Veteran hotelier Bob Rauch is laying the foundation for Brick Hospitality – a new hotel management company launched last month in San Diego.
Rauch, CEO of RAR Hospitality and president of private consulting group R.A. Rauch & Associates, will be the chairman and chief strategist of the new venture, which will be an employee-owned hotel management group, led by some of his senior executives.
“They know that eventually I will retire, and they’re at a point in their careers that by the time I retire they will want to own something meaningful,” he said. “They put up the startup money to form Brick Hospitality. It was their idea.”
Brick Hospitality’s experienced executive team of professionals include CEO Dallas King, who will be directly responsible for leading and developing the hotel management team; COO Sarah Lynch, who will lead sales and marketing, guest satisfaction, operations excellence and profit-driven results for the company’s hotel portfolio; and Chief Human Resources Officer Dari DeSousa, who will oversee and manage HR strategies and labor relations for Brick Hospitality.
“Being an employee-owned company allows all of us to participate,” King said. “I’m ready to be involved in all ownership decisions. I plan to invest and learn from Bob’s decades of hospitality experience.”
Rauch said Brick Hospitality team also includes Area Controller Chris Bynum, and Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management Ashley Manley.
The Brick Hospitality team specializes in acquisitions, hotel development and design, hotel renovations and openings, sales and marketing, revenue management, food and beverage, and more.
The company’s portfolio consists of six branded select-service hotels including Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton, both in Torrey Hills; Fairfield Inn by Marriott, near California State University San Marcos; and Pantai Inn in La Jolla.
Over the next 18 months, Brick will be completely renovating the Homewood Suites that will include new carpet, drapes, bedspreads, beds, furniture, TVs, lobby, front desk, dining area, a new fitness center and lots of exterior work.
“That’s our biggest renovation,” King said.
Brick will also give the Hiton Garden Inn a “soft goods renovation” of new carpets, drapes and bedspreads and also includes corridor walls, wall lighting and flooring, King said.
In addition to the hotel, the Bistro 39 restaurant located within Brick’s Hilton Garden Inn was recently remodeled.
“To market these renovations, we plan to leverage our website, social media, email, and print advertising for visual updates and special offers. We’ll update our listings on popular travel booking websites, collaborate with Hilton and Marriott to maximize brand exposure, and encourage guest reviews to showcase our enhancements,” said Lynch. “We’ll explore partnerships with local businesses and create attractive packages to enhance the overall guest experience whilst promoting the upgrades. We also host grand re-opening events for all renovation projects to generate excitement and buzz within the local communities.”
King also said other coming plans include refinancing loans that are due in about two years.
“We will refinance and we hope interest rates will start coming down,” he said.
Rauch said ideally, he would like to see the six people running Brick Hospitality consider stopping at managing eight hotels “before we even think about taking a further leap.”
“Once you get to 10 or more hotels, you need at least 12 people,” he said. “There’s a lot more work, a lot more travel, a lot of headaches. You’d need a third party to manage it unless you have unlimited capital.”
Rauch, who has a master’s degree in Tourism Administration from Arizona State University, has been a professor at ASU since 2012 and currently teaches Entrepreneurship in Hospitality there said there is a strong chance Brick Hospitality would be managing a hotel close to the college in the near future.
The importance and need for hotel management companies cannot be underestimated, says Fred Tayco, executive director of the San Diego County Lodging Association.
“Hotel management companies prioritize the efficient operation of lodging establishment properties, ensuring exceptional guest experiences and maintaining a strong commitment to the local community,” Tayco said. “By doing so, the company will help hotels continue to be successful and contribute to San Diego’s local economy.”
San Diego County is home to hundreds of hotels and motels with thousands of rooms and employees, as well as many hotel management companies, including Pacifica Host Hotels, Pacific Hospitality Group, Inc., Excel Hotel Group and Sea Glass Hospitality Partners.
Tayco said that in 2022, hotels generated a $361 million in Transient Occupancy Taxes for municipalities throughout the county.
“This revenue maintains the economic vitality of San Diego and supports thousands of jobs, driving billions of dollars in economic activity,” he said.
Carl Winston, founding director of San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, said no matter how many hotels a management company oversees, “it’s all about trust.”
“For [Brick Hospitality] the trust factor will come into play for new clients. But when you’ve been around as long as [Rauch] has, he’ll leverage that in his favor,” he said.
Rauch founded hotel management firms, R.A. Rauch & Associates in 1990 and RAR Hospitality in 2010, which he sold in 2020 to Hostmark Hospitality Group. Under Rouch’s leadership RAR was involved in more than $2 billion of real estate transactions in California, Arizona and Colorado.
He developed and operated many independent and branded properties including Hilton, Marriott and IHG hotels in California, Arizona, and Colorado.
Rauch is also known as the “hotel guru” and has a hospitality insights website with the URL hotelguru.com.
CEO: Dallas King
HEADQUARTERS: San Diego
BUSINESS: Hotel management
NOTABLE: Company focus is on maximizing revenue, running lean operating margins, and delivering quality service to guests.