Two Roads Hospitality: Enabling unique travel experiences with a custom-built sourcing strategy

Two Roads Hospitality: Enabling unique travel experiences with a custom-built sourcing strategy

The hospitality market is saturated with hotels that often look and feel the same. However, amidst this, one hotel management company is cutting through the noise to offer unforgettable, custom-tailored getaways to its guests.

Whether it’s managing a sleek boutique hotel or a hazy, sun-drenched resort, Two Roads Hospitality aims to capture the true spirit of a place.

The Colorado-based hotel management company has a collection of 70 properties in its North American portfolio and it prides itself on embracing the unique nuances between each of these locations, and each of its guests.

Believing that no two trips should be the same, Two Roads Hospitality’s personalized approach is an integral part of the company’s DNA. However, when tasked with sourcing the products and services for such an entrepreneurial operation, this philosophy can prove challenging.

With a wealth of experience across an array of gaming casinos and hospitality companies, this responsibility has fallen into the capable hands of industry veteran Bryan Edwards, Vice President of Strategic Sourcing & Supply Chain.  

Personalized approach

“For me, probably the biggest draw to join Two Roads Hospitality was the challenge of building a sourcing strategy that embraces the unique needs of each property but still aggregates our national spend,” says Edwards. “On a daily basis, we aim to create meaningful financial results for the properties, improve services and product value, whether it's the food in our kitchens or the operational items needed for housekeeping. We see how can we can identify opportunities to add value to the overall operation, while embracing the unique needs of these individual properties.”

Launched in 2016 following a merger between Destination Hotels and Commune Hotels and Resorts, Two Roads Hospitality takes a unique approach when managing and operating its portfolio of properties for brands such as Alila Hotels & Resorts, Destination Hotels, Joie de Vivre Hotels, and Thompson Hotels. Whilst overseeing the day-to-day running of these hotel brands, the company champions the unique differences between each of its locations, properties and guests.

“Really, everything we do at Two Roads is built on this idea of true authenticity,” explains Edwards. “We have properties in highly unique markets that embrace everything about the part of the world that they're in. Whether it’s the design or aesthetic of a property, the ingredients that are incorporated into the food, the language and the approach from our team members. All of these things are designed to bring about a unique guest experience that embraces where we are in the world.”

Focusing on each unique property

Less reliant on traditional group purchasing organizations (GPOs), the company’s meticulous, custom-tailored approach also extends to its sourcing function. As such, Two Roads Hospitality has brought strategic-sourcing in-house with notable success. “When I talk to a property about their needs, my only focus is that specific property,” Edwards explains. “I want to know what's important to them, what they need to run their business, where their opportunities are, where their pain points are and how I can help resolve these issues. In that way, we personalize our strategic sourcing experience more than a traditional GPO does.

“GPO’s take a wide net approach to procurement whereby they throw a wide net out into the water and catch what they catch,” adds Edwards. “In this way, they’re not necessarily focused on what the specific needs of the property are. Meanwhile, at Two Roads Hospitality, we’re like a line fisherman. We have a very specific target and a very specific strategy to catch what we’re after. That's the key sourcing strategy here – how do we focus on the very specific needs of our business when we go to market?”

Sustaining supplier relationships

With the growing pressure to reduce spending whilst enhancing value, cost cutting has become a fundamental part of strategic sourcing. As such, Two Roads Hospitality recognizes that its tight-knit supplier relationships help the company drive value and differentiate it in the market.

“We're very proud to do business with our suppliers because they've invested a lot to meet the varying demands of our 70 properties,” comments Edwards. “One specific product that we've identified for 60 properties may not work for the other 10 and so we collaborate with our partners to come up with a solution for that group. I think it's that creative approach that enables everybody to focus on collaborative work and mutual investments. 

“I also think, personally, that our business style has a lot to do with these crucial relationships,” he adds. “Shaking somebody's hand, looking them in the eyes and knowing that they're genuine in their interest to do business with you and that they're invested on a personal level - that sort of approach really goes a long way. Although this business style might take a bit more time, it creates much deeper lasting relationships that we're able to leverage. It enables us to have suppliers who are invested in making sure our hotels succeed.”

Technological ingenuity

In an industry that is being pushed to do more with less, technological innovation is helping Two Roads Hospitality stay ahead of the curve. As a result, the international company is utilizing big data to create efficiency and add real-time supply chain insight to a fast-paced and ever-evolving business model. Partnering with innovative companies like Buyers Edge Purchasing, Two Roads Hospitality utilizes data warehousing to see itemized details about what the company has bought, where it was bought, how often was it bought, what was paid and what the product’s specification is.

“As well as that, Buyer’s Edge also offers something that our industry is not famous for and that’s price assurance,” adds Edwards. “It's great that we spend months on a sourcing event, deliver a great contract and get a high degree of alignment from our properties into that program, but if nobody is auditing the price to ensure we're getting the right price delivered, we're leaving money on the table. Buyer's Edge has really enabled us to be able to do that work in an automated way.

“As partners go, I consider these folks an extension of my sourcing team,” he adds.

Retaining key talent

The personalized approach Edwards takes to sourcing is one that also transcends the company’s work culture. In the hospitality industry, a sector that has been plagued by a high turnover of staff, Two Roads Hospitality has been an anomaly. By promoting a flexible, balanced work culture the company has managed to retain its young, talented and forward-thinking team.

“Not only is it a challenge to find key talent, it's also a challenge to keep them,” notes Edwards candidly. “Therefore, we work really hard to promote a positive working culture. We have a very flexible working environment. The home office is casual and open. We have a CEO who believes in a family-first lifestyle, and walks the talk. I think it's those little things – making it a personal experience, making it fun, and making everybody feel like the company owner – that are so important for the team’s morale.”

Working alongside property owners

Just as the company knows what makes a guest happy, Two Roads Hospitality also understands the needs and expectations of its property owners. Boasting a deep understanding of global trends and what’s driving change in the sector, Edwards and his team guide properties and help them become a crucial part of local communities in a bid to create lasting value.

“I think, fundamentally, we’re very good at managing a business,” Edwards says. “We know how to make money, we know how to manage a hotel or manage a resort properly. Not only do we know the nuts and bolts of hotel management well, we do it in a way that allows you, as the property owner, to have an opinion and a perspective on how your business should operate. This balance allows the General Manager and the local team at the property to have a voice in the equation.”

The road ahead

Despite its short history, Two Roads Hospitality has grown rapidly to become one of the world’s largest independent lifestyle hotel management companies. Offering the flexibility of a lean and agile organization with the scale property owners need to succeed, Two Roads Hospitality has gone head-to-head with some of the industry’s major brands. In doing so, the company is ready for the next generation of travellers –  expressive, engaged individuals who want to truly experience a place and who appreciate the personalized touch the company brings to its portfolio.

With 70 North American properties under its wing, the company’s history has continued on an upward trajectory. But when the hospitality sector is rapidly innovating and evolving, what does the future hold for Two Roads Hospitality?

“At Two Roads Hospitality I'm surprised every day,” reflects Edwards. “We have a very busy business development team who are focused on acquiring new management agreements with some very unique properties in unique markets. However, we're being very purposeful about how we select those opportunities. We want to get into good business partnerships and good business relationships. I'm surprised every day at how sophisticated that is. That's really an art and a science. Looking forward, I think our portfolio will continue to grow but I think we’re going to grow smartly.”

Bryan Edwards