Benchmark Hospitality International has announced the promotion of Alex Cabañas to President & CEO, and the promotion of Greg Champion to Executive Vice President & COO. Both positions will include Board of Director responsibilities and will officially take place January 1, 2014. Burt Cabañas, the company's Founder and Chairman, who will remain active in Benchmark's future strategic development and growth, made the announcement.
"Alex's contributions to our company over the last eight years have enabled Benchmark Hospitality to double in size and strategically strengthened our capabilities," said Mr. Cabañas. "He has also been instrumental in enhancing relationships with our property owners and has expanded our knowledge in the capital markets. Most importantly, his leadership and organizational development expertise helped us to clearly define and enhance our 'Be the Difference' culture."
"Greg has taken our operating teams to a level that actively prepares us for future growth, and he has overseen the installation of the systems and services that have dramatically improved the consistency of our property operations," stated Burt Cabañas. "His support of the growth of our sales and marketing group has guided the development of the hospitality industry's newest brands -- Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels, and Benchmark Conference Centers -- and he has enabled our company to better apply our skills in all aspects to these select properties."
Measured growth over the past decade has brought the combined portfolios of Benchmark Hospitality International to 40 properties with annual revenues in excess of $505 Million. Expansion targets over the next ten years are expected to bring annual revenues to over $1 Billion. Benchmark's announced leadership change is another strategic move toward ensuring greater capacity in supporting this growth and, importantly, strengthening the company's relationship with capital partners. "As we grow," continued Burt Cabañas, "we are intensely focused on doing what is in the best interest of the ownership of properties we manage as well as our guests."
Over the past 5 years, Benchmark's growth has been complemented with significant investments in talent, technology, sales systems and support, and training. The company added 22 full time professionals to the Home Office in The Woodlands, Texas. It also invested in the creation of a Global Revenue Support Center, which supports overflow and off-peak reservations services company-wide at lower cost and higher conversation ratios than industry third-party providers. Recognizing that web-based technology is revolutionizing how companies communicate and build relationships with customers, Benchmark Hospitality invested well over $3 Million during challenging economic times in enhanced technology alone; including business intelligence and customer marketing tools, establishing a new and highly customer-friendly web-based platform for Internet and social media outreach.
Alex Cabañas, a graduate of Texas A&M University and Harvard Business School with experience working as part of a global team of professionals with Boston Consulting Group, has invested the past eight years in supporting the growth and development of Benchmark Hospitality International, a company founded by his father in 1980. He has served in a number of roles while at Benchmark Hospitality, including most recently as president business development and finance where he was instrumental in the purchase of MTM Luxury Lodging, which was a catalyst to the launch of the Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels brand. Alex also oversees the evolution of Benchmark's partnership with Benchmark Hospitality International Japan toward a platform for growth.
Central to the Benchmark guest experience at each property is the company's "Be The Difference" culture. Be The Difference – the three most important words at Benchmark -- empowers every Benchmark employee to go above and beyond to serve guests and property owners beyond their expectations. Company executives believe this has been essential in ratcheting up service performance scores system-wide, as measured by the third-party independent firm, Market Metrix. Secondarily, Be The Difference also fuels Benchmark's focus to be the best place to build a career within the hospitality industry. Alex Cabañas has assisted in talent development initiatives, including succession planning and performance management with the goal of building the company's bench strength.
Greg Champion, who brings nearly 20 years of senior-level executive hospitality experience to his new role within Benchmark Hospitality International, including the past five years as head of operations with the company, shares in the importance the company places on the Be The Difference guest service initiative and performance achievements, paving the way operationally with award-winning teams at each Benchmark property. To support the company's aggressive revenue growth plans, Greg has built a strong sales and marketing network within Benchmark Hospitality International that has guided the development of some of hospitality's newest brands -- Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels,Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, and Benchmark Conference Centers, and launched the industry's newest lifestyle and travel journal, entitled Mosaic.
Equally important, Greg has overseen the active growth of Benchmark's private hotel and corporate conference center portfolio, partnering with some of the most important companies globally for their learning and leadership programs. These include the recent additions of World of Whirlpool in Chicago, Deloitte University in Dallas, and Lockheed Martin Center for Leadership Excellence in Bethesda.
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