|ARLINGTON, Va., March 27, 2006-BridgeStreet Worldwide, a leading international provider of corporate housing, has won two prestigious Corporate Housing Provider Association (CHPA) Tower of Excellence awards, presented recently at that organization's annual conference in Newport Beach, Calif. BridgeStreet's president, Lee Curtis, was named the 2005 Individual Provider of the Year, and the company received for the second year in a row the Most Creative Marketing Program award. The Tower of Excellence awards recognize CHPA member companies for their achievements in a range of categories and their positive impact on the
corporate housing industry.
A 20-year hospitality industry veteran, BridgeStreet's Curtis was selected as Individual Provider of the Year. The award recognizes an outstanding employee, executive or owner who has clearly shown commitment and excellence in the corporate housing business and the industry as a whole.
Curtis, who joined BridgeStreet in 2000 as senior vice president of operations and was named president in 2003, has presided over a major growth spurt at the company. According to Curtis, the key was starting with the organization's foundation, and he spent a great deal of time building a corporate culture of dedication, based on a passion for excellence and a willingness to do "whatever it takes" to be the corporate housing provider of choice across the globe.
Under his guidance, the company then implemented a number of ground-breaking programs that have had a significant, positive impact on operations and guest/client satisfaction, including:
The cumulative effect of these initiatives produced striking financial results for the company, a major criterion of the CHPA award. "Lee and his team have successfully engineered and executed a significant growth plan at BridgeStreet that has resulted in a 63 percent increase in overall national revenue over the last two years," said Tom Hewitt, chief executive officer of parent company, Interstate Hotels & Resorts. "Under his leadership, the company has improved margins and achieved 92 percent occupancy, a rate that significantly outperformed the hotel industry. Lee is an extraordinary leader who inspires others to raise the level of their game and truly exemplifies the attributes this award celebrates."
- "Corporate Housing Made Easy"-a series of initiatives designed to simplify the corporate housing experience, before, during and after a stay that has significantly improved guest and corporate client satisfaction levels.
- "Global Partner Program-a licensed network of corporate housing providers that meet BridgeStreet's consistently high product and service standards and has allowed the company to expand at a more rapid rate. The program, and an offshoot created for providers in smaller markets, have become a major engine of growth for the company.
- "Smart Growth-a comprehensive plan that allows the company to negotiate effective partnering agreements with apartment communities, and better manage inventory to minimize vacancy and consistently maximize profits. The new inventory management strategy enabled BridgeStreet to achieve average occupancy of 92 percent in 2005.
Curtis also strongly believes in giving back to the community through volunteerism, another CHPA award criterion. In 2005, he launched the organization's first ongoing volunteer program with Rebuilding Together, a non-profit organization focused on providing housing redevelopment and community cohesion through revitalization. In addition to in-kind donations from the company, BridgeStreet team members will participate in a number of outreach activities with Rebuilding Together, including a full-day volunteer event during BridgeStreet's annual conference.
"While I'm truly honored by this award, particularly as it comes from our industry, the real credit goes to the individual BridgeStreet team members who make this such a special company," Curtis said. "While corporate housing is our 'product,' it takes truly dedicated people to deliver an exceptional service experience."
"Lee has been a vital member of the CHPA since 1998, and since 2003 has provided insightful leadership as a member of our board," said Mary Ann Passi, executive director of CHPA. "BridgeStreet has always represented the highest standard of excellence, and these awards formally recognize the company's many contributions to the industry."
As winner of CHPA's "Most Creative Marketing" award, BridgeStreet was recognized for its understanding of the critical link between marketing and Internet technology and the company's development and utilization of that technology to enhance customer relationships and produce positive financial results in 2005.
"We were able to demystify electronic marketing and develop a set of online communications tools that inform consumers about BridgeStreet and the serviced apartment option, in general," said Meg Schramm, BridgeStreet director of marketing & e-commerce. "We achieved this through a number of initiatives, including a clear, concise, user-friendly Web site; strategically placed online advertising; targeted search engine keyword acquisition; and focused e-mail marketing programs. As a result of this approach, our online revenue grew 80 percent over 2004, and we captured 36 percent more business from key accounts."
BridgeStreet Worldwide, a subsidiary of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, is one of the world's largest Corporate Housing and Serviced Apartment providers. BridgeStreet and its network of Global Partners offer apartment accommodations in more than 90 MSAs throughout the United States and internationally. BridgeStreet properties meet uncompromising standards of quality, comfort and service. For more information about the company or to learn more about how BridgeStreet is Making Corporate Housing Easy, visit http://www.bridgestreet.com or call 1-800-BSTREET.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, about BridgeStreet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, including those statements regarding future operating results and the timing and composition of revenues, among others, and statements containing words such as "expects," "believes" or "will," which indicate that those statements are forward-looking. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially, including changes in the national economy, economic conditions generally and the real estate market specifically, the threat of future terrorist attacks, governmental actions, legislative and regulatory changes, availability of debt and equity capital, interest rates, competition, supply and demand for lodging facilities in our current and proposed market areas, and the company's ability to manage integration and growth. Additional risks are discussed in Interstate Hotels & Resorts' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Interstate Hotels & Resorts annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005.