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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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Hotel Sustainable Development: Integrating Practices for the Environment and the Bottom Line
The term “sustainable development” was first coined in 1987. In a report entitled, “Our Common Future,” the Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as follows: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition immediately caught on. In the business world, it is sometimes referred to as a triple bottom line – capturing the concept that investments are profitable, good for people and protective of the environment. Within the hotel industry, companies have taken an active role in committing themselves to addressing climate change and sustainability. Hotel operations have realized that environmentally sound practices not only help the environment, but can lead to cost reductions, business expansion, and profit growth as consumers increasingly seek environmentally sustainable products and services. In a recent survey by Deloitte, it was noted that 95% of respondents believe that the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives. Additionally, 38% of respondents said they made efforts to identify “green” hotels before traveling, and 40% said they would be willing to pay a premium for the privilege. These results suggest that consumers want and expect sustainability in their travel plans. In response to these trends, many hotel companies and on-line travel agencies have even begun offering their consumers an opportunity to purchase carbon offsets to reduce the environmental impact of their trips. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some leading hotels are integrating sustainability practices into their hotels and how their operations, consumers and the environment are profiting from them.