Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Obie

Brian Obie

Founder, Obie Hospitality

Brian Obie has had lots of crazy-big ideas in his 76 years. After building a very successful outdoor advertising business, which was taken public under his leadership and listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange, he invested in and then decided to own the Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene, Oregon, when no one imagined such an entity could thrive. The now 41-year-old market is a Eugene icon (and the city's top visitor destination) boasting highly localized food and retail, as well as office space, and most recently a boutique hotel called [Inn at the 5th][1], which Mr. Obie opened in 2012. The hotel was an immediate hit with guests and the community alike, also providing additional customers to the market and creating a fantastic synergy across operations. Then, building upon the success of the hotel, Mr. Obie transplanted the same hospitality concept across state lines to Idaho, where he recently opened the [Inn at 500 Capitol][2] in downtown Boise to great acclaim earlier this year. Mr. Obie's success in the hospitality business, however accidental and organic he claims it to be, was hard-won and smartly pursued by the humble former Eugene mayor and city councilman, who saw an opportunity in under-served Western communities for what he calls “boutique hotels that have a strong attention to detail and the complete guest experience.” Earlier this year, Mr. Obie officially launched Obie Hospitality to prepare for the future, which holds additional properties growing under the brand. In addition to his business operations and city governance service, Mr. Obie is heavily involved with the University of Oregon, completing two terms as a trustee of the University of Oregon Foundation, including as president. He is currently serving as emeritus trustee. He is also active with the Oregon Historical Society. [1]: http://www.innat5th.com/ [2]: http://www.innat500.com/

Please visit http://www.obie.com for more information.

Mr. Obie can be contacted at 541-484-0383 or bobie@obie.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.