041 | Direct Sales, Customer Satisfaction and Employee Retention with Michael Pleninger


Mike is co-Founder and President of Newport Hospitality Group (NHG) – a nationally recognized hotel management company with operations across the eastern United States. Since Mike and long time family friend Bill Carey founded NHG in 1990, they have grown their portfolio to 34 properties under management in 5 states.

Last year, Hotel Business ranked NHG #66 in their Top 100 Management Companies of 2014 report.

Mike’s formula of comprehensive reviews, attention to basics, innovative marketing and insistence on quality has produced superior returns for NHG’s clients, as well as gaining recognition and awards from franchisors.

Newport Hospitality Group is the culmination of Mike’s 30 plus years of success in all phases of hotel management. His experience is reflected in the breadth and comprehensiveness of NHG’s management package.

Mike’s background includes ten years as Senior VP and part owner of Victor Management Company of Newport News, VA. He directed all development, operations and finance activities, building the company’s portfolio to 23 hotels.

Mike earned his stripes at Sonesta International where, over ten years, he served in several operational capacities, including Corporate Food and Beverage Staff Specialist, General Manager of Hotel Sonesta, Winnipeg, and as Washington Regional Manager for the company’s motor hotel division. Other experience includes two years with Omni Hotels (then called Dunfey Hotels), four years with Registry Hotels, and two years with Holiday Inns, where he supervised development and operational activities of 130 franchised Holiday Inns.

Mike is a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, and was a 2002 inductee into the school’s Wall of Fame. Mike is currently an active member of the the American Hotel and Motel Association, the Williamsburg, VA Hotel and Motel Association, and serves as a trustee of the Cornell Hotel School Alumni Association.

In This Episode, Mike Reveals:

  • NHG’s strategy for direct sales, their commitment to allocating resources at every property they manage to grow local corporate business, and some impressive stats as to how this effort pays off.
  • How they approach training, and not just role-specific training, but customer-focussed training to ensure every employee has the skills, and comfort level, they need to effectively communicate with their guests.
  • Strategies for higher employee retention, including several ways they have built a culture that fosters connection, support, and success.
  • How they approach online reviews, including relentlessly addressing all reviews, both positive and negative, and how they incentivize their GMs to take this responsibility seriously.
  • Several issues he sees are affecting hoteliers these days

Resources & Links

  • WaveReview – Online reputation management software that builds reviews and customer loyalty.

Mike Pleninger

Newport Hospitality Group

Newport Hospitality Group, Inc.
4290 New Town Avenue
Williamsburg, VA 23188
Phone: 1+ 800.644.1032

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