WICHITA, KS—As reported in GlobeSt.com, Value Place, the extended-stay hotel brand, has just named Mike Varner as its senior vice president of brand strategy and marketing, one of many key hires the company has made this year. And Varner says Value Place, now located in 32 states, has set a goal of becoming a truly national brand.
“I’m not saying that we need to be in all 50 states,” he tells GlobeSt.com, “but we do want to be in the top 25 markets.” The company has launched fairly aggressive expansion plans, both for its franchise operations and for its corporate-owned hotels. In late 2012, for example, it got a $100 million capital investment from the New York-based investment firm Lindsay Goldberg LLC and decided to use the funds to jumpstart the construction of dozens of new projects in metro areas such as Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, and southeast Florida, among others.
Furthermore, Value Place also wants to bring in a broader, more diverse set of customers. “We’re not going to turn our business model on its head,” Varner says, mainly because so far it has been quite successful. The company recently reported that its system-wide revenue increased 10.6% over the same period last year to $55 million. “We’ve done a good job of attracting people who are in the midst of relocating, but what I think we’re missing is the opportunity to connect more deeply with the growing sectors of the country.”
He specifically hopes to bring more Latino travelers into Value Place, and tap into the growing demographic of millennials. “We want to make sure we have an experience for all of these groups that is relatable.”
A typical Value Place location has about 124 rooms in a four-floor, 45,000-square-foot building on two acres that provides guests with a bedroom, a desk with an internet connection and a full kitchen. Some guests stay for months as they look for a more permanent place to live.
“It’s a business model that works really well, and a lot of traditional hoteliers don’t really understand it,” he adds. Most recently, Varner worked for Choice Hotels International, where he was responsible for brand strategy and management for the Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites brands. But “there has been a ton of developer interest in the extended-stay model, so I expect exciting things to come from Value Place.”