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Benchmark Names Matt Hagerman as GM for 84-room Willows Lodge Near Seattle

Houston, Texas - April 3, 2012 - Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, has named Matt Hagerman general manager for Willows Lodge, located in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country, Washington State’s storied viticulture region near Seattle and Bellevue. Willows Lodge is part of Benchmark Hospitality’s new collection of Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels SM. James Simkins, chief operating officer for Benchmark’s Personal Luxury properties, made the announcement.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Matt back to our company,” said Mr. Simkins. “He is a great example of a leader who understands the nuances of luxury hospitality, and the dynamics of operating a first-class hotel with a highly motivated team of professionals.”

Matt Hagerman was previously the successful general manager of The Woodmark Hotel, located in Kirkland, Washington. Mr. Hagerman was a key member of the opening management team for the luxurious and award-winning Hotel 1000, a Benchmark Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels property. He also served as hotel manager for the acclaimed property. Earlier in his career he held positions within sales and operations for leading hospitality brands.

Mr. Hagerman is a graduate of the University of Washington. He resides in the Seattle area.

About Willows Lodge
Willows Lodge, a Northwest-style lodge located in Woodinville Wine Country just outside of Seattle, features 84 luxury guestrooms, a full-service spa and high tech-equipped meeting space. Executive Chef Bobby Moore’s American regional cuisine at Barking Frog reflects the seasonal and organic produce found in Puget Sound, and is artfully paired with an extensive list of Washington wines. Willows Lodge also boasts Fireside Cellars, offering a casual and sophisticated atmosphere tucked away in the lobby with an outdoor patio overlooking the expansive surrounding landscape. Operated by Benchmark Hospitality International, Willows Lodge is a member of Benchmark’s exclusive Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM For more information, visit www.willowslodge.com.

About Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels
Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM represents a hand-picked group of 14 luxurious properties, in spectacular U.S. destinations coast to coast and off shore. Each hotel and resort delivers personal luxury in a spirit true to its own distinctive locale, yet in unison with the collection’s shared mission. A division of Benchmark Hospitality International, for 30 years a leading US-based hospitality management company, and led by a proven and seasoned team of award-winning luxury hospitality professionals, Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM is the preferred choice of guests who yearn for transformation over accommodation, customization over conformity, and inspiration over predictability. With Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM, luxury is always personal.

About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM. The independent company, launched in 1980, is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations. Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston. Benchmark Hospitality is also a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers. The company's eastern regional office is in New Jersey, western regional office is in Washington, with international offices in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark's properties and additional information, visit www.benchmarkhospitality.com.

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Coming Up In The February Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer
Consider these astonishing numbers: 1.49 billion active monthly Facebook users. 1.1 billion active monthly YouTube users. 320 million active monthly Twitter users and nearly 400 million registered users on LinkedIn. 400 million active monthly Instagram users and 200 million active Google+ users. The power and reach of social media is an awesome force and it has transformed how hotels interact with their customers. In the past year, social media advertising spending increased 33.5% to nearly $24 billion dollars. Social networks are being utilized by hotels to reach more visitors, expand brand awareness, enhance brand reputation and to establish more direct and personal communication with their customers. Savvy hotel operators are adopting a comprehensive social media strategy, and there are several emerging trends to note. Video continues to be a powerful and influential element in social media marketing, with 70% of companies saying that it is their most effective marketing tool. Video generates a 62% higher engagement rate than photographs alone, and with new social sites like Meerkat and Periscope which offer live video streaming, those numbers will only increase. Sponsored content is another growing trend. Though advertorials have been around for decades, hotels are finding new ways to maximize the visibility of their content. Some are placing sponsored content on Facebook, or on influencer blogs. Another trend is the integration of a “Buy Now” button into social media websites. Customers will be able to make purchases without ever having to leave their favorite social sites. This development is a major convenience for customers and should also be an additional revenue source for hotels. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.