034 | Thank, Appreciate and Connect with Your Associates with Walter Isenberg


Walter Isenberg is Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of Sage Hospitality, one of the top hotel investment, management and development companies in the United States for more than 30 years. Based in Denver, Sage Hospitality owns and operates over 75 hotels and 10 restaurants in 23 states, from urban full-service hotels to smaller select-service suburban properties. Isenberg directs all company operations, including property management, development and finance.

Last year, Hotel Business ranked Sage Hospitality #17 in their Top 100 Management Companies of 2014 report.

Isenberg co-founded Sage Hospitality in 1984 with partner Zachary Neumeyer. The company’s history in hospitality includes ground-up development, historic-adaptive re-use, acquisitions and third-party management. Sage hotels include well known brands such as JW Marriott, Renaissance, Westin and Hilton, as well as several independent hotels. In 2006, Sage formed the Sage Restaurant Group, which operates unique high-volume restaurants inside its urban hotels.

Sage Hospitality has been consistently recognized for its significant commitment to corporate citizenship. The company was the first recipient of Marriott International’s “Spirit to Serve Award,” which is given annually to a franchise partner that lives the vision to be an outstanding corporate citizen. Sage Hospitality has also been an industry leader in implementing green operating practices, committed to developing Gold and Silver LEED certified hotels as well as making it a company-wide mission to make each of its hotels as environmentally friendly as possible. Sage Hospitality has also been recognized for its superior customer service, receiving Excellence in Service awards at many of its hotels. Sage’s development group has won numerous awards for excellence in the development of hotels and has been nationally recognized as a leader in historic preservation.

A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Isenberg is a member of the American Hotel Lodging Association Government Affairs committee as well as Marriott International and Starwood Owner Advisory Boards. Isenberg was recently inducted into Denver & Colorado’s Tourism Hall of Fame, which is the highest award given by Denver’s travel industry. Active in the community, he currently serves on the boards of Visit Denver, The Downtown Denver Partnership, The Children’s Hospital Foundation, Colorado Concern and the Metropolitan State University of Denver Board of Trustees.

In This Episode, Walter Reveals:

  • How an early introduction to the hotel industry, and an amazing mentor, guided him to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration
  • How his experience in operations after Cornell prepared him for a partnership with Zachary Neumeyer to co-found Sage Hospitality in 1984
  • How the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980’s led to unbelievably rapid growth for Sage in their early years
  • Why having 80 hotels under management was not a good, long-term strategy
  • Why Sage chose to enter the equity side of the business in 1990
  • The game changing, 9-figure deal with Marriott in 1994 where they purchased 30 Fairfield Inns with the help of a private equity fund

Resources & Links

Walter Isenberg

Sage Hospitality

1575 Welton Street, Suite 300
Denver, Colorado 80202
Phone: 303-595-7200

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