Springboard Hospitality is growing even in the midst of the global pandemic


Springboard Hospitality, a locally owned hotel management company, is growing its portfolio, rebranding, and investing in new technology even in the midst of the global pandemic.

Over the past six months, Springboard has added three new hotel properties,including Ohia Studio Suites in Waikiki, with several more additions underway. Other recent additions have been in Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles and Portland, Ore., and leisure destinations like Sedona, Ariz.; Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.; and Jackson, Wyo. The company is now operating in 10 states and has 35 properties, seven of them in Hawaii.

Until about two weeks ago, the company was called OLS Hotels &Resorts. Led by Hawaii-based tech entrepreneur Ben Rafter, the company changed its name to Springboard.

“When COVID hit we made the somewhat painful decision of saying let’s use what is a disaster for the industry,” Rafter said. “Instead of reducing the corporate team
everyone sacrificed a little bit and we accelerated our goals, including the launch of Springboard. We’re not entrenched and we’re trying to grow through this crisis. We want to get our hotel workers back to work.”

The company’s decision to keep its entire leadership team intact is rare in the COVID-19 world, where the difficulties experienced by the hospitality industry have become legend. According to a State of the Hotel Industry Analysis released Aug. 31 by the American Hotel &Lodging Association, six months into the pandemic four out of 10 hotel employees were not working. The report says that occupancy at 65% of U.S. hotels was at or below 50% and it was even lower for hotels in the hardest-hit urban areas. Most hotels still aren’t breaking even.

Rafter, who sits on the Hawaii Tourism Authority board, is well aware of the statistics and the reality, which he has seen at his own properties. Still, he’s no