Archive for February 7th, 2013
Derek Sylvester joined Pennsylvania-based Gulph Creek Hotels in 2006. Prior to this company, he held management positions with Marriott Hotels & Resorts. He has also served as a consultant with Pannell Kerr Forster, Restaurant Advisory Services and Sylvester Consulting Group. Mr. Sylvester’s development experience includes the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, New Jersey; Castle Hill Inn & Resort in Newport, Rhode Island; and the redevelopment of the Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania and the Wyndham Bermuda Resort in Southampton, Bermuda. He holds a B.S. from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job? What is your least favorite?
I enjoy the diversity of my job. I spend time in sales – prospecting and pitching new contracts, acquisitions, capital raising and development. A good portion of my time is spent in operations – reviewing numbers, sales & marketing, leadership reviews, team building and owner/investor relations. I also oversee our new hotel development projects – permitting, design, construction and openings. We have ten hotels in varying stages of the development process.
Q: How has Gulph Creek Hotels’ strategy changed in light of present economic conditions? Have you expanded/narrowed your focus?
We have expanded our focus to acquiring and managing hotels within the wider geographic radius of New York to DC and are looking at more turnaround, value-add opportunities in both the select-service and full-service segments. We are spending more time looking for development sites and opportunities now that the hotel metrics and financing markets have improved.
Q: In the last year or so, have you seen conditions in the hospitality sector change? For better or worse?
The lodging sector seems to have stabilized, which is very positive given the declines and uncertainty we experienced from 2008 to 2010.
Q: You have done a lot of work with resort hotels, such as properties in Bermuda, Hershey, PA, and Newport, RI. What unique challenges come with operating and developing properties specifically for leisure travelers? Read the rest of this entry »