Paul Darrow is the founder and president of PHD Financial – a boutique investment banking firm specializing in hospitality finance, debt restructure, consulting services, funding acquisition and financial advisory. He’s also a former hotel owner with a strong understanding of hotel operations.
Paul began his career in the hotel/consulting/finance world back in 1983, and his early experiences took place in Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and St. Johns in the Virgin Islands. Paul has also been part of the debt restructure process since 2008, and he has found helping hoteliers to save their properties and/or be more profitable to be a very rewarding experience for him.
Paul’s transition occurred while he was working in an unrelated field. At the time, he owned a court reporting agency and supplied that personnel to governmental agencies and law firms. While vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, he met the owners of a hotel property and learned they wanted to retire. He admits he wasn’t enthusiastic about it at first, but eventually decided to purchase the property. They had about 20 buildings- all of which needed renovations. There was also a restaurant in it which was very popular. Paul decided to get a hotel restaurant management’s degree as well. He owned this for about 20 years and it provided him a very rich experience. It also lead him to meet a key individual from the finance world. All these elements allowed for an easy transition to go from operations to finance.
Paul says all hoteliers should make sure they do the following 3 things before going into business:
Find yourself a good accountant and lawyer and run your business. Not doing so is simply foolish! You can’t own a property for free. You borrowed money to get it and it’s the bank’s expectation that you will pay back what you borrowed. This is also important so that you have support in understanding the legalities stated in documentation. The text in these documents is not easily understood – it’s critical to have someone that can represent you and who can decode these things.
Keep in mind that banks can see your financial progress. They have a plan that can potentially leave you impotent if you don’t have the right things in place. I.e- a good lawyer and a good accountant, keeping a daily report of records, and great management. As the banks track your progress, they can detect how you are doing and if it comes down to foreclosure, there is no one who can defend you. This is how hoteliers lose their properties. Don’t wait until the last minute to take action! Stay on your game and be prepared.
Paul finds entrepreneurs to be amazing people. What separates them from the rest is they recover from failure quickly, and they are just as enthusiastic about the next thing, not looking back, but really moving forward to be successful. It is tremendous character!
As the economy started to stabilize- Paul learned that hoteliers needed to do a lot more than just straighten out their debt. They also started looking at those items mentioned earlier in the shownotes (see above “3 things before going into business”) and taking it seriously. Paul’s firm helps people get organized in these areas. Find out more about their services here: http://phdfinancialllc.com/services
Ginny Morrison of Evanston, Illinois, is a 33-year veteran of Spire Hospitality, a hotel management company with a portfolio that spans coast-to-coast. As vice president of sales and marketing, Morrison saw the coronavirus pandemic decimate the meetings business. More than a year later, she’s witnessing a comeback as small-meeting planners are actively booking events for the last half of 2021 and beyond. As public health agencies expand COVID-19 vaccination programs across the U.S. and states ease up on public-gathering restrictions designed to keep the virus at bay, the hotel industry is seeing small meetings begin a comeback. In Episode 317, Long Live Lodging covers the state of the small-meetings sector and how hotels can grab their share of the meetings business during and post-pandemic. This report is part of our ongoing coverage about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the hospitality industry.
The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference will be the industry’s first large event to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta event will be a hybrid format of in-person and virtual access, also an industry first. Lee Hunter, chairman of the conference, knows the level of expectation is high among other conference planners as well as industry professionals eager to network after more than a yearlong hiatus. Episode 316 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Hunter as he tells what it takes to re-launch the industry’s conference circuit amid the COVID-19 outbreak.