Mason Inn Task Force to make drastic changes to hotel’s business model

The Mason Inn has experienced financial difficulty (photo courtesy The Mason Inn).
The Mason Inn has experienced financial difficulty (photo courtesy The Mason Inn).

Since its opening, the Mason Inn has lost roughly $11 million dollars. Jennifer Wagner Davis, Mason's senior vice president for administration and finance, estimates that the Mason Inn loses between $2 to $2.5 million annually. Davis said, in regards to the lost money, “we have taken it all out of the auxiliary enterprise reserves and we are now below our level of reserves that we need to run the institution appropriately.”

With no hope of recovering financially with the current business model, President Angel Cabrera called upon Davis and other representatives to form a Mason Inn Task Force to find alternative business models for the Inn.

This is the second task force President Cabrera has formed as Mason's president. They first met in the summer.

“The first task force was set up to look at what options were available during the summer," Davis said. "Some of those options we weren’t able to implement, and so the President requested a second meeting.”

This second task force is focusing on alternative ideas for the Inn and is responsible for providing a report, including the best alternatives to the current business model.

The task force consists of 15 representatives ranging from faculty and staff to a Board of Visitors member and leaders from both the administrative and academic side.

“The group was brought together both because they’ve had experiences with the Inn and can also think, ‘big picture,’” Davis said.

Gregg Toney, who is the Assistant Vice President of Auxiliary Enterprises and part of the task force, brought up that, review-wise, the Inn does exceptionally well. The Mason Inn ranks third out of 22 hotels in the area and has overall great reviews. Davis suggests that in the new business models, the task force wants to continue to utilize the good assets about the facility.

“We want to try to find a win-win in repurposing some of the really, incredibly cool parts of the facility,” Davis said. “It will need change and change is hard, but I think students and faculty and staff expect us to manage the business enterprise well.”

As far as answers about what is to be done, the task force has decided on six or seven possible ideas for the Inn and now have the responsibility of writing up a formal report with those options for review by President Cabrera. It’s expected to be finished in 10 to 15 business days.

Davis hinted that one of the possible business strategies would be to transform the Inn into “premium” housing for students, but confirmation won’t happen until the report is published.

"By the end of the calendar year, the President will look to make a decision about an agreed upon approach,” Davis said.

The implementation of the decision, however, is suggested to start around the summer of next year.

No votes yet
Student Media Group: