Partnering with Roy Winegardner, John Q. Hammons purchases 10 Holiday Inn franchises and selects Cincinnati, Ohio for the first location. This is the first step in a career that will span five decades, and include over 175 hotel developments. He quickly learns important lessons about franchising, site selection and property development. Over the next several years, John Q. Hammons will use this instruction to become a leading figure within the hospitality industry.
In what many of their associates would describe as an unlikely partnership, John Q. Hammons and Roy Winegardner form an official business venture to develop more properties throughout the country. John Q. Hammons is responsible for locating sites and handling the financial transactions, while Roy oversees construction and operations. Over the course of their partnership, the two will develop 67 Holiday Inn hotels.
Though maintaining his partnership with Roy Winegardner, John Q. Hammons forms his own hotel development company, John Q. Hammons Hotels, Inc. With this new company, John Q. Hammons pursues development using his own strategies and instincts for site selection. The company, based in Springfield, Missouri, will maintain many of the same founding principles as it grows and develops into the independent leader in full-service hotels.
The partnership sold 23 hotels to Holiday Inn for $50-60 million, making John Q. Hammons and Roy Winegardner among the largest shareholders in Holiday Inn. Winegardner eventually became the chairman of Holiday Inn.
Recognizing a developing opportunity for regional conference and event centers, John Q. Hammons Hotels constructs its first hotel featuring expansive meeting space. The focus on meeting and event business allows the company to prosper even when leisure travel declines. Most of the company’s properties will be developed into the premier upscale meeting and event facility in its market.
By 1979, John Q. Hammons is a driving force within the hospitality industry, opening his 50th hotel between his management and development companies. John Q. Hammons’ vision of the future and direction of the business is right on target. His significant donations to worthy causes is true to his philosophy of giving back to the community. He is honored by having his name associated with the Hammons Heart Institute, Southwest Missouri State University’s Hammons Student Center and a multitude of other fine institutions.
Maintaining a focus on upscale lodging, John Q. Hammons Hotels constructs its first hotel featuring a stunning open atrium design. From 1980 to the present, the company focuses on developing properties in this style. Many atriums feature.
In a move that benefits both the company and hotel guests, John Q. Hammons Hotels opens its first Embassy Suites Hotel, now a part of the Hilton family. The all-suite product, combined with soaring atriums and lots of meeting space, provides guests with an unrivaled hotel experience. Over the next several years, the Embassy Suites brand will become a hallmark of the John Q. Hammons portfolio. John Q. Hammons becomes one of the largest franchisees in the world, with a reputation for extremely high-quality Embassy Suites hotels.
Raising additional capital to continue building his hotels, John Q. Hammons sells 6 million shares for over $100 million to the public. John Q. Hammons retains 77% ownership of the company. Meanwhile, a board of directors is instated and a first-class senior management team is brought on to help the company meet new challenges. John Q. Hammons Hotels remains a publicly traded company for more than a decade.
John Q. Hammons adds yet another of the country’s premier hotel brands to the ever-growing portfolio. The Marriott brand is recognized around the world for providing not only a comfortable overnight stay, but also a beautiful setting for galas, wedding and events. When coupled with the John Q. Hammons commitment to expansive and stunning meeting space, the partnership becomes an instant success.
With numerous hotels located in premier destinations featuring the finest amenities, John Q. Hammons Hotels has now developed two resorts that focus on providing a rejuvenating stay. Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri and World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, are platforms for a new style of John Q. Hammons Hotels property, leading to the development of other outstanding resorts.
The Renaissance Suites Charlotte Hotel opens, adding a prestigious new Marriott International brand to the John Q. Hammons Hotels property portfolio. With a commitment to enhancing the experience of every guest, the brand’s philosophy of personalized service blends well with the JQH brand. The Charlotte hotel quickly becomes a successful property.
The fateful events of September 11, 2001, cause repercussions throughout the entire travel industry. However, John Q. Hammons Hotels remains faithful to its commitment to customer service and quality properties. As a result, the company emerges from the post- 9/11 recession stronger than ever while competitors attempt to make up for their cutbacks.
For helping define the industry in such unique ways, John Q. Hammons is awarded the title of “Corporate Hotelier of the World” by HOTELS magazine, an annual award that recognizes high-quality service and standards. Confirming itself once again as an industry innovator, John Q. Hammons Hotels opens the Embassy Suites Hot Springs with the company’s first full-service spa.
In a move that will allow the company to focus on hotel operations and development instead of shareholder expectations, John Q. Hammons Hotels returns to private ownership. The company continues its steady growth, remaining the premier independent hotel management and development company in the world and maintains its commitment to outstanding service and great accommodations.
The company now manages 65 hotels in 23 states, with more than 9,000 associates. The portfolio includes 15,000 guest rooms, 2 million square feet of event space, and the numerous restaurants, spas and golf courses associated with its properties. And from the company’s perspective, that’s only the beginning.
In 2007, there was $300 million invested in 7 hotels under construction, and 19 more in the planning stages. John Q. Hammons was recognized for his contributions to the industry and to the community with the prestigious ALIS (American Lodging Investment Summit) Lifetime Achievement Award.
Two thousand eight was be a banner year for John Q. Hammons as he celebrated his 50th year in the hotel business and opened his 200th hotel development. Five full-service hotels opened with an additional 10 under construction or in the planning stages throughout the year.
While the hospitality industry at large struggles during challenging economic times, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts continues building the best portfolio in the industry, adding the Embassy Suites Hotel, Spa and Conference Center in Loveland, Colorado; the Embassy Suites Omaha - La Vista Hotel & Conference Center in La Vista, Nebraska; and the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel, adjacent to Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. The company’s family of Embassy Suites properties is recognized in the Embassy Suites excellence awards with 11 of the top 20 Embassy Suites hotels, including, for the fourth consecutive year, the #1 Embassy Suites in the world.
In 2010, John Q. Hammons Hotels continues to establish deep roots in Texas by opening the Courtyard by Marriott Dallas - Allen at The company’s newest hotel development is the Courtyard by Marriott Dallas-Allen, Texas, which opens for business in 2010, bringing to the city of Allen a stellar hotel property. As new Chief Executive Officer, Jacqueline Dowdy re-affirms the company’s dedication to the John Q. Hammons vision and legacy. Once again, the company sweeps the Embassy Suites excellence awards with 10 of the top 20 Embassy Suites hotels, and celebrating the fifth consecutive year of owning and managing the #1 Embassy Suites Hotel in the world.
Mr. Hammons died peacefully on May 26, 2013 at the age of 94. His greatest passions were hotel development and sports, and he remained active in the business until the age of 91. Over the course of his impressive 52-year career in the lodging industry, Mr. Hammons developed 210 hotel properties in 40 states and was honored with numerous lifetime achievement awards.
John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts is the largest private independent owner and hotel management company in the United States, with a portfolio that includes more than 75 hotels representing nearly 19,000 guest rooms in 24 states.
John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts is one of the largest private independent owner and hotel management companies in the United States, with a portfolio that includes 75 hotels representing nearly 19,000 guest rooms in 24 states. Founded on the extraordinary vision of John Q. Hammons, and built on his legacy of excellence, we have become one of the most recognized and award-winning companies in the hotel industry. Today we maintain a long tradition of quality with a vibrant passion for the future. Our hotels continue to lead the industry, from our resort and spa locations to our large innovative meeting venues.
Built to be the Best, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts continue to set the standard in hospitality management and hotel development.