DALLAS—G6 Hospitality has a busy year ahead. “There’s so much happening at G6 it’s hard to decide where to start,” said Rob Palleschi, after just under one year at the helm of the hotel company. Uncertainty happens to be a great place to start for the CEO, however, even with 30 years of full-service hotel management experience bolstering his career.
G6, known for its economy Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands, was a new venture for Palleschi. With full-service lodging spread across operations, Palleschi said the economy segment gives him more of a clear focus, something that’s pivotal now more than ever.
“I had a lot to learn about the economy segment, but at the end of the day, it’s still all about the basics: taking care of our team members, our guests and our franchise partners,” he said.
It didn’t take long for him to catch on, as G6 enters the new year with a strong pipeline in the segment—around 179 projects to be exact, about half of which are new-construction.
These properties mark the new prototype G6 Hospitality announced at this year’s Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), a formula that aims to make hotel conversions easier and design more versatile. The model keeps its franchisees in mind by providing more options, which is important given G6 recently passed its 1,000th franchise location milestone.
“This flexible, kit of parts can be used for a Motel 6, a Studio 6 or a dual-brand hotel. It’s so flexible that an owner can go from a single-brand to a dual-brand property, or can mix up the proportion of Motel 6 and Studio 6 rooms very easily if market conditions warrant,” Palleschi explained.
All rooms will be the same size, he said, with just the room components differing between Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties. There are 28 new-construction, dual-brand projects in the works, with Motel 6/Studio 6 Austin South-Airport in Texas as the first purpose-built dual-brand for the company.
“One of the largest differences is that with full-service, your focus is split on food and beverage, banquets, etc., but we don’t have that distraction in economy. Our business model is focused on guestrooms. That simplicity allows us to really focus on that experience for our customers,” Palleschi noted.
G6 is also keeping updates to existing hotels in mind, with $100 million planned for capital improvements this year. Scheduled for renovations are the original Motel 6 location in Santa Barbara, CA; the Anaheim, CA location; properties in San Diego and Jackson Hole, WY, as well as Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville, FL; and Las Vegas strip hotels, among others.
“It’s been a busy, but fun, first year,” Palleschi said. “The business is doing incredibly well, and we’re continuing to lead the economy segment. One of the first priorities we tackled was a restructuring of the business to separate our owned and managed real estate operations from our brand/franchise operations. Brand reputation and quality are top priorities for us, and we’re providing more brand resources and field support for both business lines.”
Although the segment was a new endeavor for Palleschi, given its success and stability, he plans to stay in the space for some time, recognizing this as an edge for G6 rather than a restriction.
“Motel 6 created the economy lodging segment back in 1968, and we’re still very happy operating in that space. We aren’t interested in creating five versions of the same brand. We are laser-focused on what we deliver and how we deliver it, and that sets us apart and makes us a good investment. We’re always evolving to improve on that delivery and provide a better experience for our customers, our team members and our owners,” he said.
The company still faces challenges, like finding and retaining talent with low unemployment numbers, but G6 is taking steps to not only seek but hold on to industry professionals.
“We’re focused on improving our training programs, making them more engaging and user-friendly, and providing more field support to our GMs on both the owned and franchised sides to ensure they have consistent brand touchpoints,” Palleschi said.
The company has taken steps to recruit military veterans through its “Operation Next Step” program as well as making use of the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Program.
Palleschi mentioned industry efforts in expanding scholarship programs as well, and encourages individual hoteliers to provide training, apprenticeships and other programs to help foster and build long-term hospitality careers for young workers.
Long-term is key for Palleschi, who prides his career not only on professional work experience, but his time with others in the industry.
Palleschi noted his past 30 years have taught him the value in relationships—with customers, operators and franchise partners—in helping to gain feedback, build trust and guide business.
“We need to celebrate our everyday successes and don’t let them get lost,” the CEO said. “We do this at G6 as a team and as a company. We should be grateful and celebrate this business. We live in turbulent times, but we have an opportunity every day to be grateful, share a smile, take care of each other and our guests. That positive force can create real, meaningful change for each other. That’s what gets me up in the morning.” HB