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Robert Rauch

Hotel industry veteran has business down to a science

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Despite a national economy that remains sluggish, the hotel industry in San Diego is picking up. That’s good news for hotel management company RA Rauch & Associates.

The firm currently operates four hotels in San Diego. It owns and operates a Homewood Suites by Hilton and a Hilton Garden Inn, both in Del Mar, and manages boutique hotels El Cordova in Coronado and Pantai Inn in La Jolla.

All of its hotels are up in occupancy and daily room rate, said Robert Rauch, president of RA Rauch & Associates. The Hilton branded hotels are running at 82 percent occupancy year to date, while the Pantai Inn is driving room rates that are among the highest in the county, according to Rauch.

The company drives both top-line revenue and bottom-line income by viewing the industry as a science, using sophisticated algorithms to assess historical performance, revenues, capital expenditures and other information. Other services include reviewing marketing plans, evaluating sales, assessing the market and competition, and reviewing leases, contracts and concession agreements.

“We are able to determine the best type of business for a given hotel, and the most creative methods for finding that business in the first place,” he said. “We have opened the doors to every possible channel of distribution, then we zero-based budget every single line item. We never assume an expense from 2012 will reoccur in 2013; each one gets questioned.”

The company also provides customized hotel management consulting, including development consulting, serving as expert witnesses and operational consulting. RA Rauch & Associates also has an exclusive arrangement with The London Group to offer hotel and transient commercial brokerage services.

Consulting comprises about a third of the company’s business, Rauch said.

The local hospitality veteran does more than just run the hotel management business. Rauch conducts extensive research on the market that allows him to write papers, create industry forecasts and teach classes. He teaches Web-based courses in hospitality entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, where he received his master’s in tourism administration. He also publishes a quarterly online newsletter providing updated information to hospitality professionals, and is a regular speaker at hotel industry conferences.

In addition, Rauch is a founding member and sits on the board of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District. He has at one time or another led virtually every local industry group, including the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, the San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau and the San Diego Hotel-Motel Association, to name just a few.

In the coming year, Rauch expects the sector to remain strong. He anticipates steady and measured growth for the company.

RA Rauch & Associates recently took over management of the 23-unit Pacific View Inn in Pacific Beach, and will continue to expand the Pantai Inn with another seven units next year. Rauch expects to have six to eight hotels under management in 2013.

And he plans to do it by consistently providing “wow customer service,” to hotel guests and consulting clients alike.

"Giving back to the community, providing a safe and secure environment, being state-of-the-art from a technological perspective, optimizing revenues and bringing income to our shareholders -- all of those are because we provide wow service on all levels,” he said.



-Klam is a San Diego-based freelance writer.

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