Inspirato – Sales Operation & Growth Strategy

Scott Bunce recently completed a contract with Inspirato, a luxury destination club, to help launch their sales operation and growth strategy.

Brent Handler, Inspirato’s founder and CEO said “Scott’s leadership in helping Inspirato launch and lead our sales organization has proven invaluable. Scott drove sales productivity, sales forecasting, sales training, budgeting, incentive compensation initiatives, field automation initiatives, revenue forecasting, proactively diagnosed bottlenecks in the sales process, developed comprehensive pipeline reporting tools and managed the overall sales budget, and Inspirato’s CRM ( which translated to record sales virtually every month he worked with us.

For questions or more information, please contact:

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Robinson Development Inc. – Hotel Indigo & Distressed Hotels

EpicenterSpark Hospitality and Robinson Development Inc. are pursing distressed hotels & resort development including a Hotel Indigo. Headquartered in Colorado, Robinson Development Inc. has established itself as a private real estate developer with demonstrated fiduciary expertise and market knowledge. Poised to manage projects nationwide, RDI’s expertise is evidenced in its repeated return on delivery in diverse market conditions.

Quality and attention to detail are fundamental best practices deployed by RDI beginning with the financial structure of each development project. RDI’s value proposition-appreciable return on investment-is built on superior planning and execution before construction begins.

Our Risk Management model means that RDI approaches each project with exacting due diligence from inception through completion. On the front end, RDI thoroughly examines the legal and financial aspects modeling the project for pro forma based on the investors’ expectations on return, construction and development costs, and market lease rates. RDI asks the tough questions: Does the project make financial sense and does it meet a market demand? Does it move forward in a manner that minimizes risk for the construction and investor? Is it priced right, with enough amenities, and built at a low enough cost and sold for as high a price as possible? Then and only then does it achieve what RDI lives buy: maximizing ROI for investors. For questions or more information, please contact:

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Goforth Group, LLC – Distressed Hotels & Resort Development

EpicenterSpark Hospitality and The Goforth Group LLC are jointly pursuing distressed hotels & resort development. The Goforth Group, LLC is a full-service real estate development, brokerage, and consulting firm with over 50 years of real estate experience involving over a billion dollars of projects and transactions.

We recognize that each client’s needs and projects are unique. We carefully analyze each project’s financial data and marketing research while incorporating the project’s goals and development issues. This allows us to create a checklist of detailed objectives that encompasses all aspects of a project from conception to feasibility, budgeting, site analysis, zoning, government approvals/permitting, planning, financing, engineering, legal, construction, marketing, operations, and a myriad of other issues including assembling the best team members and coordinating their expertise.

A well orchestrated development team can work as well as a finely tuned orchestra and the product can be just as meaningful and beautiful. We assure that all development issues are properly addressed from the initial creative idea, through implementation and to exit strategies. We tackle both low risk projects as well as more speculative ventures with greater risks. For questions or more information, please contact:

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Aston Hotels & Resorts

Scott Bunce recently spent an entire year contracted with Aston Hotels and Resorts to help launch Aston’s main land growth strategy.

The relationship started as a result of Scott’s former work as Vice President of ResortQuest, Aston’s former brand. Kelvin Bloom, Aston President and Gary Ettinger, EVP selected Scott for his experience in Resort Vacation Rentals Operations and HOA experience. Gary approached EpicenterSpark Hospitality because of their focus and experience and offered him the opportunity to Help launch Aston’s property in Lake Tahoe, Lakeland Village Resort, and Aston’s property in Sun Valley. As the two properties successfully transitioned to the Aston brand the project was completed. Aston and EpicenterSpark are now working on future projects and new business development.

Gary Ettinger said “I have had the opportunity to work with Scott Bunce on two separate occasions. First, as peers at ResortQuest with regional responsibilities for multi-property oversight. In working with Scott I developed a tremendous sense of respect of his ability to conceptualize challenges and develop solutions to address them, take advantage of opportunities and gain optimal results from the locations under his direction. I was so impressed with Scott’s skills, that later in my career when I needed a consultant to assist me with two new enterprises which were distant from our corporate office, I retained Scott’s services.”

No time for nostalgia

At this time of year we usually afford ourselves a nostalgic look in the mirror at what has transpired in the previous 12 months. And a return to years past – such as 2006 or 2007 – seems to be a popular sentiment among lots of business people in Whistler.

But as Peter Yesawich said (and I have repeated ad infinitum) the tourism industry is not going to return to the way things were before the Great Recession.

During his October presentation in Whistler Yesawich, a tourism industry analyst, outlined a number of ways consumer behavior has changed in the last few years, much of it driven by Internet technology. Price is very often the prime motivator in consumer decisions today, whether it is purchasing a week’s vacation or a washing machine. The Internet provides plenty of choices, plenty of ways to compare prices and now, ways to harness the purchasing power of large groups of people to drive prices down further. Rarely does anyone have to pay full price for anything anymore.

The impact these changes have had on the tourism industry was reinforced recently in interviews the Denver-bas ed Mountain Travel Research Program did with three resort property experts. Asked what changes in consumer behavior are here to stay, Scott Bunce of EpicenterSpark Hospitality International said: “Consumers are now driven by value: they want to stretch their vacation dollars as far as they can. To do this, people are using social media to find the best deals, shortening their trips and using the Internet as their primary search and booking tool, all trends that I think will be here for the long haul.”

Yesawich, and others, have discussed what the new emphasis on price and value has done to quaint notions like (brand) loyalty: good for dogs, not so important to consumers anymore.

“It’s almost a badge of honor to find a bargain,” Tourism Whistler President and CEO Barrett Fisher told members earlier this month.

That approach, combined with search engines, has brought another profound new reality to the tourism industry: last minute bookings. The response by many hotels, airlines, resorts and cruise ship operators with empty beds and seats to fill has been last minute “flash” or “fire” sales.

Combined, these things have changed the tourism industry, and con sumer behavior, in a very short time – basically since the recession started in 2008.

But while many of us in Whistler were concentrating on preparations for the Olympics during the recession, much more than tourism was changing. The economy, obviously, stagnated. But there have been more significant changes than just people and businesses having less money. Some examples:

  • Exports of B.C. softwood lumber were worth $7 billion in 2004. They have declined steadily since then, to about $2.4 billion in 2009.
  • Coal has surpassed softwood lumber as B.C.’s top export over the last few years.
  • Housing starts across Canada grew steadily through the latter half of the 2000s, peaking at 228,000 in 2007. Since then they have declined, to 149,000 in 2009. In B.C., housing starts followed the national trend, peaking at 39,000 in 2007 and dropping to 16,000 in 2009.
  • The dollar value of Canadian exports and imports climbed steadily in the four years leading up to 2008, then declined dramatically in 2009. Total Canadian exports in 2008: $490 billion; in 2009: $369 billion. To the U.S.: $370 billion in 2008; $271 billion in 2009.
  • Canada’s unemployment rate declined steadily from 2002 (7.7 per cent) to 2007 (six per cent). In 2008 it was 6.1 per cent; in 2009 8.3 per cent.
  • From 1948 to 2010 the unemployment rate in the United States averaged 5.7 per cent, reaching a historical high of 10.8 per cent in November of 1982. In November 2010 it was 9.8 per cent. In the Pacific region last month it was 11.6 per cent. In California it was 12.4 per cent.
  • From 2000 to 2007 U.S. industrial output climbed steadily, while at the same time industrial employment shrank by about 3 million workers. Manufacturing jobs fell again following the collapse of the American automobile industry in 2008-09.

But you don’t have to rely on Statistics Canada and the U.S. Census Bureau for numbers to realize we’ve gone through a period of enormous change in the last three years, and those changes will have an impact on Whistler for the foreseeable future. For instance…

International travel, whether by car or airplane, is much more cumbersome than it used to be, particularly when it comes to crossing a border. “Security” trumps everything at airports and border crossings, more so today even than in the months after 9/11. The authority and the tools that border agents have are greater than ever before, and the experience of crossing a border is more unpleasant than ever before.

The populations of virtually all Western nations is aging. People have more options for leisure time than ever before. Cultural and generational shifts mean a smaller percentage of Canadians have a history or connection with mountain recreation. There are fewer federal and provincial dollars for to urism marketing and promotion following the Olympics and the recession. The U.S., Canadian and Australian dollars are all close to par. The buying power of the euro and the British pound has declined against the Canadian dollar, making vacations in Canada more expensive for Europeans.

We may look back longingly at years past but to spend any time wondering when those days will return is to wallow in fantasy.

By Bob Barnett

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AnswerAnalytics is Excited to Announce the Addition of Scott Bunce as VP of Hospitality Analytics

Atlanta, GA – AnswerAnalytics, a Business Information Strategy Consulting Firm, is excited to announce the hiring of Scott Bunce, VP of Hospitality Analytics. “Scott will lead the Hospitality Analytics’ sales and solution delivery service line. After our initial success with IHG, we are proud and excited to strengthen our capabilities in the hospitability vertical. Scott has a remarkable track record and executive experience with renowned organizations such as Marriott, Hilton and Radisson.” Luciano Tiberia, Principal at AnswerAnalytics.

Scott brings 20 years of leadership experience delivering enterprise value in the hospitality industry and now has the ability to deliver advanced analytical insights to the hospitality community. “I am excited to join AnswerAnalytics and bring my hospitality expertise to the analytical space. By leveraging EpicenterSpark Hospitality, our collection of talent is perfect for Management Companies and Brands to take advantage of our proven methods to drive revenue and profitability.” Scott Bunce, VP of Hospitality Analytics.

“As part of AnswerAnalytics’ team, we believe Scott’s experience in revenue performance enhancement, strategic planning, revenue forecasting and performance reporting is well positioned to drive improved profitability in the hospitality industry and beyond.” Marco Cacciatore, Principal at AnswerAnalytics.

About AnswerAnalytics
AnswerAnalytics is a business information strategy firm utilizing data driven techniques to realize enhanced business value. The Company assists organizations seeking to achieve enhanced productivity from Finance, Marketing and IT through enhanced Data Driven Business Insight and Reduced Operating Costs. Its home page is

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