Creative Lodging Solutions - Maverick of the Year
Company: Creative Lodging Solutions, Lexington, KY
Company Description: Creative Lodging Solutions (CLS) is an award-winning corporate lodging management company that specializes in providing customized lodging programs for business travelers. CLS assists clients with lodging expense control, travel policy adherence, and consolidated billing while offering negotiated rates for hotel reservations and corporate housing. They’ve reserved over 13 million traveler nights.
Nomination Category: Management Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Maverick of the Year - Business Services Industries
Nomination Title: Michael Tetterton, CEO and Founder
Tell the story about what this nominated executive has achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Describe the impact he or she has had on your organization. Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.
Michael Tetterton, founder and CEO of Creative Lodging Solutions (CLS), is a visionary entrepreneur and leader. Under his direction, Creative Lodging Solutions has grown from three employees and one client when first launched in 2002 into an award-winning $144.6 million travel management company.
Tetterton became an entrepreneur at an early age, starting his first company at 19. He went on to a successful career in the hotel industry and as VP of Operations for StudioPlus helped triple the size of the company and prepare it for a successful IPO. Then in 1999, Tetterton launched his own hotel brand, Home-Towne Suites, alongside a hotel management company, Home-Towne Hospitality. Under the Home-Towne Suites flag, he built twelve hotels before selling the brand in 2013. The management company, Home-Towne Hospitality, continues to oversee operations for hotels nationwide.
Tetterton established his award-winning travel management company, Creative Lodging Solutions, in 2002. Always looking for a new venture, Tetterton expanded into the transportation industry in 2015 with the acquisition of a logistics company, creating MM327 Holding Co., and then co-founded Blue Ark Logistics in the spring of 2016.
Tetterton believes that serving others is a noble profession and has developed a corporate culture of giving back to the community with Creative Lodging Solutions contributing over $59,000 toward local causes in 2016. Employee benefits include one week of paid community service time and employees are encouraged to volunteer with non-profits of their choice. CLS was honored to receive a We CARE Award for community service under Tetterton’s leadership.
Creative Lodging Solutions provides customized lodging programs for business travelers, focusing on long-term and project based stays. The organization assists corporate clients with lodging expense control, travel policy adherence, and consolidated billing while offering negotiated rates for hotel reservations and corporate housing. CLS aggressively negotiates hotel and corporate apartment rates, saving clients an average of 22% off GDS rates and unrestricted best available rates.
In 2016, Creative Lodging Solutions continued to take on additional clients after Tetterton expanded the organization into new 68,000 square foot offices following a $5.2M re-fit the previous fall. They increased their client base by 21% while improving client retention by 4%.
Despite the lagging economy of recent years, CLS heavily invested in future growth by adding more jobs and new technologies. Tetterton realized the potential of investing profits back in the company and capitalized from the unique opportunities the economic conditions provided by offering a win/win solution to clients through business process outsourcing. His investment paid off and resulted in the sustained growth levels of 2016.
Last year, Tetterton began putting in place the workflow and architecture for a new $2 million proprietary reservations system software. This system will replace the existing proprietary software later this year. It will offer additional functionalities which will enable expanded travel management services such as online booking and allow for additional service offerings. The new system is a key component of Tetterton’s plan for CLS’ next stage of growth.
With the close of 2016, Creative Lodging Solutions reached another milestone when revenue exceeded $144 million. CLS’ compound annual growth rate since its launch in 2002 is 42% and the organization has won multiple awards for its fast-growth. Tetterton continues to increase CLS’ market share while developing innovative ways to improve and expand the services provided to clients.
Tetterton was named the Entrepreneur/Founder of the Year Gold Winner at both the 2016 CEO World Awards and Golden Bridge Awards and presented the 2016 Entrepreneur Award by Business Intelligence Group Awards for Business.
Creative Lodging Solutions was named the Company of Year Gold Winner at the 2016 Golden Bridge Awards and the Employer of the Year Gold Winner in the 2016 Stevie Awards for Great Employers. They’ve also been named one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky seven times and named to the Inc. 5000 List of the most entrepreneurial and fastest growing companies the past seven years.
In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this nominated executive since the beginning of 2016.
• Established a fast-growth path for Creative Lodging Solutions and increased annual revenue to $144.6 million in 2016
• Led Creative Lodging Solutions to a 42% CAGR since its launch
• 21% year-over-year client growth while improving client retention by 4% at CLS
• Began investing in a new proprietary reservations system software which will enable expanded services and fuel CLS’ next stage of growth
• Expanded into the transportation industry and co-founded Blue Ark Logistics in 2016
• Entrepreneur/Founder of the Year and CEO of the Year at the 2016 CEO World Awards
• Entrepreneur/Founder of the Year at the 2016 Golden Bridge Awards
• Presented 2016 Entrepreneur Award by Business Intelligence Group Awards for Business
• Executive of the Year Silver Winner in the 2016 International Business Awards
• Made the Inc. 5000 List of the most entrepreneurial and fastest growing companies for the seventh year