How Midas Hospitality is building its future

(L-R) Co-founder and CEO David Robert and Co-founder and Managing Partner J.T. Norville

Invest. Develop. Build. Renovate. Manage. If you are looking to draw a picture of what Midas Hospitality brings to the marketplace, you can start there. Led by a team of entrepreneurs, hoteliers, developers and investors, Midas continues to build a hospitality-driven company where being the best is at the top of everyone’s priority list.

The Midas Hospitality team, driven by the mission to create Midas Moments for everyone the brand reaches, is a collection of upscale select-service and extended-stay properties across the country. Today, the brand manages 11 hotels for various ownership groups, as well as owns and manages 27 properties throughout the Midwest and southern states. The company’s hotel portfolio continues to grow through new development and construction, renovation of aging properties and acquisition of existing properties.

Midas Hospitality was founded by David Robert and J.T. Norville in the basement of Norville’s home. The duo combined their talents and experience to devise a strategic growth plan of sourcing developments, acquisitions and capitalization for new opportunities. To get a look at where the Midas Hospitality brand is heading, we sat down with Norville, co-founder and Managing Partner; Robert, co-founder and CEO; Marc Connor, Chief Experience and Chris Shinkle, VP, Development and Construction.

Give us a snapshot of the Midas Hospitality brand?
Unlike the rest of the real estate industry, the hospitality sector is heavily dependent on the people who live our brand and deliver the experience. Our approach is to put our people first—helping them grow as individuals and giving them the tools to do the job to the best of their ability.

Our purpose is to make room for people’s dreams and it informs our choices
daily—how we approach people, what we provide to them, and how we take our
experience to a level that differentiates our services from our competitors.

We believe the top and bottom-line metrics of the business are not the goals, but rather the outcomes of putting people first, living our purpose, and working smart and having fun together.

Unlike the rest of the real estate industry, the hospitality sector is heavily dependent on the people who live our brand and deliver the experience.

What type of guests are you targeting?
We serve a wide range of guests as franchisees of Marriott, Hilton and IHG’s leading
select-service and extended stay brands. We operate as good brand citizens, utilizing
the best they have to offer so we can cater to the many needs of long-term clients and
short-term guests.

How does the design cater to what your guests want and demand?
We leverage the trends and tools our brands provide. This allows us to customize and execute designs that provide comfortable and safe personal space, inspiring and social public spaces, and high-quality amenities so we can adapt to every guest’s needs.

What’s the biggest issue today related to the construction side of the business?
Today’s biggest challenge is the rising costs of construction—labor and, to a lesser
degree, materials. The most impactful, underlying issue is labor availability.
Talk about sustainability.

What are you doing?
All the brands we franchise are mindful of sustainability and we follow their standards.
We are in the midst of developing several Element by Westin properties, and their focus
on sustainability was a key factor for us.

As a vertically-integrated hospitality company we are working daily to improve
our processes, equipment and materials in the development, renovation, construction
and management services. We also operate a non-profit foundation that aims to make
a positive impact in the communities we serve, helping other organizations that cater
to people in need. We believe sustainability is a shared responsibility with our associates, partners and guests, and as an organization we aim to be a role model for the industry.

We believe sustainability is a shared responsibility with our associates, partners and guests, and as an organization we aim to be a role model for the industry.

What do you see as some of your biggest opportunities moving ahead?
We’re focused on three big opportunities: wisely investing in development in sub-markets
where the needs are underserved or unmet; acquiring and/or assuming management of high potential hotels that would benefit from our expertise; and accelerating the adoption of modular construction in our construction and development projects. We are uniquely positioned to deliver against these three priorities over the next three to five years in a way that will generate meaningful returns for our investors and tremendous job opportunities for our associates.

Are you optimistic about what you see in the hotel/resort sector?
We are realistic about the hotel/resort sector. It is a wonderful business, one we are proud to be a part of. There are challenges like the costs of construction or the significant growth of brands; however we’ve cultivated great partnerships and amassed tremendous talent. This allows us to pursue growth in a responsible manner and operate as a leader in the segments and markets we serve.

What trends are you seeing out there today?
From a construction standpoint, the most compelling trend we see is modular. We believe in it so much that we have chosen to allocate dedicated resources to becoming an expert. This move will not only help our projects, but it also will allow us to bring this expertise to both current and future clients.

From an acquisitions standpoint, the market is soft, as owner expectations are
misaligned with that of buyers. We are carefully and very actively looking for appropriately valued properties so we can provide a near term return for those owners while providing significant and high-confidence returns for our investors.

From a development standpoint, we are seeing lifestyle-focused brands making
more definitive choices in who they are and what they offer. The key is finding the right
locations, and we are continuously evaluating opportunities on a weekly basis.

From a hotel management standpoint, there is an increasing number of owners who may not have the experience or the desire to be in the day-to-day operations of a hotel. We are an operations-led business and we know how a hotel is run is the single most important determinant of success. We are selectively working with more owners to help them maximize the return on their investment as a third-party management firm—which is a subset of our total operations team.

In our view—regardless of the facilities or the amenities—the not-so-secret to creating a “must visit” hotel is about service.

What is the secret to creating a “must visit” hotel/resort in today’s competitive landscape?
In our view—regardless of the facilities or the amenities—the not-so-secret to creating
a “must visit” hotel is about service. Our associates need to live our organizational
values and we need to create “Midas Moments.” Those moments provide an above,
beyond and creative experience for each other and our guests, that demonstrates
they are special, they are important and we are happy they are here.

What are today’s guests looking for?
When it comes to select-service and extended stay hotels, guests are looking
for the experience they want. For some it is a seamless experience that allows them
to check in, sleep well, work smart and check out smoothly. For others they are looking for socialization, connection and experiences that make them feel welcome and
comfortable. We aim to uniquely exceed the expectations of each
and every client and guest.

Describe a typical day. Tell us what makes the Midas Hospitality brand so unique?
One of the things we love about the hospitality industry is no day is ever the same. We thrive on the real-time, proactive/reactive experience that gives us the opportunity to serve and make room for people’s dreams. With more than 1,300 people in our span of care, our brand is about being people-first, purpose-driven and performance-minded—the greatest of these is being people-first.

This informs our choices on a daily basis and we consistently hear it is the most differentiating factor for our associates, guests and partners. CCR

** Michael J. Pallerino is the editor of Commercial Construction & Renovation magazine.  Over the past 30-plus years, he has won numerous awards, including the “Jesse H. Neal Editorial Achievement Award,” recognized as the Pulitzer Prize for business-to-business magazines. He can be reached at mikep@ccr-mag.com.

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A compassionate touch
Midas Hospitality brings an optimistic approach to this time of crisis

As Commercial Construction & Renovation was going to press, the industry was among the scores of market segments trying to adjust to complicated and adverse times. We asked J.T. Norville, co-founder and Managing Partner; and David Robert, co-founder and CEO, to share their approach in handling the situation.

What kind of conversations are you having with your employees? Customers?
With our associates, we are expressing our gratitude for their efforts, our actions to support or protect them and the company, and hopefully a sense of compassion and optimism—that while these are challenging times, we will get through it together.

With our guests, customers and partners, we are reinforcing the actions we are taking to protect everyone’s health, what is required of them in that process, our commitment to serve them, and again, hopefully a sense of compassion and optimism they can pass onto others.

What role does leadership play in times like this? What is the best top, down strategy?
Leadership requires many things, most especially thoughtfulness, integrity, focus
and optimism. The best “top, down” strategy is to consistently ensure the channels of communication are open in all directions and to be decisive in a timely manner.

What is your short-term strategy?
Our company mission is actually serving as our “short-term strategy”
to get through this time—care deeply, plan wisely, adapt quickly, serve generously.

What is the best piece of advice you can offer to other leaders in how to deal with the unthinkable?
Perhaps the most useful thing we could offer is to stay optimistic.
It doesn’t ignore the realities, but it serves you better than pessimism, and people are more likely to follow even with unknown or unimaginable consequences on the horizon.

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