Filling a Void in Hotel Market

Situation:

Originally a hotel in downtown Lexington, the property had been transformed into low income housing in the 1960s. After years of deterioration and little upkeep, the city closed the housing option and eventually sold the building to the developer.


The client:

The historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Lexington, Va., offers an elegant mix of modern decor and historic details such as working elevator cars from 1928, archways and decorative plaster ceilings, and two telephone booths. This six-story boutique hotel features thirty-nine guest rooms, a large banquet room, a fitness room, and several smaller meeting spaces, as well as an in-house restaurant.


Challenges:

When Up to Par arrived on property, here is what we found:
• full hotel renovations needed to be planned and executed, to include: restaurant, fitness center, hi-tech boardroom, ballroom
• low-income housing stigma

Once we established a plan for development and renovation, here are the goals we set:

  • profitable from day one
  • offer a one-stop solution for special events
  • establish and grow tourism business in Lexington
  • develop and offer extreme luxury accommodations with nightly, short-term, and long term options

Solutions:

CONSTRUCTION AND OPENING
For the planning and construction phase of the project, Taylor Hospitality and its parent company, Up to Par, served as project managers. From contacting the designers to selecting furnishings, we planned and tackle each and every challenge associated with renovating an old historic building while maintaining as much of the historic charm as possible. As a result of the effort, the building renovation was recognized by the historical society of Lexington. The hotel officially opened to the public on October 21, 2014.

SALES AND MARKETING
We developed the brand voice for the hotel and implemented a marketing outreach campaign that allowed guests to use modern booking capabilities to drive tourism to Lexington – Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Trivago, Travelocity, as well as an internal booking engine. We’ve also partnered with Main Street Lexington and the Visitor’s Center on initiatives to welcome new visitors to the area. On the sales side, we branded each of the event spaces and devoted a sales manager to ensure we offer our guests a one-stop solution for their weddings, special events, tours, and business retreats.

PENTHOUSE DEVELOPMENT
Going into the project, we knew extreme luxury accommodations at the hotel would be a game changer for Lexington. In order to fund the construction and development of the three penthouses on the top floor, we negotiated leases for cellular towers on the building roof. The funds allowed us to spare no expense in the construction and furnishing of the penthouses.


Results:

  • 85% of all room sales are booked online, most booked between the hours of 7p – 1a
  • Increased room sales by 14% FY 15 to FY 16
  • Increased banquet sales by 27% FY 15 – FY 16
  • Increase room sales year over year by 14%