With 57 rooms, The Graham Georgetown is the ideal size for Legacy Hotel Group to integrate personalized marketing initiatives, including specialized, curated travel experiences.
WASHINGTON—Maintaining the integrity of a neighborhood gem while incorporating personalized elements to make every guest feel unique is no easy task.
However, brother and sister duo Dwight and Lynn Curry are up for the challenge with The Graham Georgetown, a 57-room boutique in Washington, D.C. The Currys, owners of Legacy Hotel Group, acquired the property from Mast Capital in June for $37 million.
The Arkansas-based Currys are third-generation hotel owners with a portfolio consisting mostly of branded properties. The Graham is Legacy Hotel Group’s second independent property. Dwight Curry spoke to Hotel News Now about The Graham, and said the acquisition is an opportunity to cater to a different type of traveler than the company usually does.
“The market is changing … but the business traveler is still brand-loyal,” Curry said. “In a market like Georgetown, which is a lot more specialized, we will have our fair share of business travel, but most of our traffic will be leisure-based or related to government. That’s why we feel it’s not as critical [to be affiliated with a brand].”
Travelers expect and want to experience the neighborhoods they visit, Curry added.
“That’s what I love about The Graham – it reflects Georgetown,” he said.
And while the design aesthetic of The Graham stays true to the essence of its neighborhood, the owners see a lot of potential to enhance the charm of the property.
Curating travel experiences with ‘GPS’
When they first stepped into The Graham, Dwight and Lynn Curry were fascinated with the property’s interior, its finish and the intimate feeling it emanates. To the duo, The Graham Georgetown instantly felt like home.
Now, their goal is to invoke that feeling in every visitor to the hotel.
“We’re adding a concierge service called GPS—Graham Personalized Service,” Curry said. “The goal is to make pre-arrival communication as great as we can.”
The staff will work to understand guests’ interests before they arrive, Curry said.
“If someone comes in, and they’re into the arts or antiques or history, for example, we want to personalize their itineraries so they can experience that in the area. We want to make them feel like they’re a friend who is coming to visit,” he said.
The Currys also plan on elevating the level of personalization by having the staff take note of guests’ preferences while on-site.
“The next time you check into the hotel, we’ll already know that you like cosmopolitans,” Curry said. “Instead of having standard drinks waiting for you at the mini-bar, we’ll have a cosmopolitan there for you instead.”
In a property with only 57 rooms, it’s easier to create these personal interactions, he added.
Expanding on F&B offerings
The biggest opportunity for growth, however, lies in the on-property restaurant, The Alex.
The Graham’s rooftop bar, The Observatory, sees a lot of business from local, young professionals, according to Curry.
“It caters to the after-hours crowd,” he said. “We’ve got some nights that are themed, and different entertainers come in.”
That’s not quite the case with The Alex, but the owners are hoping they can recreate that lively vibe within the restaurant.
“We are looking for ways to tap into the same crowd, while providing a unique indoor experience,” Curry said.
Legacy Hotel Group is kicking off the revitalization of The Alex with some small design work and meetings with consultants regarding enhancements.
“We see our concept focusing on craft cocktails,” Curry said. “We also applied for and received our entertainment endorsement with our liquor license. It’s very preliminary, but we are looking to do some live music.”
While the new owners work on enhancing The Alex, they are thinking of ways to keep the momentum going with The Observatory.
“We’d like to make it more of a year-round use,” Curry said of the rooftop bar, which closes at the end of each summer. “We want to extend its season by finding ways to enclose it, and build on the greatness that’s already there.”
Looking at long-term possibilities
Curry views his hotel portfolio much like his stock portfolio.
“I try to keep the portfolio balanced, and I like to look at the long-term potential of the asset,” he said. “We look at everything with a 10- to 20-year range in mind.”
The group’s next acquisition will likely be a corporate property, but Curry is already considering possibilities of expansion with The Graham.
“I would love to grow the Graham name, or acquire another property under the same umbrella. Alexander Graham Bell was local to this area. It would be great to move into another city and find a property that’s unique to that area,” he said.