Acquisitions & Hotel Openings

Royal Hotel Investments Opens Holiday Inn Express in Covington, Georgia

COVINGTON, GA. May 10, 2017 - One of the first new-build Holiday Inn Express properties in the country to feature the brand’s recently-introduced “Formula Blue” design direction held its grand opening celebration on Friday, May 5 in Covington, Georgia, about 35 miles east of Atlanta.

The 110-room, six-floor hotel, which represents an investment of about $13 million, is owned and operated by Royal Hotel Investments. Amenities include a business center; fitness center; outdoor swimming pool; 400-sq. ft. board room; 1,000-sq. ft. flexible space meeting room; guest laundry; and an expansive outdoor patio.

“When a hotel looks special, guests feel special – and they’re eager to come back,” said Navin Shah, Chairman of Royal Hotel Investments. “That’s why we created a property that offers the comforts of home, the convenience of the office, and the luxury of a vacation.”

The “Formula Blue” concept includes features such as an open lobby and “great room” area for social, business, or dining gatherings; re-designed case goods; and a headboard for beds that minimizes noise transfer between rooms.

“Today’s travelers want a hotel experience that is comfortable, simple, and smart, so we have brought these benefits together in a very attractive way in a strong suburban market,” added Shah, who began construction of the Holiday Inn Express in June of 2015.

Covington is often referred to as “the Hollywood of the South” based on its popularity as the filming location for many well-known movies and television shows, notably “The Walking Dead,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Selma,” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Atlanta-based Royal Hotel Investment, which was formed in 2002, currently owns and operates two Hampton Inn hotels in metropolitan Atlanta -- a 105-room property in Covington and a 99-room property in Conyers -- plus a 20,000 sq. ft. shopping center in Covington. The company also plans to add another two hotels within the next year.

“Our properties are important local resources for both travelers and residents – where business gets done and where memories are created by families, companies, and civic groups,” adds Shah, who also serves as Vice-Chairman of Embassy National Bank.

The bank, which was established in 2007, has grown to more than $115 million in assets and is a leading lender to small businesses in the southeastern United States, including many hoteliers.

Peter G. Mathon
P. R. Counsel for Royal Hotel Investment

Coming Up In The June Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?
Hotels and OTAs are, by necessity, joined at the hip and locked in a symbiotic relationship that is uneasy at best. Hotels require the marketing presence that OTAs offer and of course, OTAs guest’s email when it sends guest information to a hotel, effectively allowing OTAs to maintain “ownership” of the guest. Without ready access to guest need hotel product to offer their online customers. But recently, several OTAs have decided to no longer share a data, hotels are severely constrained from marketing directly to a guest which allows them to capture repeat business – the lowest cost and highest value travelers. Hotels also require this data to effectively market to previous guests, so ownership of this data will be a significant factor as hotels and OTAs move forward. Another issue is the increasing shift to mobile travel bookings. Mobile will account for more than half of all online travel bookings next year, and 78.6% of them will use their smartphone to make those reservations. As a result, hotels must have a robust mobile marketing plan in place, which means responsive design, one-click booking, and location technology. Another important mobile marketing element is a “Click-to-Call” feature. According to a recent Google survey, 68% of hotel guests report that it is extremely/very important to be able to call a hotel during the purchase phase, and 58% are very likely to call a hotel if the capability is available in a smartphone search. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.