sales presence and develop a targeted approach for reaching different travel segments. We’ve already been able to capture a greater share of business travelers, and we’ve reduced our lead response time to less than four hours. When we opened Home2 Suites Des Moines at Drake University in November, the property achieved a 134% RPI—a benchmark we typically expect to hit after six months for a new hotel—in the first month of opening.”
Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond, First Hospitality continues to grow its strategic teams. The company is expanding its national footprint from coast to coast with the help of its two new VP of business development, Natalie Stone and Jordan Bernstein, who are expanding the company’s portfolio of third-party managed hotels. The company has also partnered with Visiting Media to bring its TrueTour technology to First Hospitality hotels, which gives sales teams the ability to showcase the hotel with personalized virtual tours.