Good things can happen in a Starbucks line at an investment conference. That is where then Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Chief Development Officer Allison Reid ran into Aimbridge Hospitality CEO Mike Deitemeyer. A few weeks after the Hunter Conference, further conversations ensued and today HOTELS breaks the news that Reid is Aimbridge’s new chief global growth officer – a new role for the world’s biggest pure play management company.
“Mike’s enthusiasm for the company, the industry, and most importantly, for the people that he works with is really contagious,” Reid explained about the decision-making process. “We both came up through finance, we both worked at the old Pittsburgh-based Interstate… He’s just very passionate about the industry in the ways that matters to me, which is delivering a great product to our owners and caring about our investor returns – but doing that with a big focus on the people and the team.”
The move for the Plano-Texas-based firm with more than 1,500 properties in 50 states and 23 countries only serves to reinforce its positioning as an aggressive growth company with Reid charged to lead development initiatives across the globe with an increasing emphasis on Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as Latin America.
“We are at a pivotal moment as a company and within the industry. The repositioning of our operating divisions and investment in the industry’s best talent are central to our growth objectives, which will better serve our owners and lend added value to our expanding portfolio,” said Michael Deitemeyer, president and CEO of Aimbridge Hospitality. “Creating a chief global growth officer role is a necessary strategic layer for Aimbridge now as we elevate our operational excellence and realize opportunities ahead on a global scale… As we begin to see an uptick in the overall development pipeline, it is clearly the right time for Allison to join Aimbridge.”
Reid brings more than 35 years of hospitality leadership experience to Aimbridge, having also served as senior vice president of North America development at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. She began her career as an assistant controller with ITT Sheraton Corp. at the St. Regis in New York and held roles with the Sheraton Grand in Los Angeles, Interstate Hotels, W Hotels, and W Hotels Worldwide.
Now she takes on a newly created role at Aimbridge to further take advantage of their global opportunities and sit on top of all the various development groups, showcasing its capabilities to owners and investors. “It’s a big management company, and there’s an opportunity to really craft that story, focusing on what we’re really strong at, and then grow the business – grow profits for owners and investors, opportunities for our people, and obviously grow the number of hotels we manage,” Reid said.
Reid wasn’t ready to start talking growth numbers but said her initial focus will be on understanding the people, the processes, and the data and statistics surrounding the opportunities and value propositions. She also wants to talk to the ownership community about what they like about Aimbridge, where it can improve and how Aimbridge can make them look good. “We’re constantly trying to figure out how we can improve all of those things,” Reid said.
When asked what her broader message to the industry is right now, Reid said believing in the good outweighing the bad. “I believe that with focus and discipline and hard work, we can accomplish whatever we set ourselves out to do,” she said. “My role at Aimbridge is to help lead the growth of the company and that has to be done through people – there’s no other way.”
Her internal message: “Here’s what I’ve done in the past, here’s the people I’ve worked with. I’m pretty much an open book. I believe that people get paid a salary, and they should work hard. And we should also be compassionate to what’s going on in people’s lives and world.”
Externally, Reid reinforces her need to believe in her product and that “the person that I’m having a negotiation with can trust me and feel good that I really want him or her to be successful… I will have a truthful conversation with you about my background in real estate investment, which is what matters most to the person with whom I’m negotiating… It doesn’t mean every deal works out 1,000% — whether it’s buying a hotel or selling a deal, but the intent is to make sure that we’re trying to figure out how to do this together and to make both of our companies or individuals successful.”
In closing, Reid, who is excited to be on the other side of the table working with the hotel brands of the world, said, “don’t overcomplicate things. I always say, ‘the hotel industry is not complicated; it’s complex.’ There are a lot of moving parts, each one of those individually is easy to understand. But putting them all together is where the magic really happens. So, understanding how each one of these pieces work together is critical to the overall success of whatever you’re trying to do.”