One man’s dream to become hotelier will finally come true with the Sept. 1 opening of Days Inn on Guam.

But the road to ownership was dashed five years ago when his offer to purchase the Hotel Palmridge in Maite was rejected. Now he is thankful that offer was thwarted because he has wound up with a better deal backed by one of the country’s leading branding companies.

Bruce A. McKenzie is well-known in Micronesia as chairman for Venture Transportation Corp. dba Budget Car rental of Micronesia. McKenzie told the Journal that his dream of owning a hotel got started in a strange way but recently closed on terms that will bring a well-known hotel chain name to Guam as well as long-term options to bring other famous brands to Micronesia.

“I used the relationship Cendant Corp. has with Budget to set up the franchising agreement to bring Days Inn to Guam ” McKenzie said. “One must first understand that Cendant is a company that owns nothing but franchising rights to such well-known companies as Century 21 Real Estate Howard Johnson Travelodge and Ramada Inn as well as literally hundreds more.”

McKenzie said that Cendant Corp. owns and operates trademarks and then finds property owners and investors to operate nationally recognized car rental real estate and hotel and restaurant properties.

This artist’s drawing shows how the renovated and rebranded hotel will look with a porte-cochere


Joseph R. Kane Jr. president and chief executive officer of Days Inn Hotels told the Journal that he welcomes McKenzie as a owner operator of the franchise on Guam and Micronesia to the over 1 900 other Days Inn locations around the world.

“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr. McKenzie to our ever-growing family of franchisors located around the world and anticipate Days Inn’s first move into the Micronesia area will be a successful venture ” Kane said. “He is now part of a unique family that prides itself in service to our customers who deserve a clean place to rest at a reasonable price.”

McKenzie said that along with the franchise for Days Inn he also has first development rights for Guam and Micronesia across Cendant Corp.’s entire product line.

“Days Inn is the first one I will bring in while I am also considering Howard Johnson Ramada Inn and Travelodge but that will take some time ” McKenzie said. “My interests are not just this one project but are a little broader than that.”

McKenzie said that the Days Inn project will be completed in stages with a new porte-cochere being constructed which is an awning for the protection of arriving and departing guests from the weather.

“The property as it stands today is requiring a complete revamp of all customer-touch points so there will be all new carpet drapes furniture wall coverings and designer creature-feature items that will be installed by our Sept. 1 opening ” McKenzie said. “In hotel lingo what we are doing is refurbishing and replacing everything the customer sees and touches.”

Days Inn McKenzie said has several different packages for the type of hotel desired whether it is a roadside airport or business-traveler property.

“I’m going after the upper airport/business traveler market for the type of feel and accommodations in this hotel ” McKenzie said. “I realized from day one that this is not going to be a tourist hotel but we will have a constant shuttle to and from the airport with a large van or small bus.”

He envisions that the majority of business will be from airline and industry service personnel as well as the military market. “We plan to have a high military presence because we are going to be directly tied into car-rental companies which are something that is new here.”

McKenzie plans to market Days Inn through his relationship with Budget and agreements with Avis Thrifty National Alamo and Payless car-rental companies. “There has never been a property on Guam that I know of that has formed alliances with rental-car companies so now when someone wants to book a room we will inquire as to their need for a car and vice versa so it is a new way of helping the customer.”

McKenzie said he did not want to pinpoint where his pricing would be but did say they will begin marketing a car and a room for $99 as an introductory opening special.

There are 22 staff positions planned for the property which does not include the restaurant. He plans to lease the restaurant which he envisions an American-style coffee shop. McKenzie said he is actively looking for a general manager and hopes to hire locally. “I know the ins and outs of the car-rental business but this is the first hotel I’ve owned; so I need someone with knowledge in that aspect of the hospitality industry and I don’t want to become a restaurant owner.”

McKenzie explained that by the time the hotel is renovated with the ‘turn-key’ package he has purchased from Days Inn and the cost of the property he bought from Jones & Guerrero Co. the total value will be $5.42 million. “I don’t want to go into other specifics but to say that I did try to buy the property five years ago and I’m happy it was rejected because it was at a time that things were beginning to get bad. Now the visitors are coming back the military is increasing its presence on Guam and I got a very good price from J&G who had bought it after the previous Korean builders and owners basically abandoned it after the crash of KAL Flight 801 ” McKenzie said.

“All in all it has worked out very well and I’m really excited because this is the first mid-priced hotel with international recognition to be developed on Guam insofar as I can remember so its exciting. MBJ