Eugene luxury hotelier eyes expansion

As other models were ravaged by the recession, high-end hotels thrived.

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A business owner who built a high-end hotel during the tail end of the recession is looking to expand the success he’s experienced in Eugene.

Brian Obie, owner of the Inn at the 5th in Eugene, plans to build more luxury hotels in the West, the Register-Guard reports.

Obie’s timing for his planned expansion is good, according to IBISWorld’s research. The company expects the boutique market to continue to grow with revenues increasing at an average annual rate of 5.9 percent, to $8.4 billion, over the next five years. Travelers have grown weary of “cookie-cutter hotels geared toward a mass audience,” IBISWorld researchers said, and “begun migrating toward new and more intimate types of hotels, especially in urban locations.”

This trend, and the sizeable profit margins boutique hotels offer, has not gone unnoticed by major players like Starwood Hotels and the Wyndham Hotel Group, which are moving into the boutique market IBISWorld said. The region that Obie is targeting, however, has a low concentration of boutique hotels, which is not expected to change in the immediate future.

Obie laid out his criteria (eight “solid reasons for success”) for picking markets in which to open his boutique hotels: No comparable competition, proximity to major university, “regionally-headquartered companies,” nearby commercial activities, an airport, average income in a five-mile radius being higher than $50,000, population more than 247,000, and a county seat.




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