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April 6, 2016
Cincinnati Business Courier 4/5/2016
Tom Demeropolis – Senior Staff Reporter

Winegardner Executives
Winegardner & Hammons Hotel Group LLC, a Blue Ash-based hotel management and development company, partnered with one of the largest hotel management companies in the nation in an effort to double its size in 10 years. With the passing of its founders, Roy Winegardner in 2009 and John Hammons in 2013, executives of what was Winegardner & Hammons Inc. were working on recapitalizing the company. At the end of last year, Winegardner’s executive committee partnered with Pyramid Hotel Group to form a new company, Winegardner & Hammons Hotel Group. Mike Conway, CEO of Winegardner, said partnering with Pyramid will help both firms as they share best practices and resources. “We don’t want to be the largest, but we want to be the best,” Conway told me during a recent interview at the company’s headquarters.

The two companies are sharing hotel development opportunities and revenue management platforms and are seeing cost savings in almost all areas because of Pyramid’s size and scale.

Winegardner has 1,700 employees, including 100 in its headquarters at 4243 Hunt Road. The company manages 17 hotels with a total of 3,705 rooms. Last year, Winegardner’s revenue was $200 million. Boston-based Pyramid is a privately owned hotel and resort management company. With more than 10,000 employees, Pyramid manages 70 hotels with more than 18,000 rooms. Last year, Pyramid’s revenue was $1 billion. Hotel Magazine ranked Pyramid as the third-largest management company by revenue last year.

Kent Bruggeman, chief financial officer for Winegardner, said the company brings expertise in sales and marketing, e-commerce, human resources and other areas to Pyramid.

The executive team at Winegardner sees growth in building hotels geared toward millennials, a demographic group that will represent 65 percent of business travelers by 2020. Millennials are defined roughly as those born between 1982 and 2004.

Where Winegardner is predominantly a new hotel builder, Pyramid mostly acquires existing hotels. Winegardner currently has three hotels under construction: Hyatt Place in Austin, Texas, opening in winter 2016, AC Hotel by Marriott at the Banks and the Lytle, an Autograph Collection hotel, which are both scheduled to open in 2017.

Winegardner is looking for more development opportunities across the country in urban, mid-town and mixed-use suburban locations. The types of hotels would include boutique, lifestyle, select-service and full-service options.

Terry Dammeyer, chief construction and development officer for Winegardner, said the company is unique because it develops and builds its own hotels. “Because we’re fully aligned, we can deliver a great product that lasts a long, long time;’ Dammeyer said.

Winegardner operates four hotels in Greater Cincinnati, including the Phelps, a Residence Inn by Marriott.

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