PORTLAND, OR—Hospitality industry veteran Bashar Wali has launched This Assembly, an incubator for innovation, an engine for value creation and a driving force for positive change in the travel and lifestyle space. From real estate to hotel management to reimagining how hospitality companies find, connect with and promote their product to guests, This Assembly will be the origin point for a variety of investment vehicles and businesses.
“Over the last year, our industry has been pummeled by a storm of challenges, but the winds of change were blowing well before the pandemic and politics collided so dramatically in 2020,” said Wali. “The economic cycle was due for a correction and markets were bloated with over-leveraged and financially engineered assets. Despite the staggering confluence of events last year, I’m confident that we as an industry will recover. We always do. And I’m committed to doing my part by creating companies that propel hospitality, and hotels in particular, forward.”
The former president of Provenance Hotels has convened a team of partners with more than a century of combined experience in hospitality, tourism and hotel investment and management to form This Assembly. In September 2020, they launched their first venture, Practice Hospitality, a Dallas-based hotel management company focused on applying their independent spirit to lifestyle hotels. The company is qualified and committed to solving the needs of the current landscape; aiding owners repositioning existing assets; shepherding independent to soft brand transitions; providing navigation on the path from brand-managed to franchise; and facilitating takeovers of existing properties and transitioning them into soft brand collections. Wali serves as CEO of Practice Hospitality which, in December, opened its first hotel, Hotel Colee, an Autograph Collection Hotel, in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. Additional projects in the pipeline include hotels in Dallas and Los Angeles.
On This Assembly’s step into the management space, Wali explained, “For many years, no one beat the independent drum louder and more proudly than I did. But times have changed. Faced with deep uncertainty and historically depressed demand, brand affiliation brings more value than ever and, with Practice Hospitality’s deep experience in the independent world, we are positioned to bring a distinct sensibility and hard-won tactical expertise to bear that can give owners the best of both worlds as they chart a path to recovery and rebuild value in their assets. Management is only one arrow in our quiver, but there has never been a more opportune time to offer our services to those who need to revisit their strategy and rethink their deployment of resources.”
On the real estate side, This Assembly is focused on sourcing, structuring and executing on hotel investment opportunities. Drawing on decades of experience successfully renovating and repositioning underperforming assets, the team can advise investors looking to strategically deploy capital to aid and speed the industry’s recovery. With a concentration on urban, lifestyle hotels, it will serve as a one-stop-shop, simplifying deals by incorporating the services of Practice Hospitality as operator and providing an effective and efficient route to maximizing asset value via brand affiliation and savvy management.
“This is just the beginning,” said Wali. “We are entering a new chapter as an industry and, with This Assembly, my team and I are taking this opportunity to rethink all possibilities. Our objective is to be transformative as operators, investors and employers. We are going to push boundaries and reimagine what it means to own, run, work in, visit and engage with hotels.”
In his dual role as founder of This Assembly and CEO of Practice Hospitality, Wali will draw upon expertise honed over his nearly 30-year career in hospitality during which he established himself as an expert in the lifestyle space. He rose through the ranks of Starwood Hotels, serving in nearly every management capacity before helming a series of hotels up and down the Eastern seaboard. Over nearly a decade at Grand Heritage Hotel Group, he led operations, acquisitions and development across North America and the Caribbean. Prior to his departure in May 2020, he served as Provenance Hotels’ president/CEO for 15 years, growing the company from five to 14 hotels, fostering a team of 1,200 associated and expanding the collection from a regional player in the Pacific Northwest to a national brand with annual revenue in excess of $150 million.