Backpacking Excursion Helped Blaze the Trail for Merger of Prism, Aimbridge Hospitality

Backpacking Excursion Helped Blaze the Trail for Merger of Prism, Aimbridge Hospitality

In progress of Aimbridge Hospitality’s acquisition of Prism Hotels & Resorts, the CEOs of equally


In progress of Aimbridge Hospitality’s acquisition of Prism Hotels & Resorts, the CEOs of equally providers went backpacking for 3 days in close proximity to the Pecos River in New Mexico.

Steve Van, president and CEO of Prism, is an avid backpacker, even though this journey was Aimbridge President and CEO Mike Deitemeyer’s initially. The two had been 1000’s of feet over sea amount carrying 40 to 45 kilos of equipment with no mobile signal and an crisis beacon. The water they drank they located along the way and purified.

“The initial working day was brutal,” Deitemeyer mentioned. “We flew that morning, went straight to 9,400 feet and went hiking, but we had a excellent time and bonded in progress of the offer, just the two of us in the middle of nowhere.”

The hike was intended to be rated uncomplicated to moderate, but Van stated he read the papers incorrect, sending them on a “strenuous” path.

“[Mike] stated, ‘I thought you stated this was straightforward, and I explained, ‘I believed it was, far too,’” Van explained. “The past mile and a 50 %, we’re going up the facet of the mountain. We finally get to the campsite, we just collapsed. But it was a terrific bonding practical experience, so we’re likely to test it once again, but I’m heading to read the guide far more cautiously.”

Inspite of the grueling nature of their hike, the two ended up capable to love the views and their time jointly.

“Getting out there, I mean there’s no superior way to get to know a particular person but to sit in a camp for this attractive sight,” Van mentioned.


About eight a long time in the past, Van stated his staff determined to do the “good to excellent point,” so they browse “Good to Great: Why Some Businesses Make the Leap … and Some others Do not.” Their target was to make Prism a lasting, generational organization, and the reserve reported they would have to be the very best at anything.

The Prism team decided that what they really cared about is people, and that turned into staying the finest at producing resort homeowners satisfied, regarded as Prism’s “most glad owners” technique, he claimed. That strategy has worked perfectly around the years, particularly in recent instances when the company doubled its portfolio given that the start of the pandemic.

Resort owners’ money was down 90% at the begin of the pandemic, he said. Alternatively of making cuts, Prism held on to its group but questioned house owners if they would think about spending Prism a third of its budgeted charge. All of Prism’s proprietors agreed to it.

“I’ve under no circumstances listened to of that prior to, but they did it mainly because we’d used many years supplying them what they wished, listened to them,” he claimed. “It matches our character on generating persons happy. The house owners are so essential. If your house owners are happy, they are not going to terminate your management deal, and, more importantly, they’re heading to give you the new lodges like that.”

The No. 1 goal by way of the integration will be to manage Prism’s current client interactions, Van mentioned. As these develop, that signifies far more resorts will come into Aimbridge’s fold.

When the information of the offer came out, a lot of of Prism’s resort homeowners claimed they hoped nothing would modify, he said. The company’s response was that very little would adjust, but the deal did indicate Prism would have a lot more methods to supply its hotels simply because of Aimbridge. Prism’s owners are observing the added benefits now, specifically charge price savings thanks to Aimbridge’s scale.

“It appears like every single working day, we find out one thing else, we have a useful resource we can use,” he stated. “It doesn’t cost our owners yet another nickel, and it’s easier for us to use.”

Aimbridge’s density in sure marketplaces is a different additionally for entrepreneurs, Van reported. There are moments when some Aimbridge-managed lodges are gradual though others it operates in the same location are packed. That makes an opportunity for the organization to shift employees around to fill labor desires when other attributes are gradual.

“Instead of remaining, ‘Well, we really do not have ample get the job done for you,’ it’s ‘Why don’t you go down the highway three miles and get the job done there and get paid out?’” he stated. “When we have to have extra men and women, we get them from other proprietors. That’s just an additional gain for house owners since of the dimensions.”


Prior to the acquisition, Prism viewed as Aimbridge “the enemy” and they experienced demonized the business as remaining also significant, Van reported, laughing. Having built Prism and its crew, he explained it was excellent to obtain out how very similar Aimbridge’s workforce was.

“They are just like us over right here,” he stated. “They are just bigger.”

In their time jointly on the hike, Deitemeyer stated he and Van obtained to see how they share related values.

“We equally have an appreciation for the folks on our group, and a strong focus on lifestyle as a differentiator for associates and proprietors,” he reported. “Steve has a contagious strength, and I knew he would incorporate exhilaration to the groups with a merger.”

There’s so considerably that Aimbridge can master from Prism, he said, contacting out the “most happy owner” strategy as a effective option to increase price. Prism Lender Providers is best in course, he added.

“Our teams are presently connected and collaborating,” he reported. “When we formally welcomed the Prism workforce to our headquarters at the commencing of the 12 months, it was crystal clear from the response from all that this was a excellent strategy.”

Obviously, numerous of Prism’s group customers were anxious about the deal and what it would suggest for them, Van explained. Lots of did not want their organization to modify for the reason that they liked the surroundings they had established by themselves.

That apprehension has since improved. The acquisition has opened up a “universe for opportunities” past Prism’s portfolio of accommodations, he claimed. A number of Prism group customers have moved to distinct Aimbridge departments simply because there was additional home for them to mature.

Originally, the plan was for the incoming Prism team to have its have flooring at Aimbridge’s corporate headquarters, but that has given that altered.

“We’re scattered out, which is superior since you integrate speedier,” he mentioned.

All round, the changeover has been good, Van mentioned. His best meeting was when Scott MacMillan, Aimbridge’s director of studying and improvement, led Prism’s corporate employees via an introduction to Aimbridge. Seeking all around, Van noticed how content his team associates have been studying about the alternatives they would have with the new enterprise.

“Before I signed the letter of intent, I spent a large amount of time asking yourself if this is the correct matter for me to do,” he reported. “I went, ‘Cool, it was the appropriate matter to do for our people.”


As a scholar at the College of Texas at Austin in 1972, Van was named one particular of the university’s excellent students. Calling it a “pretty significant deal,” Van mentioned he been given the award — a plaque with his identify on it — at halftime all through a college soccer video game and later attended a occasion with the board of regents.

Around 20 years afterwards, he was packing up some merchandise and found the plaque.

“I took it, and I threw it in the trash, because I didn’t personal that complete residing in the previous thing,” he claimed. “That’s gone, that is the previous.”

Acquiring witnessed far too many people today cling to their letterman jackets from superior college, Van said he’s wanting forward, not again.

Which is why the moment Prism totally integrates with Aimbridge, he’s great with the likelihood that Prism will not exist on its own like Evolution Hospitality, the life style management business Aimbridge obtained in 2015.

“The purpose I didn’t name the business Steve Van Lodge Administration — I’m not an ego dude,” he stated.

Prism has served its objective, Van mentioned. The business offered people today with good jobs, put a large amount of youngsters as a result of school and produced both equally employees and entrepreneurs happy, he said, including that the enterprise had the maximum staff pleasure among the accommodations in The usa.

When seeking at Aimbridge’s verticals, Van explained he could not find a spot for Prism to totally stand on its individual due to the fact it does a minor bit of anything. Prism Financial institution Solutions will keep on to be its possess entity, but all the resort administration aspects it handled just before healthy into what Aimbridge does.

When new contracts come in, they should go to Aimbridge, not Prism, he stated.

“So, the Prism name finishes up dissolving into its Aimbridge offer, and Aimbridge is superior for it,” he claimed.

As for the legacy of the enterprise he founded in 1983, Van concentrated on his team. When he walks by them in the place of work, he sees them smiling and excited for their new professions.

“I feel the only matter I definitely care about is that all these people have better professions and possibilities,” he explained. “I assume that is taking place. We have bought a good group, so that to me is the legacy.”

Editor’s observe: Aimbridge Hospitality compensated for meals and accommodations at The Dallas Statler, Curio Selection by Hilton, to let for a series of interviews at the company’s headquarters. Finish editorial regulate was at the discretion of the Resort News Now editorial crew Aimbridge experienced no impact on the coverage provided.

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