Compounding Family Business - Teague Hunter - Defining Hospitality - Episode #103

Dan Ryan: Today's guest is an expert in the hospitality industry with over 25 years of experience as an innovative leader. He's driven his company to accomplish over 13 billion in transactions, establishing his firm as the third most successful US brokerage firm within the hospitality industry.

When he is not busy pioneering. He hosts weekly Teague Walks and Teague talks where he highlights exceptional properties and the people behind them. He's the recent recipient of the Jack a Schaffer Financial Advisor of the Year Award given to him at Alice this year. He is the president and c e o at Hunter Hotel Advisors.

Ladies and gentlemen, Teague Hunter, welcome.

Teague Hunter: Woo. Hey Dan, how are you?

Dan Ryan: I'm great. Uh, really good. It's nice to be back in the city after being out in Milan for the Solona, um, show. And, uh, I wish I had more time out there, but it's an honor to speak to you, so thank you. And before we get into it, I just wanna share with the audience, um, my first experience of you whether, I don't know if you know, was in 2020.

You host the Hunter Conference and obviously Covid happened, but to go into that first real conference for our entire industry in, I believe it was March or April of 2021, where everyone for the first time gathered together, there were, I don't know, a thousand plus people all in a room, and it was, it was so necessary and I think such a form of exemplary leader.

By you and your whole team to just say, look, we're in hospitality, we have to do this. And I just want to say thank you for kind of uncorking us fr and shooting us outta the champagne bottle after covid. So thank you.

Teague Hunter: Oh, that's hilarious. You're kind. And that long intro was great too. I was, I should tell my mom all the things I've done.

Yes, you should. Yeah, we were March of 21. That was, that was a gutsy thing to do for, uh, to come back. We got lucky. We timed it right. That was in between, uh, variance. So everybody, everybody's feeling pretty. Yeah.

Dan Ryan: Well, another thing that I think is really important about that is, you know, I've been doing this podcast for about a year and a half.

Someone who I always ask, like, for help or advice as a mentor before I do these things is Glen Houseman, who I know, you know, and he said, he's like, well, I'm going to this, uh, hunter conference. Why don't you tag along with me and like, you can carry my bags or something. I was like, I would love to. And I think that that's so much of what we all do and why we all do it.

It's this idea of mentorship, mutual helpfulness. Um, and then it just, I think it really makes our. Really, really special. So with that in mind, and I want to ask you, the first question I ask everyone is tig, how do you define hospitality?

Teague Hunter: Oh, that's your go-to question. I like it, dad. So the podcast, what is hospitality, I guess?

Oh, I see, I see what you're doing here. Uh, I think most, to me, most people would define hospitality as a, as a verb, or, sorry, adjective, uh, operational, right, the operational side, uh, service welcoming people into their homes, being hospitable I, being in the real estate industry, tend to think of more of it as a noun.

it's a hotel, it's a building, it's real estate and finance. Um, but I think more than that, obviously, probably to all of us is it's an industry, it's a way of life. It's what we do, it's who we are. I was born and raised into the hospitality industry. I have worked and, uh, made a life and a living and a career in the hospitality industry.

Uh, and so for us, it is a way of life.

Dan Ryan: Uh, there's another interesting thing in hearing you say that as far as being born into it, there's so many multi-generational, um, businesses that do really well and others that don't do, do very well. And I know that you guys have really plotted this amazing trajectory where you've let those, I think the most exciting thing about a multi-generational business.

You get to let those relationships compound over time. So for those of listeners who are in family businesses or con contemplating, like what was your, your decision process on, do I get involved or not? Did you do something else first? Like walk us through how you decided to come on, come onto the mothership.

Teague Hunter: Oh, I love it. You're, you're going way back. All right. Let's do this. So, uh, I mean, you're right. Family businesses can be great. They can be tricky. They can be terrible. All of the above. Uh, we, I, we've been very fortunate. We have a very strong family, mom, dad, Lee, and myself, and that's it. Uh, and the dogs. So, uh, very tight family.

For me, it was sort of the best thing that I've done. So I didn't come, I, you know, growing up I was in, followed dad around. We'd go on family vacations, uh, we'd drive to Florida, we'd stop in at, at hotels all along the way. Uh, I'm a curious by nature, so I would follow dad through all the hotels. Uh, the thing I remember is he would teach us, Hey, what's the first thing you do when you walk into a hotel?

You breathe in, cuz after that you get used to it and you don't smell anymore. So, hey, what do you see? What do you smell? Uh, I, I mean, I was looking at room types and, and real estate. Uh, for a long time I wasn't gonna join Dad. I, my first job was a Merrill Lynch. Uh, decided I didn't like dealing with people's money.

Your money is very expensive. Corporate money is not as expensive. So, uh, then I went to i b m, my mom was a 30 year i b m exec, and I thought, I b m technology is the way of the future business to business. Let's go. Oh, by the way, they have great sales training, which they did. But, uh, I got there and very quickly, um, realized that, uh, I didn't care for corporate America and at least for me, all of my mentors and anyone with talent was leaving.

They would become successful cause it was kind of a ceiling. I was the one working really hard, trying to be creative, trying to sell, uh, was very fortunate at winning sales awards at ibm, but I, along with everyone would get. So it didn't really matter. It was tough to differentiate yourself. So after three years at I B M I came and begged my father for a job.

Was like, what is, what is this hotel thing that we do? Again? I don't know. I don't really care. Uh, I, let's go. And I can remember early on, I really can, uh, as a hotel broker thinking, um, I'm never gonna sell a hotel. I mean, I, we saw, I sold my first one. It was a Holiday Inn in Milledgeville, Georgia to Canal.

Um, institutional seller and I, we got it done and it felt just so hard, and I remember thinking, I'm never gonna sell another hotel in my

Dan Ryan: life. And 13 billion transactions later and

Teague Hunter: 13 billion transactions later, and the world got easier. You know, when dad was doing it, it was how, you know, there was no internet.

It was a fax machine, and how far the car could take you. How far could you drive in a day? Knocking on doors, seeing people, building relationships, then. Uh, and, and really the industry was growing up, the HOA community was, was sort of just getting started. My dad still tells stories along with the other sort of icons in the Ahaa community with, uh, HP Rama and, um, the guys at Shrek and all of these old, they, they were saying, Hey, we're here.

This is who we are. We've just come from India. We wanna buy hotels. And we have a lot of friends that are gonna come. So help us, teach us and we'll introduce you. So we came about it that way, and it wasn't until later, you know, even the late nineties when, uh, the first, when Ro Wall Street really got into the space and the first REITs started was in the late nineties, 1998.

Uh, and I think my father sold the first hotel to the first hotel REIT to get it started. Which doesn't exist today, which the reek doesn't exist today. That got gobbled up by bigger people. And then it wasn't until later that like private equity and Blackstone started jumping into the space and really, really changed our industry.


Dan Ryan: So that's super interesting. So when those big private equity players came into it, how did it really change the industry from your perspective? Once all those, all, all the big New York money came,

Teague Hunter: started coming in. Yeah.

I mean, we're going into the finance world, but it just, it became a commodity. Uh, wall Street just looks at it on a spreadsheet and they just see numbers. They don't really understand the operational nuances. They don't really understand the design nuances, street corners, what makes stuff tick, and not they, they're just seeing numbers.

Right? Right. Um, and that worked. That works. Um, as long as you can. Uh, the cost of capital is cheap. Debt is cheap, capital is plentiful. That works really well. So one of the first big ones, it was a, it was a high school friend of mine, Robert Bloom, uh, who at the time worked for Goldman Sachs, the White Hall Fund.

Um, and they bought Gary Harrelson's portfolio. So Gary Thoreson was a, a, you know, up in North Dakota, had built a really nice limited service, um, portfolio and. Go, wall Street wanted to buy it cuz they just saw cash flow and returns and they could put out a lot of capital charge, a lot of fees. And he called me, he said, tg, I need to sit down with you.

And so we sat down, I educated him on the business very quickly and I remember saying, what are you doing? You're supposed to be buying Ritz Carlton's and you know, Manhattan, you know, big assets. You, you're not supposed to be playing in this world, in, in North Dakota and Ohio, that, what are you doing? And he said, oh, it's great.

There's bulk, there's size here. We really like, Wow. O okay. And that just continued. So they bought Thoreson and they, then they went and bought, uh, uh, Howard Silvers company, uh, uh, equity Inns, which was a publicly traded company. And that's the first time a publicly traded company was taken private. Hmm. By Goldman Sachs.

So it changed. So,

Dan Ryan: Hearing you correctly. So from driving around in the, in the station wagon, going down to Florida with your dad and going in and smelling and activating all of your senses and seeing the people, and really getting a feel for it on one end of a spectrum to the other end of the spectrum where, okay, this is just printing money, private equity, writing big checks, let's do these big portfolio deals.

Um, how have you seen the industry change over that time from riding around in the. In the station wagon to these huge deals and all the, all the things in between. Like how do you look at the spectrum of what our industry is at this moment from when you started? Well,

Teague Hunter: I, I obviously think it's changed and it was a station wagon, wood paneling on the side.

It's fantastic. Uh, Oldsmobile, uh, classic 88, I think was the name. Anyway, so, um, it

Dan Ryan: has changed the truck. The truck, what was that called? The, the. From your, from, uh, vacation. It was like the, the Truckster or the Clark store.

Teague Hunter: Yeah, the family Truckster. Yeah. Um, that we were, that we were the Griswolds. That was us a hundred percent.

So, uh, but I think the industry has changed significantly for better and for worse. Right? So one, a significant amount more capital has come in. Um, and I can even talk to consumer side, which I won't, but the consumers become more demanding, right? We, we used to, it used to be the McDonald's. And the reason McDonald's was so successful is because there was no internet and you.

Pre-search, where are you gonna go? I'm gonna drive from Atlanta to la uh, or just to Florida. And you better know, uh, uh, at that time you just get in the car and start driving, right? And you'd see a sign, uh, super, eight motel, six days in and you'd pull off, right? Holiday Inn built all of their stuff.

Hampton in the Reason Hampton, everybody remembers that bass. The beer company in London bought Holiday Inn and moved all the execs to London. So now there were a bunch of execs in Memphis. That didn't wanna move to London. So what'd they do? They started a whole new company and that was called Hampton Inn.

It was called Promise. And their brand was Hampton Inn, their first one. And they just went right next door to Holiday Inns and built the rooms. And they knew that the restaurant, ironically, the restaurant and the meeting space at the Holiday Inn didn't make money. The rooms made the money, so they built a brand new Hampton Inn right next to that old Holiday Inn and they ate their lunch.

So that was the growth of Hampton. And then they promised did ho uh, Homewood Suites Embassy DoubleTree, and eventually sold to Hilton and rolled it in. Sorry, I digress. We're talking history lesson. No, but

Dan Ryan: I love the history because, you know, um, the evolution of hotels as an asset class is, it's pretty remarkable.

And especially now in this, you know, really high inflationary period. It's a, it's one of the. Long-term assets where you can reset leases like on a nightly basis. Right, right. So in a way it's, it's, it's a, it's a nice hedge against inflation. How are you seeing that particular element Of what? Of what we do in our world as, as far as like an attractive place for investors to drop money.

Teague Hunter: So I'm not gonna answer the question. I'm gonna stay on the history, but, but as an example of inflation, the early Hampton ends were cost $55,000 a key to build. They were two story exterior corridor. They cost 55,000 a key to build, right? Mm-hmm. Um, uh, we sold one, uh, last year for over 300,000 a key, and now we'll valuing some at over 500,000 a key for what is roughly the same product.

We, we sold the in on fifth down to Naples for 1.3 million, a key last year. Wow. Right. So there's your evolution of the world. Right. And, and if I keep going, history, motel six was six, $6 Super. Eight was $8. Wow. Wow. Um, when you, and what'd you pay last night? What, what do you paying the night of your hotel in New York?

Dan Ryan: Oh, no, I'm gonna drive home and sleep in my, uh, in my bed tonight, so I'm not gonna, I won't, I won't be doing that tonight. But, uh, I, I'd probably say they're, you know, in the three 50 to $700 a night, um, all over the place. Like for, for basic. Exactly. Um, When you look at the, at the asset class, so that noun again of hotels, right?

And compared or contrasted to other commercial real estate verticals, the most of the people who are listening to this. Although it's grown since we've started and it keeps growing every week, they're, they're designers or architects. They're, they're kind of like building out and creating these spaces.

Um, but tele space rather as contrasted to other asset classes, cost, which is always the last line item on a, on a budget. Um, it's a lot more within hotels than. Asset classes. So when you have someone who's new looking to buy a hotel, um, how do you walk them through that if they're used to doing offices and whatnot that, oh, this, you're gonna be spending a lot more or investing a lot more on ff n e, how do you, how do you get them over that?

Teague Hunter: Uh, I like it. We're gonna get into the weeds. The real question on ff n e today, because to your point, it used to be old all rooms, and now we have rooftop bars and a restaurant and a bistro in the lobby. Uh, the real question is, is do those sell? Six caps, seven caps, cuz our really good hotels are selling in that range.

Not so much at the moment, but they were, and a restaurant wouldn't sell for that. Mm-hmm. A coffee shop wouldn't sell for a six cap. Right. It'd be 10 plus, uh mm-hmm. A bar would sell 10 plus. But we lump all the revenue and in income in, in one place and we sell it like real estate, like the hotel. So some of our, uh, buyers are getting frustrated that we're overcharging them for this re.

And this bar and this bistro, but I digress. I will tell you from an operational side, it's gotten tricky for the operators. Um, it used to be easy just to operate rooms and now you've got all of these other outlets. So you're s it, it takes real expertise to be able to activate and properly manage all of those extra revenue sources.

So what was a lot of mom and pop, uh, owner operators and a lot of uh, uh, owner developers, uh, they're great developers. Doesn't mean they're the best operators, especially at that complicated level. So the third parties are really stepping up cuz it's a real expertise to operate those complicated hotels.


Dan Ryan: agree. And it's also interesting cuz each hotel. Is also just like a little laboratory of entrepreneurism, right? Because you have all these different channels and then you can also just create new channels, which is basically just like creating new revenue streams. But it all becomes very complicated to manage for the, you know, for the more simple, just straightforward investor.

Teague Hunter: Uh, correct. And, and that's, I think that's also what we love about the hotel space, right? It's, it's not cookie cutter, it's not boring office building, uh, boring but profitable industrial, um, you know, multi-family. Those can get pretty. Straight down the middle. Hotels are operational and you can make a significant difference, both positive and negative based on your level of operations.

Really good operators. Part of how you make trades is the really good operators look at that asset and say, I, I can do a whole lot better with this than that current existing operator owner is doing, and I can make significant improvements. So that's, that's an

Dan Ryan: interesting concept. Are you, so if I were a hotel, are, are you seeing a change in hotel people who want to buy hotels?

Are they bringing in a new management company as they're surveying what's available out on the market and really having them kind of underwrite what they're seeing at a more detailed level? Or is it still the owner going in and then finding the the manager later?

Teague Hunter: No, no, the first way, and actually that's our secret sauce as salesman, that we are, that's our secret sauce.

Like, oh, uh, you, Mr. Seller, we're gonna tell everyone you're a terrible operator, and the buyer is a much better operator and can do a significantly better job than the old guy that is operating that, Hmm, the current team. They're, they're, they're, they, they're tired. They're, uh, they, they, they're not putting any more energy or any more capital into this.

The new team has got a lot more energy and enthusiasm and much better ideas, and they can get in there and really turn this around and in the hotel space, that is very true. A really, we've seen a time and time and time again. A really good operator can drive significant top line and bottom line revenue.

And a really bad operator can really impact. And

Dan Ryan: then are, but do you find that, um, ownership groups are married to a particular operator typically, or management company or they, um, are they kind of agnostic or do they say, Hey, this is my management company for repositioning, this is my management company for, um, just kind of the bread and bender, as you said before, like just the, the printing cash in North Dakota, the, you know, and there's all different ones, and do they kind of hitch their wagons?

These entities as they're, uh, reviewing and underwriting the, the assets.

Teague Hunter: Yeah. You know, the joy in, in our business, it depends, right? We now have a very, Broad business, right? You can be down at Motel six, owner operator level, you can be Ritz Carlton and everything in between. Um, most people, this is a people business, so most, most of the time there's a, a synergy between ownership and operations, right?

And somewhere in there is asset management, depending on how complicated you get. Uh, but many of the, uh, owner operators firmly believe the reason why they still operate their own stuff is because they can operate it better than anyone. At an institutional level,

Dan Ryan: is that because they're looking at it as they're, they're everything that they're doing, they're looking as an owner.

Correct? They're, they're more vested. Is that why I

Teague Hunter: i one it's their, it's their penny. Okay. And, and the, the owner operator community typically just grew up that way. There was no third party management, right? You owned one hotel and mom and dad bought the one hotel and they operated this one hotel. That still sort of happens today.

Yep. We got this one and they've just figured it. And over time they figured out what worked and what didn't work, and their friends figured out what worked and what didn't work. And they sh shared stories. And now they've just evolved, uh, through the years and through the generations. And as the hotels gotten nicer and nicer, their management styles and teams have evolved.

But there's a lot of regional street corner ness to it, whether it's the owner operator or the institu. Management companies. There's a brand, there's a type of asset, and there's a region. You better, you better have a team to support that asset, right? Whether it's owner operator, or whether it's from the corporation.

You better have regional managers, onsite managers, hands-on managers, uh, and that's, that's some people are better at full service. Some are better at select service. It is not cookie cutter management. I know it seems like a commodity. It's. So

Dan Ryan: each, each asset has its own unique set of needs and requirements, and then you would partner with a management company that could best grow within or operate and, and create value within those needs.

Teague Hunter: Correct. So, and all management companies think they're better than their other management company, so they tell their how much better they could do.

Dan Ryan: Okay, so then, then this, I, I wasn't expecting to go here, but recently I just, I've read it a couple times, but I just heard, um, Danny Meyer from Union Square Hospitality who did Shake Shack and he's like a big run restaurant tour in, um, in New York.

In New York City, but now with Shake Shack all over the place. And he said something really interesting, like if you look at businesses or the equity partners you're talking to, Every decision should be made with the shareholders in mind. Right? There's like a, a fiduciary requirement to do that, right?

That's what you have to do. But he was saying for all of his businesses, he looks at, there are shareholders, obviously, but then he looks at stakeholders and in order of importance, he said the stakeholders for his restaurant. And he would say, he would say any business is team, like all the employees. Then it's the guests or ho or or um, customers.

Then the community around, then the suppliers, then the investors and his, his notion is that if you take care of the first four in the best way possible, then the last, which are the shareholders who should be first reap the awards. What are your

Teague Hunter: thoughts? Yeah, I'd pr I, I can concur with that. Um, again, it's tricky, but the, although the investors right, are the ultimate boss, but they're not feet on the ground.

Hands on the ground, and I even, I would argue that even the investors know that the hotel space is an operational heavy business. So they know what they're getting into. They know they don't wanna do it, so they're hiring a third party operator to handle it, and all they care about is making. So they're gonna look at the bottom line.

If the bottom line is higher, you guys are fantastic. If that bottom line is lower, you guys are doing something wrong. They don't really wanna be in the weeds they wanna hire. Maybe they hire an asset manager to manage the manager. But yes, I agree with you. If you take care of the first crew, I mean, even if you're the best of your guests today, the employees are the number one customer.

Everyone knows that labor is so difficult. Labor is so hard. Totally. So you better take care of your people first, and then it all trickles down after. Okay.

Dan Ryan: Well now I, I wanna shift gears into the now. So recent, well, in the recent past you won this Financial Advisor of the Year award at Alice, which is where I saw you, and I was like, oh my God, tg, I'm such a fan of your podcast.

And I like, I want to get you on. And you're like, yes, totally. Uh, talk to, talk to Mary Ashley. Let's get it going. And here we are right now. But what do you think separated you and Hunter from. The rest of the pack that would, that would warrant receiving this accolade. Like, that's pretty awesome. I mean, how, how many, you're the third biggest, but there must be scores or hundreds of people like you.

What separates you guys from the pack?

Teague Hunter: Yeah, I, I think, uh, one, we're very proud of that. It was sort of a lifetime achievement award for us. Um, we, we had a very, very good year. Uh, we sold over two and a half billion in the year. And, you know, a lot of that is just the way the world was. Oh, by the way, we were gonna sell four, 4 billion, uh, until the world stopped.

The second half of 22, the world just screeched to a halt. Um, uh, so what probably was another 2 billion, ended up as 500 million. That's how much sort of fell out. Um, all true numbers, but, uh, but we, we think it's our d n A, right? Who we come from. Where we come from. Again, my fa we're a family business for better or for worse that has been able to institutionalize what we do.

But at our core, we are a family business. Our team is our people. Everybody talks about the people. My, our, our team is better. We firmly believe than the majority of the teams that are out. Um, we work well together. We work as a team. We are not siloed in any sales organization. You can get siloed, oh, I have my territory and these are my people, and don't come in, don't talk.

We are the total opposite. Everything is wide open. Everybody talks all day, every day. Um, and that we can throw whatever resources we want to at it because it, it sort of controlled at the top. Because we're tightly held, everyone jumps on board to help. Uh, we're fortunate to have really good clients.

Blackstones are our biggest client. I joke that's not, that's not a real, uh, bragging right cuz they're a lot of people's biggest client. But we sold over a hundred hotels last year just for Blackstone. Um, so they have long, long tentacles and they're, they're the toughest of the tough, the best of the best.

They, they, their people are incredibly smart. They never sleep. Uh, and they have trained us over the. God, gosh, probably decade on how to think, how to work, uh, how to react, how to be responsive all day, every day. And Blackstone wants another 10% and another 10% how to get deals done. Um, and we have, we have really had to up our game.

So our, it's a team award. It's a lifetime achievement award. Uh, we're very pleased with it. We shouldn't compete, as I joke every day, we shouldn't be able to compete with the institutional C B R E and Jones Lang Sal and East still. Um, but at the end of the day, it's just people. It's just people working for them, people working for us.

Uh, and we're very impressed with our people. Yeah.

Dan Ryan: Wow. And because then that all, like going back to what you said earlier, Driving around in the station wagon with your dad or, and your family. It's going in and getting to know the people. Right. It's the it's, and again, it's that all of those relationships and I think on that multi-generational side, that's what's so exciting to me is that those relationships get to compound.

Um, Aside from all the interest and everything else, this gets to compound over that time. Yeah. I

Teague Hunter: joked when I, when I, and I say sort of the next generation when I came in the business, right? I was, I was young and I, I didn't know anyone. Fortunately my father did. Back to that mentorship. I think mentors are very important, and we do that at the company.

I, we, we match up the older salesman with the, with the younger salesman and the older people that have all the relationships and the younger people do all the. So it's, mm-hmm. It's very easy. But, but the younger people grow up just like myself. I can remember watching the people 10, 15 years ahead of me, uh, thinking, all right, all right, I see what they're doing.

But part of that was we've just got time, just as I grow up. So now all the people, my generation are all the leaders of this, of these industries. They just are. Dan Hans was running Summit, Justin Knight was running, uh, apple, Marcel Veras is running Xenia. Um, all of these people are, have now, now moved up and are, and are running these companies and that too will happen with the next generation.

Dan Ryan: Yeah. Well, and I think on that next generation side, I think that's a great segue into how did you decide, To start a podcast because like to me, I just did it as like an experiment. Uh, people said, oh, I was good at interviewing people. And then I just, it turned into one of my favorite things I do all week.

And, uh, I just get to really, I'm just very curious. I get to learn so much more. But like, what really gave you the push to start?

Teague Hunter: That's a good answer. Cause I was gonna ask you how did, how, how did you get started?

Dan Ryan: Yeah. You can ask me again and I'll, I'll, I'll be more than happy to expound on it, but I don't want to take away from your.

Teague Hunter: So ours was, um, ours was canceling the conference in 2020, so it was a traumatic experience internally back to the team cuz you have this team that is planning for a year, planning a conference, which is like a throwing a wedding or a big party. And it's a big event and here it comes. And arguably on the eve of it, Thursday before the conference was supposed to start on Monday, uh, we had to.

And that was a major, major issue. So we did that. And part of it I will say is I felt guilty because, uh, one of the re major reasons we did the conference, my father started the conference 34 years ago. Uh, and it was just a way to give back. He thought that there was, uh, people in the industry, main street people, not Wall Street.

Et cetera that needed information, they needed to come together and learn from each other. He always call it meat and potatoes. I want people to learn. So we felt, have always felt an obligation to give back to the industry, to educate the industry, to bring people together. And here was a really critical time of uncertainty when more than ever people needed to know what is happening.

And we did the exact opposite. We sent everybody home, go home, go hide, and good luck. So part of that was, was, was, was guilt and a real sense of we gotta connect the community. Um, and we were still coming into the office cuz we were unwinding the conference and Mary Ashley said, Teague, may I record one of your next Zoom calls?

Sure. So, uh, we chose a friend, Mitch Shaw, and I said, mit, can we, can we record one of these? We recorded it, Mary Ash, Ashley put it together. Um, and we sent it to MIT's team. They said, yeah, we like it. We posted it not knowing if anyone would care, and everyone cared. Everyone watched it. I got all kinds of phone calls and texts and emails.

Over that. And so then we just con did it again and we called the speakers that were at the con coming to the conference. Anyway. Hey, I know you're gonna speak next week. We're sorry we had to cancel. Um, would you mind if we resorted re record a Zoom call? I just did it with mit. Here's what we'd like to see.

So, so we had everyone. I mean, you know, uh, CNA set at Hilton and, uh, I mean, Arne, God love. My, my favorite one was with Arne at Marriott. Oh my God. Uh, and the interesting part was then people were calling me Santi, can I please get on your, uh, team talks? Can I please get on your podcast? Can I please get on?

Great. Wow. And the, and the best ones were the people that people related to, which was the operators. Hey, I've. 20 hotels, 50 hotels, and, and I'm having to lay all my people off. Are you laying? And that's really hurting. But I, I don't wanna do that. I'm questioning, what are you seeing? Are you doing having to do the same thing?

Are you keeping your hotels open? Are you closing your hotels? A lot of people were closing a lot of their hotels. They'd never closed hotels before that, that's a thing. So we, we had to connect people.

Dan Ryan: Um, As you said, Arne and I wa I watched your face light up as you talked about him. Um, it gave me goosebumps because two weeks ago I went, I was lucky to be invited to the Howard University Ribbon cutting of the, um, Marriott, Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership up in DC and his, I don't know, everyone got up there and, and spoke, but his, when his wife Ruth got up there and spoke and just about h.

I've met Arne a couple times in, in passing. I said Hello, shook his hand. I never really had a deep conversation with him, but just to hear her share how curious he was and how he was a student of everything. And then to look at all these kids, young men and women at Howard, this first cohort that's coming through and seeing them kind of.

Stand on the shoulders of him and, and have all these doors open to them and just, it's just so powerful and amazing. And I know he's gone and I know he'll be missed, but just being there and seeing that and feeling it and having Mr. Marriott sit like two a, so, uh, a chair in front of me being there as well, that was amazing.

Um, but I just feel like that.

That's gonna resonate for a really, really, really long time. And it was just very moving and impactful. And I'm, so, I, I, I have to listen to that, uh, rec, uh, the one you did with Arne, cuz I actually haven't. So now I want to go back and do it. So thank you for, for sharing that.

Teague Hunter: That's amazing. They're great.

It's part of what you forget. I mean, I'm not really of the podcast generation, although we are, um, I wouldn't have started it today, but we. But I've gone back and watched a bunch of 'em, and they're, they're a lot of fun with the history and just the people. It personalizes our industry and they're recorded, they're there forever.

So go watch. Totally.

Dan Ryan: Well, also in going into mentorship as well, one of the, I get a lot of feedback, um, from the podcast that we do, and one is a lot of students, a lot of, uh, Recent grads who are just starting out on their career journey. And I feel like with all this hybrid work that's happening, um, there's not as much shop talk that goes on.

There's not as much as the beer or wine after work or waiting for, I don't even know if people use coffee machines anymore, but waiting for, waiting at the coffee machine or at the water cooler and people are like, wow, these podcasts are amazing. Cuz they kind of like round out my education in a way. Do

Teague Hunter: you get feedback like that?

Yeah, a hundred percent. Uh, one, we're, we're aging ourselves with a copy machine because, uh, I agree. Water cooler, the fax machine, the water cooler. Uh, I get professors, uh, Georgia State, um, Penn State, um, uh, Michigan State, but the professors who have required requirements for classes, the humbling that they have to go watch certain PA podcasts.

They've told me they have to watch. And, and I've had the students come up and say, we're required to watch yours, but they're really good. We learn a lot. So that, that, that's amazing pressure that I'm hoping for.

Dan Ryan: Okay. Now you've given me a new, uh, a new life goal. I need professors to be referral partners on that, on that front.

Um, okay, so we've made it through covid. We, last year went through a huge pause. Um, interest rates are going crazy right now, so business is never easy. But when you look at your team, Your investor or your clients, the investors behind them, um, what's exciting you most about the future that you see right now?

Teague Hunter: Oh, um, that's, uh, two different answers, but the most exciting thing right now is, uh, ironically growth. Um, and what I mean by that, it hunter, we as a. Company Hunt grew the most out of the last recession. I'm gonna call it the G F C, great financial crisis. So we grew the most in 2010 through 2012. We were a small regional company and after that, after 2012, we had dozen offices across the country.

Um, they're not all still with us, but we learned a lot. And part of that was. Ironically, you think you grow in the busy times, but you don't because you're too busy as a firm. It's in the slower times and the tougher and the little more chaos that people are looking, people are looking to make a change.

Uh, there's just more movement and more change out there. So if you're smart and strategic and have the right relat, That's times when people are comfortable to move. So I can already tell you again, one, we have the time to focus on people not just doing deals. Um, and so I, we, hunter will grow more in the next two years I predict than we did in the last two years.

And I really mean that is team size, not j not really deal volume, that will come. But in team size we, we will. We'll, we'll expand our capital markets group, which has been very lagging, that has to, we will expand in the different markets where we have to, where we have to be. Texas. Uh, we have tons of Florida coverage.

Uh, we'll grow in California as well. Um, we'll grow in Texas, a little bit of the Midwest mid-Atlantic. We, we opened a New York office, a Miami office, an LA office. We have all those people that G joined us in the last several years, or, or hell, we've been in California for over a decade, but we'll grow with people and that's probably the most exciting part.

Because the deal size is very complicated. We can talk about that if you want, but the deal size is very complicated right now.

Dan Ryan: Yeah. So that, again, hearing you just say people, people, people, people, that's the first stakeholder towards great results, right? Yes. Um, yeah. So talk to me about the complication actually, before you talk about the complication.

Um, when you look at who would, who you're recruiting and where you wanna recruit and the, and how the, you want to grow your people. What's the sweet spot for you at Hunter and all of your team? Like where do you find yourself playing in the hotel sandbox, so to speak?

Teague Hunter: Yeah, I we're, we see ourselves really le we're, we're kind of in the middle.

We're a liaison between Wall Street and Main Street in that, you know, upper select service business. Okay. We do some economy, we do some luxury. But we are the liaison between Wall Street and Main Street. When Blackstone wants to go buy a hotel, they're not gonna buy one, they're gonna buy 50. And then, so we're gonna sell your entire company once you're done with it to Blackstone, and then we're gonna reverse the gear from Blackstone's done with it, and they wanna sell.

We're gonna sell those assets down to the individuals. Okay, great. So we sold a bunch of Motel six s. We're currently selling ESAs for. Ironically, we're selling senior housing for them right now, but we're gonna sell a bunch down. We're selling all kinds of, uh, uh, Hamptons and Courtyards and Residence Inns and their limited service out of the Be reit, one of their platforms.

Um, mostly in Florida at the moment. Um, lot in Southeast, but all across the country. So we're constantly selling for those guys. Um, wall Street to Main Street. That's our niche and we think we understand. Niches better than anybody else. We can speak to Main Street. Our d n A is in. We can speak to Wall Street.

Our DNA n a is in Main Street and we think we do that better than anyone else. Um, from a people standpoint, our people of the most exciting thing, as we've said, uh, and we're not so much on trying to fill holes geographically. We are very much on hiring people who fit our culture, and if you fit our culture, Then, and you're part of the team and the whole team signs off.

It's not just Teague, it's the entire team. If the entire team signs off, great. If the entire team does not sign off, then sorry, that's not gonna work for us. Um, we don't just give people a business card and say, Hey, I really hope you make it. No. If you're brought in, you're one of the team, you're one of the family, we joke, you gotta change your last name, get a tattoo.

We allow Hy Nation, but we really take care and to everyone that comes, that we allow into our. So I want to go

Dan Ryan: back to something you said, like when you would first walk into a hotel with your dad when you were a kid and he would, he would smell right, cuz that sense is often overlooked. But I've heard so many entrepreneurs, um, who are in the, uh, just entrepreneurs, they have their own company or people who are looking to acquire companies.

Regarding culture. They say when they can wa when they walk into an office, they can smell the culture if it's good, bad or whatever. So like, and I love that you're talking about people and culture cuz this comes up so much in a lot of these conversations. But when you, as you're looking for new people to come onto your team, when that, when that new recruit comes in or a new prospect of someone that might join your team, what do they smell when they walk into.

One of your offices or, or ex or not even, it's not even about the office. It's like what do they smell when they encounter your team? All the people that have to sign off. Like what, what's that archetype of

Teague Hunter: person? Yeah. I mean, I think they'll tell, uh, right off the bat. I mean, it sort of comes from me, but lots of energy, uh, lots of sophistication.

There's a work hard play hard mentality. You gotta talk to talk and walk the walk. Uh, and a fierce sense of loyalty. So my, my team is fiercely loyal to me, to each other, and I think that, I like to think it comes from me cuz I'm fiercely loyal to them, which again, I, I ultimately learned from my father. He was not someone who was trying to cut me out.

He was someone who's trying to help bring me along and make me better. And the better he made me, the better that made him, and the better that made the entire company. So that's how we treat everybody. Wow.

Dan Ryan: I mean that's, that's wonderful. And then, As far as for anyone listening right now that you're looking to hire and add to your team, um, like if you were to pitch them on something, what would you

Teague Hunter: say?

I mean, I think, I think I would say instead of a, a conference room, we have a golf simulator in the office. Hmm.

Dan Ryan: Great. So for anyone who wants to come join, a huge growing team that has, that works hard and plays hard, but also loves. Reach out to

Teague Hunter: Teague. Correct. And, and the fun part, that wasn't my idea.

That was the team's idea. They, they saw it, uh, Mayan saw it on the, on the, the, the new office space sheet. Hey, here's the cost for the conference room, right? Here's the table, the chairs, the AV equipment, all of that. And he jokingly said, you know, for the cost of that, we could get a golf simulator. And next thing you know, we headed down the path and for that and uh, probably a whole bunch more money.

We have a golf simulator. And how are the callouses on your hands right now? Yeah, we use it every day. You get on a conference call, you put an earbud in, you go in there and swing, hit a few balls, it stretches you out. When you're tired of sitting at a chair for a long time, you get up, it's great. And on the end, on Thursday afternoons, Friday afternoons when the team is winding down the.

Crack a few cocktails and, and challenge each other to golf events.

Dan Ryan: I love it. Okay, so now, um, I want you, the tea I'm talking to right now to magically appear in front of the Teague that was working at i b m before you're deciding to choose to go into the hotel indu, uh, technology to people, to a people and a, a real, a real asset world.

The fatigue that I'm talking to now. You like, what do you, what advice do you have for your younger self? I mean,

Teague Hunter: I think I would say it's gonna be okay. Um, because when you're young, you don't know. The uncertainties are massive and huge, and yes, you gotta have confidence and believe in yourself, which I did, but.

I, I just, you know, everything was sort of a struggle and you're fighting and it's the good energy that you're even having internal struggles of like, what am I doing and why am I doing here? And I was always frustrated with my managers and my bosses cuz they, we weren't go doing enough and we weren't doing it fast enough and we weren't doing it quick enough.

Uh, and I vividly, this is an ego, I shouldn't say this, but I vividly remember sitting. They'd called the entire southeast together and we were in, you know, at a big conference. And the, the, the main guy that ran the southeast, the Tom was up there giving the speech. And I just remember thinking, I can do that better.

And I'm a 24 year old, you know, know it all kid. And I remember thinking, he's not doing it right. I, I, I could do that better. Here's what he's, And part of that is didn't think he had enough energy. I didn't think he was connecting with the people. I didn't think he was talking to directly to us. We're the army.

You gotta en you gotta energize us, let's go. We're, we're here, we're ready. And I just thought he missed all of that. He was al arguably talking up to the analysts and you know, to his bosses. He wasn't talking to us. And I, and so I always sort of flip that around. So

Dan Ryan: he was talking to, he wasn't talking to main.

Teague Hunter: He wasn't, he was talking up, not down. And I, and I, he needed to connect with us, and I think he, and he didn't. Yeah. Well, I, I'm,

Dan Ryan: I actually really love that idea of being. The specialist between Wall Street and Main Street, or the, the expert. I mean, that, that adds so much incredible value as far as what you're doing as a, as a business, um, the people you're trying to attract.

Um, and Teg, if people wanted to learn more about you, ort or, or Hunter like. What, where can they find you? How

Teague Hunter: can they learn more? I mean, uh, we weren't on the internet forever, but Hunter is the company. And then the TIG talks and the TIG walks. Uh, you'll probably learn who we are real fast.

Dan Ryan: Awesome. Well, um, Again, I just, I'm so grateful that you had the time for me here. Um, I, I know that our listeners learned so much. Um, so I just want to, a heartfelt and gracious thank you to you Tue, for being here with me and all of us listeners. Um, so thank you. And Dan,

Teague Hunter: thank you for having me. Uh, and for the bottom of my heart, again, our, our podcast, here's the same, at least, uh, we're doing it.

We're not trying to make money. We're trying to give back to the people, and I think there's a new generation that learns this way. So thank you for all you're doing, uh, and keep up the good work. Thank

Dan Ryan: you. And again, thank you to all of our listeners. If you haven't had a chance to listen to Teague Talks or Teague Walks, just Google it.

You'll find it. I'll have links in the show notes as well. Thank you, and we keep growing every week, so if this changed your opinion on things or helped you learn a little bit more and you think someone else can benefit, please pass it along. It's all word of mouth and we appreciate you and we'll catch you next time.

Thanks, Dan.

Compounding Family Business - Teague Hunter - Defining Hospitality - Episode #103
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