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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 March Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Human Resources: Strategies to Find and Keep the Best Employees
The hotel industry is notoriously rife with employee issues and human resource professionals are typically charged with the task of solving them. These issues can often seem daunting, given the myriad of problems HR departments encounter every day. Increasingly, issues such as workplace violence, workplace safety, workforce diversity, drug and alcohol abuse, labor shortages, inter-departmental conflicts, and compliance with all legal, employment and government regulations have become more prevalent in recent years. However, according to a recent survey, the biggest challenges human resource professionals face involves recruiting, training, retaining and rewarding employees. More than one-half (59%) of HR professionals believe that recruiting, training and rewarding their best employees, and developing the next generation of corporate leaders, will be their greatest challenges. About one-third (34%) predict the challenges will be creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees, and finding people with the specialized skills the organization requires. Of course, all of these efforts are part of a strategy to reduce employee turnover - an issue that continues to plague the industry. An average hotel spends 33 percent of its revenues on labor costs, but employee turnover in the industry can be as high as 31 percent. A high rate of turnover dramatically disrupts operations and profitability, and it falls to HR professionals to address and resolve this area of concern. The March Hotel Business Review will document some of the biggest challenges HR professionals are currently facing, and will report on some of the best practices they are employing to achieve their goals.