New Castle plans to double portfolio in four years SHELTON, Conn. — New Castle Hotels and Resorts (NCHR) plans to double its roster of owned and managed hotels by 2020, it was announced recently. The growth will be split evenly among new management contracts, acquisitions and new-build hotels. “Throughout this most recent economic upturn, our development team has been cultivating a broad range of opportunities that are poised to come to fruition over the next four years,” said Gerry Chase, president and COO. “Simultaneously, we selectively refined our existing portfolio and expanded our investment capacity to take advantage of the coming opportunities. “We have a clear strategic plan of what we want: a mix of full- and select-service hotels with major brands,” he added. “We have an excellent reputation as a manager, and deliver stellar returns on investments. That, coupled with being a preferred operator with all of the major flags, puts us in a great position to execute this four-year plan.” According to Chase, the plan sets up the company to weather any business cycle by balancing the portfolio equally between owned and operated assets. “We have been operating for REITs as well as managing and co-investing with several pri-
vate equity funds in the last 10 years and those important partnerships, coupled with longstanding relationships with smaller investors, will contribute to the third-party management side of the equation,” he said. Immediate Canadian plans include negotiating a third-party management contract at a resort in Quebec and launching a dual-branded Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott in Dartmouth, N.S., which is set to break ground as early as this fall. Plans are also afoot for the Westin Nova Scotian, in Halifax. “Twenty years ago, we took the shuttered Nova Scotian, a beloved fixture of the Canadian Pacific Railroad era, to become the first Westin franchise property,” Chase added. “In August, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Westin Nova Scotian by reupping the franchise agreement for another 20 years. Those kinds of complex projects now are part of our DNA and we will continue to look for those opportunities in the coming years.” South of the border, the company is in negotiations for a third-party management contract at a hotel on Long Island, N.Y. Acquisitions, including the previously announced purchase of the Hampton Inn Milwaukee Downtown and the opening of the Fairfield Inn and Suites New Orleans this sum-
The Westin Nova Scotian, Halifax. mer, put the company on pace to achieve its goal. Two years ago, New Castle set its sights on geographic diversification, opening the Westin Jekyll Island with investment partner Leon Weiner & Associates. Further southern expansion, including a new-build in Tennessee and a second acquisition in New Orleans, are in the works. “These upcoming projects represent a cross
section of our development and operational strengths, leveraging our management bench strength and deep brand knowledge,” Chase said. “With 35 years of experience under our belts, we are very well positioned to take advantage of the positive economic environment with a solid plan, trusted partners and a clear vision for reaching our 2020 goal of 40 hotels,” Chase said.
Zuzapp: property branded mobile engagement apps from Westin and IHG properties to a wide variety of independents and resorts, he says. “We didn’t think there would be a market for brands, but our solution is more feature-rich than what’s offered by brands — it’s not just a booking
engine.” One of the best features is the ability to localize and individualize the app, and brand apps don’t always do that, Della Busa says. “It’s property-branded, just for them. They
can integrate the bookings engine and push global offers. But it can also initiate real-time mobile offers that can drive more traffic to their spa or their restaurants, increasing guest frequency and average spend.”
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OTTAWA — Tony Della Busa, based in Stittsville near Ottawa, works for Zuzapp, which offers hotels a cloud-based, property branded mobile guest engagement app for just $40 US a month. The company, which has been around for two years, aims to help hoteliers monetize engagement and promotion, increase direct bookings, improve guest satisfaction scores, help with guest recovery when something goes wrong, and improve TripAdvisor reviews and rankings. “By comparison, technology vendors will charge you tens of thousands of dollars to create the app, and hundreds of dollars a month to host it,” says Della Busa. While independents make up about 60 per cent of their clientele, the other 40 per cent is branded hotels. Customers range
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