Shaner Hotels prides itself on delivering extraordinary experiences for its guests for more than 35 years.
By Bianca Herron
Shaner Hotels has been a leading hotel developer, owner and operator in the global hospitality industry for more than 35 years. It all started in the 1970s when brothers Lance and Fred Shaner began investing in real estate.
Today, Shaner Hotels is a high-quality hotel management company with 56 full-service, select-service, extended-stay and resort properties with more than 5,000 rooms in 17 states and two countries. “Through 35 years of hard work we have grown from a small company to a global one,” President Plato Ghinos says proudly. “We are disciplined and learn something every day.”
CEO and Chairman of the Shaner Companies Lance Shaner attributes the State College, Pa.-based company’s success to a focus on long-term profitability, resourceful employees and a commitment to meeting the needs of its customers.
Ghinos agrees. “Our competitors in the industry look at it as a short-term real estate play,” he says. “In every city we enter we not only want to be good citizens, but also have the best hotel at the best location and be the best employer in town. We don’t build properties and sell them. We build properties to maintain them and cultivate our relationship with the community around us.”
Shaner Hotels has a long-standing tradition of giving back to its communities. “We are passionately committed to community service and encourage our associates to embrace this commitment as well,” Ghinos says.
Shaner Hotels gives back in various ways, including by offering employment to locals. The company also has its JB Griffin Memorial Foundation, which is managed by its employees. “The foundation hosts the Shaner Annual Golf Classic, and we raise more than $100,000 each year,” Ghinos says. “We distribute the money to local nonprofits chosen by our employees.”
Additionally, Ghinos notes that Shaner Hotels wouldn’t be the company it is today without its 3,000 employees. “Everything starts with employees,” he says. “If you take care of them right, they will take care of the customer.”
Training also plays a critical role in the company’s operations. “It is deeply rooted in our company,” Ghinos explains. “Our HR department coordinates it and we have training both at the corporate level and in the field. Plus, we work very closely with the hotel brands we are affiliated with to ensure our staff is up to par on their training. Training is a constant learning exercise for us all.”
The company’s vendors also play a role in Shaner Hotels’ success. “We’d rather buy things once, such as equipment,” Ghinos says. “That is why quality is not only important to us, but also warranties and the service from our contractors and equipment vendors.
“Just like our properties, we want the things we buy to have longevity,” he continues. “So we remain very engaged with our vendors, as well as the brands we partner with because they provide us with standards we have to meet.”
Shaner Hotels prides itself on keeping its properties up to date with renovations and cutting-edge technology. “We spend approximately $10 million per year renovating and upgrading our properties,” Ghinos says. “It’s a rotating program to keep all of our properties up to par.”
The company recently upgraded the technology in its corporate offices to remain efficient and seamless in its operations. “We have a new Oracle system, which enhances our payroll, accounting and HR systems,” Ghinos explains. “Automation is key in our industry to get quick and accurate data. It’s a huge investment from the corporate level to keep on innovating and keep up with all of the new cutting-edge systems available today.
“As the market changes, the customers and employees change, too,” he adds. “So we have to constantly upgrade, keeping all of our properties fresh, renovated and up to date with technology. This also circles back to our employees and keeping them up to date with training, and most importantly, the customers’ needs. We always have to ensure the product meets the customers’ expectations.”
Ghinos has been with Shaner Hotels for 25 years and says he is most proud of the company’s reputation, hard work and discipline. “We have remained an innovative leader, and success is never permanent,” he says. “We have to keep adjusting, innovating and selecting the right employees. We feel strongly it’s the human element that really makes the difference.”
As Shaner Hotels moves forward, it is slated to open three to five properties in the next 12 months. “We’re going into good markets and building quality products with quality brands,” Ghinos concludes. “It’s all about strategic growth, including the right people and right brands for each market.”