Union Club Hotel

White Lodging turns focus to urban market properties

The lobby of the Union Club Hotel at Purdue. (Photo submitted by White Lodging)

Merrillville-based White Lodging recently closed on an agreement to sell 25 suburban management contracts.

The transaction, combined with planned individual suburban hotel sales, supports White Lodging’s multi-year strategy to exit suburban markets altogether, the company said in a statement. The company instead will focus its resources on its urban portfolio.

“This strategic portfolio shift further defines our position in the industry and reinforces our focus on urban luxury and lifestyle hotels with independent destination restaurants,” said Bruce White, founder and chairman of White Lodging. “In a sea of commodity hotel properties and expanding management portfolios, we are positioned to create the highest level of guest experiences and an environment where associates thrive.” 

White Lodging said it is investing in the creation of “industry-leading career development and training programs, as well as enhancing its relationship with Purdue University.”

“At the same time we are investing in our associates, our opportunity and capacity for new hotel development is targeted and robust,” said Ken Barrett, president of White Lodging. “We expect to continue to build the very best lifestyle hotels that offer exceptional food, beverage and service experiences.”     

White Lodging’s core markets include Indianapolis; Austin, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Chicago, Denver, San Antonio, Nashville and Charlotte.

White Lodging said it is making a significant investment in revising its training, development and mentorship programs to better align with a modern post-pandemic workforce dominated by Millennials and Generation Z. The company’s revised portfolio is tailored to support clearer career paths for associates.  

“We want to show associates that – from the day they are hired to the time they retire – hospitality is an exciting career, and one that can work with a modern lifestyle,” said Jean-Luc Barone, White Lodging CEO, hospitality management. “We are developing real curriculum and programs to meet the growing demands and thirst for personal development that this workforce is looking for.”

White Lodging continues to enhance its relationship with Purdue University. This includes the recent transition of The Union Club Hotel at Purdue into the first student-run Autograph Collection hotel.

The Union Club Hotel serves as a hands-on learning laboratory for Purdue hospitality students who spend time working and learning about hotel and restaurant operations while earning college credits. Earlier this year, Purdue renamed the hospitality program the White Lodging – J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

In 2021, White Lodging opened four new premium brand urban hotels and nine locally relevant food and beverage concepts, including the J.W. Marriott Charlotte, Canopy San Antonio Riverwalk, Austin Marriott Downtown at the convention center and the Moxy Austin University.  


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