Lance Shaner, chairman and CEO of Shaner Hotel Group, said his company is expanding internationally with boutique hotels that have custom designs meant to provide memorable experiences for guests.
STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania—With a portfolio of 51 hotels and more to come, private hotel company Shaner Hotel Group is growing rapidly in places such as Greece, Italy and Daytona, Florida.
Lance Shaner, chairman and CEO of Shaner Hotel Group, who founded the company in 1976, said his company has “a tremendous pipeline of growth,” with five hotels currently under construction that are set to open in 2019.
The Pennsylvania-based company is currently focused on growing the number of boutique hotels in its portfolio, Shaner said, many of which are affiliated with Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. Shaner Hotel Group is a Marriott owner and developer, he said, and has had a relationship with the franchise company for over 35 years.
“(With the) Autograph Collection, each location you’re specifically identifying with the history of the area where you’re building,” he said. “We like resort properties; we like to be on the water."
Shaner cited Florida as a state where the company has a lot of projects, fueled by a lot of regional growth.
One Florida hotel that’s in the works is The Daytona, Autograph Collection, which is under development as part of a billion-dollar project by the Daytona Speedway. The hotel will feature NASCAR memorabilia throughout, suites named after famous drivers and a sky bridge that goes from the hotel to the speedway. The back of the building will even look like the back of a Ferrari, according to Shaner.
Unique design and experiences sits at the core of the company’s portfolio strategy.
“You’ve got to have design and customization and the history of the area,” Shaner said. “A lot of people don’t want cookie-cutter hotels; they want to go have an experience.”
Shaner Hotel Group has a lot to offer to international markets with its relationship with Marriott and other companies, Shaner said.
International growth for the company has “taken off rapidly,” Shaner said, which is expected to continue. The company formed a partnership with Greek company CS Hospitality and “expects to bring three hotels (to) Greece,” and is also restoring a 600-year-old palace in Italy.
Shaner sees a lot of opportunity in Europe, he said, and believes his company is “offering services that are needed” in that region. The company offers additional marketing through the Marriott franchise pipeline and accounting, operations and software systems “that modernize these properties that we’re involved with and I think we will improve their bottom line,” he said.
“There’s consolidation going on in the European scene and Greece and these other countries; they’re catching up to the U.S. but there still not there with technology and franchising and operations,” he said.
Shaner Hotel Group’s current portfolio has 51 properties with more than 6,000 rooms across 17 states and two countries. The company will close out 2019 with more than 9,000 rooms, Shaner added.