THLA is delighted to welcome Matthew Newton to the role of THLA’s Chairman of the Board for 2018.
Matthew is a third-generation hotelier and has served on the THLA board since 2004.
As an instrumental part of THLA’s board of directors, we are excited and proud to welcome Matthew as our Chairman of the Board.
Meet Matthew. An Officer, and a Gentleman…
How did you get your start in hospitality?
My introduction to hospitality was rooted in my family’s history in the industry. My grandparents entered the hospitality industry in the 1940’s building small motels throughout Arkansas. My father and uncle continued in their footsteps building and managing hotels throughout Arkansas and Texas.
After receiving my MBA from the University of Texas at Austin I went to work for Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) where I provided business consulting services to a wide variety of companies. I worked there for only a few years before deciding to join my father and uncle to form Magnolia Lodging and have never looked back, becoming a third generation hotelier.
How was your transition from Andersen Consulting (currently Accenture) to Magnolia Lodging?
The shift from Andersen Consulting to Magnolia Lodging was quite the culture change. Andersen Consulting, being a large corporation greatly differs from Magnolia Lodging, a small family-owned company. Although the type of work I was doing was very different, I strongly believe that my experience at Andersen Consulting has helped with the growth of Magnolia Lodging.
What is your philosophy on customer service?
Our goal is to offer the best customer service in the industry and be as guest-focused as possible as a company. I believe that going the extra mile for your guests is worth the cost. We invest in our employees and in return we have high guest service satisfaction scores. We constantly monitor feedback channels to gauge how we are doing.
How would you describe your management style and means for achieving results?
I believe in trying to attract the best people and give them the freedom to pursue success. Being a small company allows us to be flexible to meet challenges. We give our managers the power to do their jobs and then hold them accountable.
Since the formation of Magnolia Lodging, what are you most proud of accomplishing?
I am extremely proud of forming our current team. I can honestly say that I think our team right now is the best that we have ever had. We believe in investing in our employees and we are fortunate to attract such strong talent.
What in the lodging industry keeps you up most at night?
New supply. The hotel industry in Texas is growing, which is great, but with a growing industry comes more competition making it increasingly difficult to achieve great returns. Also, I worry about new regulations that increase costs and make our jobs less fun.
You’ve been an active member of our board for many years. What have you enjoyed most about working with THLA?
I take pride in the many accomplishments that the board has achieved during my tenure. It is a pleasure to work with so many other hoteliers, the great THLA team, and my fellow board members.
Now that you are the THLA Chairman, what do you hope most to accomplish in the coming year?
THLA may be the largest state hotel association in the U.S., but we have a lot of room to grow. My primary focus is growth. I will strive to increase the membership rate to as close to 100% of hotels as possible. The more people involved the more we can accomplish together.
What projects or new properties in your pipeline are you particularly excited about?
We are excited and looking forward to the reopening of the Lancaster Hotel in downtown Houston this summer. We have put in a lot of hard work since taking heavy damage from Harvey last August. We are also opening a Home2 Suites by Hilton in the west Legacy area of Plano, Texas.
Tell us about your family.
My wonderful wife, Kim, and I have been married for 23 years. We have 4 kids; John (18), Catherine (16), Luke (13), and Hannah (11) who are very active in sports. Our oldest, John, is a freshman playing football at Macalester University in Minnesota. Our 3 youngest are still at home and keep us very busy going to different games and practices.