Just weeks into his term, the 36-year-old chief is crafting his vision for the company, which includes growing from 17 hotels to 40 hotels in less than 10 years; expanding its portfolio to include more lifestyle and full-service brands; investing in tools and technologies to improve efficiencies, optimizing its capacity and profitability; and continuously enhancing the award-winning company culture for the betterment of employees and guests.

“Ben’s journey to CEO is a testament to his dedication and expertise in the hospitality industry,” Cargen said. “His experience at every level of the organization has positioned him to lead Hospitality America’s next chapter. Ben’s strategic vision and dedication to excellence will continue to position Hospitality America as an industry leader among third-party operators.”

Rapid Rise to the Top

Campbell began his hospitality career 15 years ago, working as a Department Manager with Delaware North Companies Inc. (assisting at the Carolina Panthers Stadium and then managing the company’s Concessions/Catering Departments). Journeying on to hotels, he served as Reservations and Revenue Manager for three Palisociety Hotels before working as Revenue Manager for OLS Hotels and Resorts (now Springboard Hospitality). In 2015, he joined Hospitality America, starting as Director of Sales, then held multiple General Manager positions until he was promoted to Regional Director of Operations and then Chief Operating Officer. It was in the COO role that Campbell began conceptualizing an ambitious vision for the company’s future.

“Throughout my career, I have always strived to be better,” Campbell said. “I firmly believe that when you see an opportunity, act on it – whether it’s securing third-party management contracts, helping guests, or recognizing and rewarding employees. Career development is extremely important. If there is one thing I want to project onto our associates, it’s the importance of learning something new every day. When that happens, promoting from within the company is a natural progression. While I plan to remain in the CEO role for quite some time, I would be honored to help grow the next successor.”

The Future is Bright

After attending the 35th Annual Hunter Hotel Investment Conference last week, Campbell said he left the event knowing that the hotel industry is extremely positive, and that Hospitality America is in an enviable position for growth.

“People feel optimistic,” he said. “The hotel brands are reporting that their pipeline of units sold is greater than ever before. That said, there are not as many shovels in the ground as there could be. We are seeing a diversity of commercial real estate firms entering the hospitality space, such as multi-family, and that is where Hospitality America has a significant advantage. With Hospitality America, owners and developers get the scale of a bigger company with the individual attention of a smaller management company. We bring financial capabilities, scalability, and ease to just pick up the phone, call the CEO, and get individual attention.

“On behalf of Hospitality America, I want to express our gratitude for Mr. Cargen’s years of outstanding leadership and mentorship,” he said. “I’m committed to his legacy, achieving our strategic objectives and maintaining our position as a top place to work.”

Campbell’s advice to young people entering the hotel business is this: Work hard, learn much, and don’t be afraid to speak up.

Barb Worcester