Acquisitions & Hotel Openings

Urgo Hotels & Resorts and Ensemble Hotel Partners Open 159-Room Marriott Ithaca, New York

BETHESDA, MD./ BROOKLYN, N.Y. December 15, 2016 – A joint venture between Urgo Hotels & Resorts and Ensemble Hotel Partners announced the opening of the 10-story, 159-room, full-service Marriott Hotel in downtown Ithaca, New York. Located at the eastern entrance to the Ithaca Commons, a newly renovated pedestrian indoor and outdoor mixed-use development and entertainment district anchoring the downtown core, the hotel sits on the doorsteps of Cornell University and Ithaca College. The joint venture developed and owns the project, and the hotel will be managed by Urgo Hotels & Resorts.

“The Marriott Ithaca will act as a gateway to the newly renovated commons in downtown Ithaca, with its numerous restaurants, retail and entertainment options. When designing the project, we focused on the architecture and interior design to incorporate aspects of the local community and Cornell, including custom guestrooms and a lobby that acts as gathering place for hotel guest and locals alike” said Mathew Jalazo, vice president of development at Urgo. “Furthermore, this is Ithaca’s first new hotel in downtown in more than 10 years and the only Marriott-branded hotel located downtown. We believe the combination of the strength of the Marriott brand and the quality of the hotel’s facilities and amenities, along with its unique location, will allow the property to outperform its competitive set in a short period of time.”

The 159-room full-service Marriott hotel features a 10-story design on 8,430 square feet of land with a state-of-the-art fitness center and Monks on the Commons, a restaurant and bar with indoor/outdoor seating located on the pedestrian commons boasting floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Cornell and the surrounding downtown amenities. The hotel has approximately 3,000 square feet of meeting/function space on the second floor with floor-to-ceiling windows and guestrooms on the second level and floors three through ten.

“While this marks our first entry into Ithaca, this is our 16th property in the New York metro area and our 17th Marriott family branded hotel,” Jalazo added. “2016 has been a record year for Urgo. The Ithaca Marriott will be the sixth new development property we opened this year, with our seventh opening next week.”

“Our portfolio has grown more than 28 percent in 2016 to a total of 46 properties and approximately 6,600 rooms, including all owned, third-party management and under development projects contracts,” Jalazo noted. “Our pipeline remains quite full, with six properties under construction and five in the development phase, and we expect to enjoy similar growth in 2017.”

About Urgo Hotels & Resorts

Urgo Hotels & Resorts is a Bethesda, Md.-based hotel company that develops, owns and/or operates distinctive and unique hotels and resorts in major markets and resort locations in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. The current portfolio is comprised 45 hotels with approximately 6, 660 rooms, including six hotels under construction totaling 810 rooms and five hotels under development with 874 rooms. The company develops, builds and operates for its own account, as well as provides third-party management and asset management services. Additional information about the company may be found at www.urgohotels.com.

About Ensemble Hotel Partners

Ensemble Investments, LLC (“Ensemble”) is a privately-held firm specializing in commercial real estate investment, development, and management. Owners and Managing Directors Kam Babaoff, Michael Moskowitz, and Randy McGrane founded the company in 1990 and have since established a diverse portfolio consisting of hotel, medical, and general office assets through its wholly-owned subsidiaries. The company has established a portfolio containing over fifty commercial properties thus far. Ensemble Hotel Partners has a long-standing history of maximizing investment returns through the development and repositioning of hotel assets, while adding value to their respective communities. A trusted partner, Ensemble consistently delivers superior hotel experiences and exceptional returns on investments among premium hotels across the country, making the company one of the industry's hospitality leaders. With its expertise and proven track record, Ensemble has fostered strategic partnerships with global brands and boutique operators to acquire, develop, and manage hospitality assets successfully in a constantly evolving market. Ensemble optimizes the long-term value of these assets by capitalizing on the management expertise of top hospitality professionals.

Contact:
Chris Daly
chris@dalygray.com
(703) 435-6293

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.