Industry Vets Launch Five Senses Hospitality

Hospitality industry veterans Chris Manley, formerly with Stonebridge Companies, and Jeff Blackman, founder/president of Bedford Lodging, have launched hotel management company Five Senses Hospitality Management.

Focused on careers, guests and owners within the hotel management industry, Five Senses Hospitality manages the day-to-day operations of hotel properties for existing owners, enabling an accelerated cash flow recovery and investment in acquisition opportunities.

“The hotel industry has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, forcing a lot of very talented people to the sidelines,” said Manley, president of Five Senses. “As a result, Jeff and I concluded that COVID-19 presents a once-in-a-career opportunity to assemble a team that can produce outsized cash flow to our equity partners while maintaining an exceptional level of guest service focusing on all five senses of the guest experience.”

Manley most recently served as COO of Denver-based Stonebridge Companies from 2015-2020, a privately owned, owner, operator and developer of more than 60 hotels and 11,000 guestrooms with more than 3,200 team members across 11 states. He was appointed to the board of directors for the American Hotel Lodging Association (AHLA) in 2019 and served as co-chair of the management council.

His nearly 30 years of hotel and real estate investment experience also includes 15 years as CFO of The Pauls Corporation, a real estate development and capital management firm focused on mixed-use projects in the western U.S. and Canada, and seven years as VP of ProLogis, a real estate trust focused on supply chain logistics facilities.

Since its inception last fall, Five Senses’ portfolio has grown to five properties and more than 100 team members.

“Our pipeline of prospective portfolio additions includes both opportunities to manage for and acquisitions on behalf of third-party owners,” said Blackman, a 25-year hospitality veteran and former Marriott executive. “In retrospect, many of our peer management companies did not adapt quickly enough to the challenges of the coronavirus, and owners suffered as a direct result. Five Senses approaches the business from the perspective of an investor which translates into an acute focus on the owners’ objectives.”

Involved in the ground-up development of more than 150 hotel properties, Blackman’s expertise encompasses every aspect of the lodging industry, including development, management, asset management, acquisition, due diligence and advisory services.

Leveraging his industry relationships, Blackman in 2013 founded Bedford Lodging, a Dallas-based hotel development company with a track record of developing Marriott and Hilton products in California, Texas and Colorado. Bedford most recently opened an AC Hotel in the fall of 2020 in California’s wine country. Employing modular design and construction, the hotel was constructed in Idaho and assembled on-site in Sonoma County, considerably reducing the build time while maintaining quality and finish details.

Blackman began his career alongside Jack DeBoer, creator of the extended-stay hotel concept and founder of Candlewood Suites, Residence Inn and Summerfield Suites, overseeing the development planning and market feasibility department for Candlewood Suites, shepherding its growth to more than 100 hotels nationwide.

His past experience also includes serving as EVP of operations for Western International, one of the country’s largest owners, operators and developers, where he oversaw the development of 25 hotels. Blackman also held the roles of VP of development for the central region of Marriott International, growing the franchise business of its select-service and extended-stay brands by more than 100 development deals, and VP of acquisitions for Ashford, acquiring $2 billion of hotel assets between 2003-2005.

He currently serves as president of Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites franchise advisory committee.

Five Senses has an exclusive partnership with Blackman’s Bedford Lodging to manage the day-to-day operations of its assets and is concurrently looking to acquire a targeted niche of properties that will outperform their peers, with two properties currently in due diligence.

“Historical returns in select service and extended stay have been able to produce a more stable and predictable cash flow to our investor base,” Blackman said. “COVID-19 presents an opportunity to assemble a portfolio of quality product at a substantial discount to replacement cost that will generate outsized risk-adjusted returns to our partners.”

Manley added, “We‘re not just focused on investment returns for our owners and partners. Growing and developing the careers of our team members is paramount to what Five Senses Hospitality is, a forward-looking hospitality company focused on careers, guests and owners.”

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