In the nearly four decades since it was founded, Sage Hospitality Group has grown into one of the country’s most prominent, privately held hospitality management, investment and development companies. Amid rapid recovery within the hotel and restaurant industry, Sage is kicking off its 40th year in business focused on growing its portfolio with the nation’s best lifestyle and independent hotels and restaurants in key urban and resort markets.
Founded March 8, 1984, by college classmates Walter Isenberg and Zack Neumeyer – then in their mid-20s with big ideas and deep love for the hospitality business – Sage has built and maintained a reputation as a genuinely purpose-led organization and a valued and trusted partner. The company starts its 40th year as strong as ever, boasting record revenues in 2022 and the addition of 24 hotels to its portfolio – 13 of them independent – since January 2020. Sage also continues its long history of rooting each hotel and restaurant in community citizenship and providing growth and development opportunities to its more than 6,200 associates through scholarships and other learning opportunities.
“As we round out our fourth decade in business, it goes without saying that Sage has matured and changed in significant ways since we signed our first client. However, two things remain constant: our entrepreneurial spirit and our passion for enriching lives, one experience at a time,” said Walter Isenberg, co-founder and CEO of Sage Hospitality Group. “Zack and I are incredibly proud of what we’ve built and the impact that we have had on the hospitality industry over the years. We look forward to continuing to create meaningful places and delivering exceptional experiences for our guests, partners and communities for many years to come.”
Zack Neumeyer, co-founder and chairman of the board, added, “I view Sage as a 40-year-old startup with the courage to innovate and embrace societal and market change built on an extraordinary team, 40 years of experience and tremendous partners.”
ALL IN ON LIFESTYLE
What started as a company with a very simple focus of securing third-party management contracts for hotels of all shapes and sizes, Sage committed a decade ago to grow the company in a very specific direction, focusing on not only managing – but developing and investing in – lifestyle assets in major urban and select resort markets. The strategy has come to fruition in a meaningful way: the company’s portfolio now reflects an evolution to one focused on those sectors with a heavy emphasis on independent hotels. In fact, Sage has more than tripled the Sage Independent Hotel Collection in the last three years alone.
In 2022, Sage gave shape to this strategy by strengthening the company’s vision, setting out to become the nation’s favorite lifestyle hospitality company. In pursuit of that goal, Sage plans to grow its lifestyle hotel and restaurant portfolio by 15% in the coming year and projects that 2023 systemwide revenues will exceed $1 billion for the first time in the company’s history. In addition to being involved in numerous major mixed-use developments in key markets across the U.S., Sage is developing an experience-based guest affinity program to support its independent properties, expanding its owned hotel brands like Catbird and The Maven into new markets and is pursuing the expansion of Sage Restaurant Concepts brands, including Urban Farmer, into fully independent locations.
“If someone would have told me in 1984 that Sage would evolve to the extent that we would find ourselves involved in the types of developments and projects that are shaping neighborhoods and cities, I don’t know if I would have believed it,” Isenberg said. “But that’s exactly where we find ourselves today. We are incredibly particular about the business we want to be in, and that’s lifestyle hotels, independent restaurants and experiential hospitality. We’re about 95% of the way toward our ideal mix, and we have put the talent and resources in place to get us across the finish line.”
A PURPOSE-LED ORGANIZATION
Whether sharing time, resources and skills or through financial contribution, community citizenship is at the center of Sage’s DNA and is brought to life through the company’s mission to enrich lives, one experience at a time.
“Even 39 years ago when Walter and I started the company, we knew that giving back would be a focal point for our organization, not because we thought it would win us business but simply because it was the right thing to do,” said Zack Neumeyer. “Hospitality, at its core, is about taking care of people, and for us that absolutely includes, but goes far beyond, our guests and associates. We wake up every day to make an impact for those around us.”
In addition to general charitable giving which has exceeded $5 million in the company’s 40-year history, Sage has two core impact programs, Dollars for Dreams and Hungry to Help. These programs have collectively raised an additional $3.5 million over the last 20+ years through employee paycheck donations, fundraising events, and corporate contributions. Funds raised through these programs have supported numerous charities through the years, including Camp Southern Ground, World Central Kitchen, No Kid Hungry, National Jewish Health and hundreds of local charitable organizations in the cities where Sage has operated over the course of its history. Sage’s associates also volunteer thousands of hours annually in their local communities, and hotels and restaurants make in-kind donations to local charitable organizations in excess of $1 million each year.
In honor of the company’s mission, Sage has pledged to give $400,000 in donations from March 2023 to March 2024, representing $10,000 for each of the 40 years the company has been in business. Funds raised through this effort will be distributed to deserving charitable organizations, directly impacting the lives of people in the communities where Sage associates work and live. The company and its associates across the country have also committed to volunteering an incredible 40,000 hours in their communities in celebration of this milestone year.
With a strong commitment to strategic growth and corporate social responsibility, Sage Hospitality Group enters its 40th year in business poised for continued success. To learn more about Sage and its expanding portfolio of more than 110 hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and entertainment venues from coast to coast, visit www.sagehospitalitygroup.com.
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