PHOENIX — Steve Martens, president of Wichita-based Hospitality Management LLC and The Martens Companies, was named Developer of the Year by Best Western Hotels and Resorts during the hotel chain’s annual convention this week in Phoenix.
Martens was one of two recipients to receive the inaugural award, which was created this year to honor developers whose new properties deliver superior quality in interior and exterior design, function, and guest amenities.
Hospitality Management owns and operates three properties under the Best Western flag, including Best Western Plus Patterson Park Inn in Arkansas City.
It also manages Best Western Blackwell Inn in Blackwell, Oklahoma, and recently opened a Best Western Plus in Norman, Oklahoma.
Hospitality Management also was named an Endorsed Management Company by Best Western earlier this year, making it one of only six U.S. management firms the chain has endorsed.
“I am thrilled to recognize Steve Martens with Best Western’s 2016 Developer of the Year Award,” said Ron Pohl, senior vice president of brand management for Best Western Hotels and Resorts.
“This award honors those who are committed to developing and investing in multiple Best Western hotel projects, and Steve simply represents the best of the best. His properties in Oklahoma and Kansas are terrific assets to our portfolio, and I look forward to our continued partnership as we explore additional development opportunities in the Midwest.”
“We are truly honored to receive this award and very appreciative of Best Western’s efforts to streamline the process for new property development,” Martens said. “The quality of Best Western properties coming online is very impressive, and we are eager to find additional opportunities to bring this brand to the marketplace. Our goal is to maximize return for our hotel investors, while at the same time maximizing the experience for the guests.”
Martens, who has more than 40 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, gained his hospitality industry experience by operating a variety of hotel chains during the past 25 years. He says that although competition has soared in recent years, he thinks the hotel market is stratified enough to provide savvy developers with significant opportunities.
“Over time, the industry has segregated itself into niches, including economy, mid-scale, upper-mid-scale, extended-stay and luxury hotel concepts,” Martens explained. “When we look at potential market sites, we see significant opportunity to build hotels in the mid-scale and upper-mid-scale sector, which is where the Best Western Plus brand does particularly well.”
Business Travel News recently named Best Western Plus the “Best Upper-Mid-Scale Hotel” chain. Martens is focused on developing properties that target this niche, and specifically looks for sites near highways, major universities, employers and hospitals.
His newest property in Norman, he said, hits the trifecta of elements driving hotel stays — a location directly off Interstate 35 that sits adjacent to the Norman Regional HealthPlex, and is a 10-minute drive from the University of Oklahoma and other area businesses.
“Our model is to couple the ideal site location with the high-end amenities that guests want in their ‘home away from home,’” Martens said.
“For us, that goes far beyond full kitchenettes in the suites, and microwaves and refrigerators in the rooms. That’s all standard. Guests want higher-end amenities throughout the hotel, so our design includes a spacious clerestory lobby and breakfast area with lots of natural light, natural stone finishes, stone patios with a fire pit, and outdoor grills for relaxing at the end of the day or tailgating before a football game. We also provide a full fitness center, weight room and heated pool that business travelers particularly appreciate, plus a conference room with full AV that can be used by guests for meetings and training sessions.”
Martens notes that when approaching a municipality regarding a prospective hotel development, it’s advantageous to illustrate how the property will contribute to both the local and state tax base.
“Demonstrating how the project will increase the tax base is a huge selling point, and developers should use this concept to their advantage,” Martens said.
“Hotels pay property and employment taxes. They also collect sales and guest taxes. Hotels projects are highly lucrative for municipalities to attract. Many under-served markets still offer economic development packages and are willing to negotiate attractive incentives for the project. Whether you receive incentives or not, positioning the project as a tax revenue generator is a good strategy for the municipality and the developer alike.”
About Hospitality Management
The award-winning Hospitality Management operates three Best Western-branded hotels, and four overall in Kansas and Oklahoma.
The prestigious M.K. Guertin Award — named for Best Western’s founder and bestowed for service, quality, value, and commitment — was awarded to Best Western Blackwell Inn in both 2015 and 2016, and to the Arkansas City’s Best Western Plus Patterson Park Inn in 2016.
Hospitality Management is one of five operating entities of The Martens Companies, which also include NAI Martens, Martens Appraisal, Huffman Corridor Consulting LLC, and Receivership Services Corp. For more information, see www.martenscos.com.
About Best Western Hotels & Resorts
Best Western Hotels and Resorts, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,100 hotels in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide.
Best Western offers seven hotel brands to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market: Best Western, Best Western Plus, Best Western Premier, Vib, Executive Residency by Best Western, BW Premier Collection and Glo. Now celebrating 70 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and online and mobile booking capabilities.
More than 25 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program, Best Western Rewards, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide.
Best Western continues to set industry records and accolades, including Business Travel News naming Best Western Plus as the best upper mid-price hotel chains, four consecutive Compuware Best of the Web gold awards for best hotel website and seven consecutive AAA/CAA Hotel Partner of the Year Awards.
More than half of all Best Western-branded hotels have earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award.