Newly appointed Ryan McRae, Canadian Senior Vice President of Business Development and Joe Reardon, Chief Development Officer, Business Development and Marketing Speak to Hotel Equities Plans in Canada


Can you provide a brief description of your background in the hotel industry?

Ryan McRae:  After starting my career on the retail side of real estate with Ivanhoe Cambridge, then completing my MBA at INSEAD, I joined the development team at Hilton as a Development Director in their Europe and Africa region in 2006. I relocated back to Canada in 2009 and continued to work with Hilton covering development in Western Canada.  In 2012, I joined SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts as their Vice President of Acquisitions & Development, responsible for all SilverBirch’s acquisition and development activities Canada wide. In 2014, I transitioned back to the branded side of things, and joined Marriott International as their Area Vice President – Lodging Development in Western Canada.  After 6 amazing years at Marriott significantly growing their portfolio in Western Canada, I am very excited to be joining the Hotel Equities team.

What does your appointment indicate about HE’s commitment to the Canadian market?


Ryan McRae:  From day one, when Hotel Equities decided to enter the Canadian marketplace three years ago, they were fully committed to having the right in-market, above property resources in place. That included opening its Canadian regional office with full support from all disciplines to ensure they were providing their owners and associates with the best-in-class support for their hotels.

My appointment is a further extension of this commitment to having the most relevant and localized expertise and support for our current and future owners as we grow the HE portfolio. That is how we ensure great results for our owners.  Joe Reardon’s comments have always been that HE gets bigger as we get better and with the results the team is producing, especially since COVID, we expect to continue growing with opportunities to double our presence quickly in Canada.

What is the current portfolio in Canada?


Ryan McRae:  In addition to the 26 hotels we have open and trading in the Canadian market, we also have 7 in various stages of development and an extensive pipeline. We also have a strong focus on merger and acquisition opportunities.  We are excited to be able to work with brand partners on multiple platforms including Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Choice, Hyatt, and Wyndham.     

What is your strategy for expanding here and what do you see as the major challenges?


Ryan McRae:  We will be working very closely with the owners of individual assets in addition to portfolio owners.  Hotel Equities’ value proposition to owners is clear in terms of the RevPAR premiums our properties are able to generate relative to their competitive sets, in addition to the costs savings our scale and efficiencies can bring to a hotel‘s bottom line.  One of the other most significant value adds that HE brings to the conversation is the internal time and resources that we can free up for an owner / developer by taking the hotel management piece off the table for them, allowing them to concentrate on their core business of investment / development.

We also work closely with owners on optimizing their portfolios, providing guidance on acquisition, repositioning, and dispositioning strategies, in addition to working with groups that are new to the hotel space and looking to invest in the asset class.

From a challenge perspective, while I will be working with many existing owners, in a lot of cases, a change in hotel management is very often linked to a change in ownership event. Given the ultimate impact of COVID on Canadian hotel transaction activities still very much remains to be seen, the pace of our growth may be slowed (or perhaps accelerated) depending on the pace of transactions.


Joe Reardon:  The opportunity will continue to be business travel, group and conventions during the next couple of years. Our extended stay and regional based hotels continue to overachieve in our markets in both Canada and the US. 

The strategy here is two-fold, one is working with small owner/management groups to find synergies to work together. We are seeing a massive flight to quality on the management side as the tide is certainly out. This flight to quality allows owners to take advantage of our procurement processes, proprietary business intelligence that measures real time success and opportunities, control cost, allow HE to take on regional payroll and operate premium RGI and results to the market. This strategy allows owners to focus on possible future transactions and further out development while de-risking their current model.

The second strategy will be to identity a few smaller management groups that have alignment with HE on a merger type of strategy. This again allows a group that may be struggling to partner with us on a go forward strategy.

Lastly, HE Is currently in discussion with several owners regarding their development services/owner asset management their development projects and pips. HE rolled out our development services team over two years ago and has successfully helped owners ensure a well-built asset, on time and under budget. 

Has the Covid pandemic affected how the strategy will be rolled out?

Ryan McRae:  There has not been a single area of the hospitality industry that has not been impacted by COVID in one form or another, and the same is true for development.  It is very safe to assume that we will be see a contraction in new-build hotel construction starts in the short to medium term, with many projects shelved indefinitely.  While historically Hotel Equities’ growth would have come through a balance of new-build and exiting assets, with the slowdown in growth of new-builds, our strategy has shifted to have a bias towards existing assets where we can add value to owners.


ATLANTA, GA – September 1, 2020 – Today, leading hotel ownership, management and development firm, Hotel Equities (HE), announced the promotion of Bryan DeCort to the position of chief operating officer. In his role, DeCort will be responsible for enterprise-wide performance, profitability and corporate strategy for the firm’s portfolio of 160+ hotels and resorts throughout the United States and Canada. 

DeCort joined the firm in 2017 as senior vice president of operations and most recently served in the role of executive vice president. He was the architect for a comprehensive internal re-organization while the firm simultaneously added over 50 hotels, 1700 associates and opened 3 regional office locations. Under his guidance and leadership, HE’s operational platform has consistently achieved award-winning, best-in-class performance results. 

“Bryan is a natural servant leader... that attribute, coupled with his appetence for driving performance and accountability make him the right leader for this critical role,” said Brad Rahinsky, president & CEO of HE. “The COO role allows Bryan to do what he does best…focus on the people, their aspirations and the overall performance of the organization. I couldn’t be more confident and proud to move forward with Bryan at the helm of HE’s operations.”

Since joining HE, DeCort has constructed an industry-leading team and implemented cutting edge technology to support the firm’s portfolio. Excited about his new role, DeCort remains grounded in its significance and shared that preserving the company culture remains a key focus, and one of his most important functions.

“This opportunity allows me to shift from a tactical to a more strategic approach moving forward,” DeCort said. “That’s only possible because we were intent on growing the company in a strategic way with the right people. We hired the best talent in the business and I’m so proud of the team we’ve put together. My commitment is to continue providing guidance and support in a way that values HE’s rich culture and past, while ensuring we create continued growth opportunities for associates and stakeholders. This is how we get better and ensure that twenty-five years from now HE continues to thrive and make a distinct difference in people’s lives.”

While overseeing the organization’s day to day operations, Bryan also plays a critical role in all owner, investor and brand relationships. With over 30 years of diverse hospitality experience, he has held progressive executive leadership positions with Marriott, Renaissance, Sheraton & Omni Hotels. DeCort holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida where he concentrated in Hospitality Management and Marketing. 


PITTSBURGH, Sept. 29, 2020 — With operating budgets thrown out the window by second quarter this year, hoteliers are scrambling to find useful historical data to help guide them through the 2021 budgeting and forecasting process. Aptech, a provider of budgeting and forecasting, enterprise accounting, and business intelligence solutions for hotels, is advising operators to rely on historical drivers rather than bottom line revenues to help them better plan for the days ahead. Knowing how to analyze trend data, such as driver value, will help operators forecast more accurately.

“Due to the pandemic, budgeting season started early this year,” said Jill Wilder, Aptech vice president. “Occupancy and revenues were non-existent. So, as far back as July, our customers began asking what they can do now to have better, more accurate budgeting numbers for 2021. In these uncertain times, analyzing every single cost matters. People need to know what to track and what they are spending ‘per occupied room’ and how those costs are impacting the ‘percentage of revenue.’ It’s not an easy task, unless you have the financial-planning tools needed to streamline the process.”

To assist hoteliers with their 2021 budget planning, Aptech is offering the following advice:

  1. Use driver-based calculations rather than straight input.  Due to the relationship of the driver to its source, when a modification to the source is made, the calculation will cascade and update the associated values throughout the budget.  When you are using straight input for each line of the budget, when a value is changed, the entire budget will need to be reviewed and possibly redone.  If the driver value for reservation expense is 5% of Room Revenue, when the Room Revenue value is changed, the reservation expense will be adjusted.
  1. Develop standards – such as Hours/Occupied Room.  Understand what the correct ratio should be. If a housekeeper should be .5 hours/Occupied Room for a select service property, this can become the “standard” or guideline for other select service properties within your portfolio.  Compare those “standards” to generate the most accurate value as to how the amount should be calculated. For instance, if one property is spending .75 hours/occupied room and another is spending .25 it would make sense that the standard value should be .50 hours/occupied room.  The budget calculation will not vary by the time but by the number of rooms that are occupied.  This will also aid with the amount of labor needed to meet those standards. 
  1. Use operational factors to help determine the budget value. As in the example above, the property using .25 hours/occupied room has an average guest satisfaction score of a 4, .5 hours/occupied room will then justify the increased time needed, to obtain a higher guest satisfaction score; whereas the property with .75 hours may always score a 10 on their guest satisfaction for cleanliness. Now considering that less hours being budgeted/occupied room may decrease the guest satisfaction score. Weather is also a valuable operational factor that can aid in budgeting. For instance, a resort in the mountains predicting a very warm winter might consider a lesser number of occupied rooms, due to less cold weather guests.
  1. Don’t overcomplicate the process, what driver is the most beneficial in determining the result. Define the typical driver, be realistic rather than creating several different drivers for every account. Too many choices cause confusion and overwhelm the users with the budget process. Focus on the data that counts, specifically on the operational values that drive a specific budget line.
  1. Review the monthly trends of your actual data.  As we are now 9 months into an unpredictable year; review your data looking for a trend. If the linen expense in one of your F&B outlets is running 5% of dinner revenue for the first 3 months and then increases to 8% for the next three months and then returns to 5%; use those same historical trends to define your upcoming year rather than taking the annual amount and dividing it by 12 giving you the same flat amount for each month. This will help especially with seasonal properties and improve overall month to month accuracy.
  1. Develop a budget that will create a solid beginning for your 2021 forecast.Often it is said that the budget is outdated once it is approved, so users do not spend the time on the month-to-month accuracy. If the time is spent on creating the most accurate monthly budget, this can then be used as a valuable starting point for your future forecast and your budget effort is proven to be worthwhile. 

“Financial-planning today is not a business-as-usual process,” Wilder said. “Given recent events, crafting the perfect budget may not be achievable; but Targetvue, Aptech’s hospitality-driven budgeting and forecasting solution with hospitality-specific drivers can assist in delivering more accurate forecasting, resulting in one version of the truth throughout an organization. If you have questions, we are here to help.”


WASHINGTON (September 28, 2020) – With Congress remaining gridlocked and failing to pass another round of COVID-19 recovery legislation, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is hosting a virtual press conference along with hotel industry leaders from California, Florida and Illinois where they will release a state-by-state breakdown revealing the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the hotel industry and the millions of jobs it supports.

Prior to the pandemic, hotels proudly supported 1 in 25 American jobs—more than 8.3 million in total. A recentAHLA member survey, conducted September 14-16, 2020, found that if Congress fails to pass another COVID stimulus bill, 74 percent of hotels would be forced to lay off additional employees, and two-thirds of hotels (67%) would not make it another six months. Some of the hardest-hit states include California, Florida, Texas, and New York.

Please RSVP toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Chip Rogers, President and CEO of The American Hotel & Lodging Association

Lynn Mohrfeld President and CEO, California Hotel & Lodging Association

Carol Dover, President and CEO, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association

Michael Jacobson, President and CEO, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association


Tuesday September 29, 2020 at 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT



At: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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