by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 01, 2006

Thomas J Chevins

Thomas J. Chevins, senior vice president, sales and marketing, for Irving, Texas-based Omni Hotels, spoke recently with M&C about his company and today’s strong seller’s market.

M&C: What are Omni’s growth plans?
We just purchased two hotels in San Antonio, and we have a 600-room convention center hotel under development in Fort Worth. Looking ahead, Vancouver is very appealing, and the resort areas of California and Arizona are also on the radar.

M&C: How’s group business?
50 percent of Omni’s business is group-related. There is real frustration on the planner front. What I’m hearing is they would like to pull the trigger faster in placing meetings, but senior management has not come to the realization that inventory is tighter; they need to do things earlier. Planners say they don’t want to be on their fourth or fifth choice of hotel.

M&C: What sets you apart?
We’re small but unique. We own and operate all of our hotels, so when we decide to move on something, say, adding wireless in public spaces, we don’t have to waste time getting owners to agree. That also means we have great consistency across our product.