SEASIDE — Escape Lodgings has taken over management of the Ebb Tide Resort and the Hi-Tide Resort and is working on updating the 1960s vintage properties.
John McLeod developed the properties. He died in 2014 and his wife, Lynda, owns the beachfront hotels.
Escape took over management and marketing of the properties on Oct. 1.
They were losing market share, said Patrick Nofield, president of Escape Lodgings. The company identified areas for improvement and has begun making changes.
That includes spending money to upgrade guest rooms and the infrastructure of the resorts. The McLeods had been reactive, he said, rather than working from a capital improvement plan.
Escape is also working on a marketing plan for the Seaside properties.
The company hired Shaun Wagner to manage the Seaside properties. Karen Monroe was hired on for outside sales. Both previously worked together at the Seaside beachfront Shilo Inn.
“Sean gets our philosophy for taking care of people,” Nofield said.
Monroe was hired to work for the company at-large but has already brought in business to the Seaside inns.
“They’ve been a dynamic duo for us,” Nofield said.
Monroe has already booked 30 groups between the two Seaside lodgings since arriving in October. With Pacific Basketball League play and other events, the months leading up to Spring Break look good, she said.
“February’s going to be out of the park.”
Upgrades, including new paint, drapes and linens, are under way at the 99-room Ebb Tide and the 64-unit Hi-Tide, said Misty Kawasoe, marketing project manager for Escape. The inns sustain themselves and the improvements, she added.
And the improvements are paying off, Nofield said.
December bookings were double those of Dec. 2013, and 15 days into January revenue at the Ebb Tide was $16,000 compared to $8,674 in 2014. Hi-Tide revenue for the same period was $11,500 compared to $7,000 in 2014.
In addition reviews on travel websites such as Trip Advisor had improved significantly.
Escape would like to eventually purchase the Seaside properties, Nofield said, adding that Lynda McLeod had been very accommodating.
“We own most of our stuff, but she’s been a blessing to work with,” he said.
Escape’s newest hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suites — Mariott in the Dalles, opened in July.
The 80-room inn “just took off,” Nofield said. It was running at nearly 95 percent full for several months.
Also, the company is finalizing a joint deal with the Hawkins Group out of Boise to build another Mariott hotel in Beaverton. The 105-room inn could break ground by late summer.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant is slated anchor the front of the property. It would be the first Oregon location for the Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain.
Farther up the Columbia River, Escape Chief Executive Officer Tom Drumheller and a partner are working on an 82-room boutique hotel on the river in Richland, Wash.
Drumheller and his partner are finalizing the last pieces of financing for the $15 million-project, Nofield said. The hotel would be managed by Escape and could break ground in the summer.
“So, we’re busy,” Nofield said.