Innisfree Hotels Breaks Ground on Dual-Branded Marriott Hotel in Amelia Island

GULF BREEZE, FLA. – December 3, 2019 – Innisfree Hotels has broken ground on its latest development project, a dual-branded SpringHill Suites and Courtyard by Marriott hotel located at 2900 Atlantic Avenue in Amelia Island, Fla. 

The hotel company will partner with Main Beach Sojourn LLLP, carrying on a 26-year affiliation of principals associated with the former Amelia Island Care Center located on the site. 

The all-new hotel boasts 239 rooms including suites, a resort-style pool deck with in-pool seating, a courtyard with fire pit area and poolside bar, a fitness room, 6,086 sq. ft. of meeting space and a location within walking distance of the Atlantic Ocean. 

“We’ve had the privilege of being part of the Amelia Island community for the past three years,” says Ted Ent, CEO of Innisfree Hotels. “The growth and development happening on Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island as a whole is exciting, and we’re looking forward to being able to welcome even more guests to the Atlantic Coast.”

This is the second Marriott property in the Innisfree Hotels portfolio, and Ent and his team are partial to the brand.

“They have an outstanding reservation system, unparalleled customer loyalty program and a robust marketing strategy that spans the entire globe,” he says. “It gives us confidence knowing we will be offering a top-notch, quality product to our guests.”

Innisfree Hotels was recently ranked by Hotel Business, the top source for hotel industry information according to Harvey Research, as the 40th largest hotel owner and developer in the United States. 

“Our recent ranking at No. 40 is a direct result of our team’s dedication to a sustainable beach-oriented development strategy, our partners and our commitment to providing fun, memorable experiences to our guests,” Ent says.

The hotel is slated to open in the spring of 2021. 

ABOUT INNISFREE HOTELS

For more than three decades, Innisfree Hotels has expertly managed, marketed and developed dozens of hotels in partnership with many of the world’s most recognized hotel brands. Today, the company owns or operates over 2,500 hotel rooms, with approximately 1,573 employees. Innisfree is the largest beachfront hotel owner-operator on the Gulf Coast.

 

Innisfree is a triple bottom line company, measuring success not only in profits but also through its impact on people and the planet. To these ends, Innisfree strives to promote a culture of responsibility and service to humanity. A value-driven corporate culture enables the company to have a deeper understanding of the needs of its guests, partners, and clients, thus delivering service that is synonymous with creating fun and memorable experiences. To read more about Innisfree Hotels, visit www.innisfreehotels.com.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Marks Grand Opening in Sarasota

SARASOTA, FLA. – December 12, 2018 – Soaring 19 stories high, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota – the only Hilton hotel in the downtown area – today opens its doors to welcome business and leisure travelers from all over the world.

Located at 202 N. Tamiami Trail in beautiful Downtown Sarasota, this all-suites hotel delivers world-class paintings, sculptures and water features within its stunningly unique architecture. Rich, locally-inspired details can be experienced throughout every level, including the 8th-floor sky lobby, featuring a farm-to-table restaurant and pool deck with breathtaking views of the city.  

The Embassy Suites by Hilton features the following amenities …

  • Complimentary Made-To-Order Breakfast
  • Complimentary Drinks and Snacks Nightly at the Evening Reception
  • Outdoor Pool Located on 8th Floor Atrium for Unobstructed City Views
  • Crescent-Shaped Pool Level Bar
  • Fitness Center Connected to Pool with Waterfront Views
  • 24-Hour PC and Mac Business Center
  • Gift/Sundry Shop
  • 185-Seat Full-Service Restaurant with Waterfront Views
  • Nearly 4,000 Sq. Ft. of 9th Floor Meeting Space with a View
  • Covered Garage Parking
  • Shuttle Service to Sarasota Airport, Siesta Key Beach, St. Armands Circle
  • Convenient Location Minutes From Interstates 41, 70 and 75
  • Within Walking Distance of Downtown Main Street, The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Theaters, Restaurants

“The Sarasota market fits well with Innisfree’s approach to providing ‘fun, memorable experiences’ through exceptional guest service in locations at the heart of first-class amenities and attractions,” said Ted Ent, President and CEO of Innisfree Hotels. “This all-suites hotel offers unmatched accommodations, complemented by thoughtful meeting spaces for both conferences and milestone events.”

The first hotel in the Hilton family of brands to open in the popular destination, Ent says guests and locals alike will love dining in the locally inspired restaurant, with its world-class menu and unsurpassed, ‘in the round’ sky bar experience.

Innisfree Hotels will manage the Embassy Suites Sarasota hotel, developed and owned by Jim Bridges, CEO of JEBCO Ventures, Inc. A successful developer of real estate for more than 40 years, his experience spans a variety of project types including high-rise residential, luxury hotels, mixed-use development, freestanding retail, neighborhood retail centers, luxury residences and apartment buildings.

For more information about the Embassy Suites Sarasota, please visit embassysuitessarasota.com.

Jason Nicholson Honored at Visit Pensacola Luncheon

On October 24th, 2018, Jason Nicholson, our Vice President of Operations, was honored as a speaker at the Annual Visit Pensacola Luncheon. Jason, the Chairman of the Visit Pensacola Board, tapped his gavel one last time.

The event was wall-to-wall with big names in both hospitality and tourism in the Pensacola area, including many from the Innisfree Hotels camp.

“I want to thank my Innisfree team,” says Jason. “I have had the privilege of working alongside some amazing hospitality professionals for the past 23 years.”

According to Jason, working at Innisfree Hotels empowers him to make a difference in the local community through tourism.

“I want to thank Julian MacQueen and his wife Kim who, quite frankly, grant us the time at Innisfree to do things that are impactful to our community and to make our quality of life better so we can share that quality of life with others,” he says. “And if we benefit from that through profits, that’s a good thing, too. And then further if we can then turn those profits into helping grow the community, we can build better communities.”

Jason held similar sentiments toward the Visit Pensacola team.

“I want to thank the staff at Visit Pensacola,” he says. “How you carry so many projects and initiatives to their finality with great success and class. How you’re all places at all times, but still in your office. Thank you. It really means a lot for the work that you all have done and the professionalism you have shared with me.”

Jason was awarded a golden gavel plaque to commemorate his time as Chairman. An avid aviator, he also received an aeronautical chart of Pensacola from the President of Visit Pensacola, Steve Hayes.

Robert Overton, the former Vice-Chairman, will be taking over as Chairman of the Visit Pensacola Board.

Anthony Eman: New GM At Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach

We are excited to announce that Anthony Eman, assistant manager at the Holiday Inn Resort in Fort Walton Beach, has been awarded the position of general manager at the very same hotel.

Eman, who has been with Innisfree Hotels since 2006, admits to some level of surprise.

“I never thought I would be a manager,” he says. “Let alone a general manager. When I first started in the business, I was in college trying to be a teacher. Now, I am a general manager.”

But Anthony certainly didn’t start out in management. He had to work his way to the top. Tackling jobs anywhere from a room service attendant to head sushi chef, Anthony has truly done it all in the hospitality arena. As it turns out, he had some help along the way.

“Terry Branch is a great mentor,” he says. “He knew I had a food and beverage background, so he focused on teaching me other things to help develop me and pushed me every day.”

And the Innisfree pool of mentors is vast.

“Gina and Sherri were also great teachers,” he says. “They made sure to push me every step of the way to make sure I consistently tried to do whatever I was doing better.”

As a general manager, Anthony hopes that he can return the favor.

“I’m excited to pass along all the great things my mentors have taught me,” says Anthony. “I am truly blessed and thankful for the opportunities that Innisfree has provided for me. I hope to continue the path and keep growing with the company.”

Congratulations to Anthony on his well-deserved promotion!

Terry Branch and Jeremy Skinner: Innisfree’s Newest Directors of Operations

It is with great pleasure and excitement that we are able to announce that Jeremy Skinner and Terry Branch will be joining the corporate team in Gulf Breeze as our newest Directors of Operations.

Jeremy, who helped open the Hilton Garden Inn Fort Walton Beach as the General Manager, remarked on the moment he found out about the promotion.

“I was excited,” he says. “Jason and I have been talking about the potential opportunity for some time, and I was very happy that it worked out.”

And according to Jeremy, you don’t have to dig too far into the Innisfree culture before finding some hints toward the promotion.

“Lots of companies preach promoting from within, but you see Innisfree do it every day,” says Jeremy. “#1 on the ten commandments is to start with trust. I have trust that Innisfree sees the hard work people put in, and it pays off in the end.”

Not to be outdone by his neighbor, Terry is ready to bring the tools that made him successful at the Holiday Inn Resort to the corporate team.

“I’m excited to work with the great teams at each property,” he says. “I’m going to keep developing great teams to achieve great results.”

Terry finds himself agreeing with Jeremy when it comes to the Innisfree culture.

“Innisfree is a company with a great culture,” he says. “But they don’t just talk about. In this case, actions speak louder than words.”

Innisfree Hotels Marks Major Milestone On Fourth Panama City Beach Property

Gulf Breeze, FL — On September 19, 2018, Innisfree Hotels celebrated the “topping out” of the new Springhill Suites in Panama City Beach, Florida. The Gulf Breeze-based company marks this as its fourth property in the Panama City Beach area, including the brand new Hampton Inn & Suites, which was finished in 2017.

“There is a lot of planning, coordination and good old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears that go into building a large project,” says Kevin Warwick, one of Innisfree Hotels’ project managers who has been working closely with the Springhill Suites. “‘Topping out’ is identified as the completion of the final and, most often, the ‘top’ components of the structure. It is a celebration that is ardently hosted by building owners and general contractors to express their appreciation for the workers and their efforts.”

The event kicked off with tours of the property followed by opening ceremonies, including speeches from a number of Innisfree Hotels executives and their building partners, Robins & Morton.

“This is an amazing accomplishment for Robins & Morton,” says Julian MacQueen, Chairman and Founder of Innisfree Hotels. “We take great pride in being able to come back into the community and hire great people to do the same thing you did down at the Hampton Inn & Suites.”

MacQueen has been drawn to the Panama City Beach area since his formative years.

“When Julian MacQueen came to the Gulf Coast for the first time as a teenager, he was struck by its beauty and mesmerizing emerald waters,” says Katja Chatfield, General Manager of the Springhill Suites. “Here we are celebrating yet another topping out of an Innisfree property in Panama City Beach. With Innisfree Hotels’ rapid growth and several hotels in the pipeline, we look forward to the next topping out ceremony.”

The Springhill Suites will feature 200 suites with 15 guest accessible floors, including an impressive list of amenities.

  • all-suite smart rooms and balconies
  • beachfront lazy river pool
  • mobile check-in
  • free breakfast
  • food and bar service
  • free wi-fi
  • in-suite work spaces
  • fitness center
  • garage parking
  • dune walkover with direct beach access

The Springhill Suites is scheduled to start welcoming guests in Spring 2019. For more information, visit the Springhill Suites website at https://springhillsuitespanamacitybeach.com/.

The Tides Hotel Is On The Rise For Its Award-Winning Design

Selected as the recipient of this year’s 2018 Best Western Premier Champion Design Award, The Best Western Premier Tides Hotel in Orange Beach is beaming with excitement. Their sophisticated one-of-a-kind design features a stunning array of sea-inspired shades with added accents of natural driftwood and spectacular showers of sunlight. Rich Chism, Innisfree Hotels’ Director of Development noted, “I’m very proud of the team that worked on this project: Innisfree Development and Operations, Spencer Maxwell Partington Architects, ACCD Interior Design, WAS Landscape/Pool Design and Choctaw Engineering. We are thrilled to be recognized for this hotel’s design, which helps create fun, memorable experiences for our guests!”

Guests in search of a more personalized piece of paradise will revel in this intimate 86-room property located along the sparkling shores of Alabama’s most famous beach. Home to sweeping oceanfront views, unparalleled amenities and an awe-inspiring contemporary style, The Best Western Premier Tides Hotel welcomes guests with more than just its southern hospitality.

At The Best Western Premier Tides Hotel in Orange Beach, guests will unearth the ultimate fusion of chic style and tropical vibes as they experience an oasis of unrivaled relaxation. Their impressive list of amenities includes everything from a beachfront pool & hot tub to free breakfast, a grab & go deli, free ‘rocket-fast’ WiFi, on-site activities for adults & children, free beach cruiser bikes, beach chair-rentals, family suites, a poolside bar and so much more.

To learn more about the Best Western Premier Tides Hotel, visit the website at https://tideshotelorangebeach.com/.

Experience the New Holiday Inn Express Orange Beach

Newly renovated beachfront hotel ready to delight guests

ORANGE BEACH, ALA. — The Holiday Inn Express on the Gulf in Orange Beach, Alabama has completed a total renovation, just in time for the summer season.

The hotel enjoyed a total makeover, from the exterior paint to the rooms, lobby, meeting spaces and all public areas.

“The entire color scheme is happy and on trend,” says Jasmine Hunt, General Manager. “Everything both inside and out has changed, and our amazing staff is excited to provide guests a bright, clean property with better flow and less hassle.”

Changes to the Holiday Inn Express Orange Beach include …

  • New paint and modern furnishings
  • Updated Breakfast Bar with overflow seating
  • Fun furniture and bigger TVs in new, social lobby
  • Larger gift shop with more items for sale
  • Refreshed meeting spaces for groups
  • Sturdy and attractive balcony furniture

The hotel still has plans to update the parking lot, landscaping and elevators, as well as new furniture on the pool deck.

“These continued improvements further solidify our commitment to the highest level of quality and service along Florida’s Gulf Coast,” says president and CEO of Innisfree Hotels Ted Ent.

ABOUT INNISFREE HOTELS

For more than three decades, Innisfree Hotels has expertly managed and developed dozens of hotels in partnership with many of the world’s most recognized hotel brands. Today, the company owns or manages 2,935 hotel rooms, with approximately 2,000 employees. Innisfree is the largest beachfront hotel owner-operator on the Gulf Coast, with 14 Gulf front properties totaling 2,128 rooms.

Innisfree is a triple bottom line company, measuring success not only in profits, but also through its impact on people and the planet. To these ends, Innisfree strives to promote a culture of responsibility and service to humanity. A value-driven corporate culture enables the company to have a deeper understanding of the needs of its guests, partners, and clients, thus delivering service that is synonymous with creating fun and memorable experiences.

Everything a Savvy Hotel GM Should Know About Website Maintenance

Savvy hotel GMs manage a lot of stuff — vast influxes of vacationing families, cleaning rooms, and ensuring those morning eggs are cooked just right. The last thing you need is something else to take care of!

When it comes to your hotel website, we all know it would be easier to “set-it-and-forget-it” and skip the monthly fee marketing agencies charge for website maintenance contracts. Here’s why you, savvy GM, should pay an agency to take care of your hotel website.

Set and forget worked in 2007. Back then, in the dark ages, websites didn’t require very much attention. Businesses hired a developer who wrote the code, added the content and launched the site. If you needed an update, you paid your developer to execute it, and you only made changes when something in your business changed.

Website maintenance wasn’t a thing. People weren’t worried about keeping their websites secure or having one second load times.

WordPress Rules!

A lot has changed. Most importantly, you no longer need to know how to code to build a website. The rise of the Content Management System (CMS) software like WordPressSquarespace, and Wix have enabled the masses to create websites and update content without knowing how to code. Your grandpa can now build a website and publish his ideas for everyone to read (yes, there are pros and cons to this).

Innisfree Hotels‘ In-house marketing agency uses WordPress for our hotel websites. WordPress is an online, open-source website creation tool. Open-source means that anyone can use or modify the WordPress software and everyone can use it for free. WordPress is the most used CMS program today and powers 29% of the websites on the Internet, and 500+ new WordPress sites are launched daily. The White House, CNN, Spotify, Microsoft, and The Rolling Stones all use websites powered by WordPress.

Some other hotel marketing agencies use their own proprietary CMS when they build websites for their hotel marketing clients. This isn’t optimal. If you fire your agency, you’ll have to create a new site from scratch. With a platform like WordPress, you own website, not your agency.

How WordPress Works

WordPress websites have three parts. First is the core, made up of the hundreds of files that support the essential functions of every WordPress install.

Second are the plugins. These are pieces of software that can be added to a WordPress website to extend functionality. There Are 48,500+ WordPress plugins with more being built by programmers every day.

Our team built a custom plugin for our hotel websites that integrate our franchise booking engines and date pickers. We also use a plugin called Gravity Forms that enables users interested in booking a wedding to enter information such as name, date, and email address into a form that is auto-forwarded to our sales teams.

The final part of a WordPress website is the theme. The theme supports the front-end design, including layout, font, colors, and so on. There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes that can be freely downloaded or purchased from developers.

Most larger businesses hire a developer to build them a custom WordPress theme. Our in-house agency built a custom theme we call ‘Beachfront Hotel’ and all of our hotels use it. We make regular updates to our theme and rebuild it completely about every three years. Using the same theme for all our hotel properties enables us to build websites quickly and economically.

WordPress websites require an ongoing maintenance program. Here is an outline of what our agency does to keep our websites happy and healthy.

Back-Ups

If something goes wrong, and it inevitably does, websites can become slightly messed up, irreparably broken, or gone. We back up our websites monthly, so if the worst happens, we can restore our sites from the most recent backup.

Updates

Our in-house marketing agency also updates our WordPress themes and plugins every month. Because WordPress is open-source, anyone can update the core code anytime. New features are continually added, bugs are fixed, and security holes are plugged. When updates occur, the component parts, such as themes and plugins on individual websites, need to be updated as well, or your website functionality may break or become vulnerable to evil-doers.

Load Speed

Another critical component of website maintenance is monitoring and optimizing load speed. Load speed is so crucial that monthly speed tests are essential. Consumer expectations regarding website speed are escalating. Consumers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of these will abandon their search if a website takes more than three seconds to load.

HTTP Requests

When a user visits a web page from a web browser (like Chrome), a ping is sent to the website host asking the server to send over the website content files. This is called Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and browsers must submit an HTTP request for every file on your site.

Therefore, the more files we have on a site, the more HTTP requests our browser must make. The more requests there are, the slower the site will load. Large files slow things down even more, and high definition images and videos are the worst culprits. Hotels marketers love high definition images and videos!

Our marketing team regularly analyzes how many HTTP requests our websites must make to load, and sometimes we need to make hard decisions about what content is essential. For example, recently we learned that our website weather widget was slowing our sites down but decided it was worth keeping.

Databases

WordPress is a database-driven CMS system, meaning that all of the content on our site (such as pages, blog posts, and pictures) is stored in databases. Over time, databases become bloated with junk, including old pictures and deleted posts that slow down our websites. We have a protocol for regular database cleanups.

Redirects

Our in-house agency also checks our websites for 404 errors every week. A 404 is URL indexed on search engines that no longer exists. For instance, when we delete a seasonal landing page, sometimes that link continues to appear in search results. Google penalizes websites with 404 errors.

The team fixes 404 errors by implementing a 301 redirect which points the dead URL to another page on the site.

Broken Links

We also audit and fix broken links on our websites monthly.

Content

Our marketing team regularly reviews website content with our property GMs to ensure it is accurate and up to date.

Phew… that’s a lot, huh? One less thing for you, savvy GM, to worry about.