Ron Glancy
News / Ron Glancy is the first to be inducted into the RH Hall of Fame

Ron has served Raines Hospitality for over 12 years and is still going strong.

News / Ron Glancy is the first to be inducted into the RH Hall of Fame

James McCoy (Dir. of Digital Marketing): Ron, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I want to respect your time so we’ll just dive right in. Tell me how you first started with Raines.

Ron Glancy (Sr. VP of Operations): I opened the Hampton Inn on Highway 52 for a company called Hospitality Management Associates. I opened that hotel in 1989, and Mark and Rock and them put together a company called Raldex, with some investors, and they purchased my hotel. I had known Mark because he and Rock worked at, they owned the Texaco gas station right next door, and I would go over there every day and order a Hungry Man's Special. It was three hot dogs and a 32-ounce drink for $1.99.

I spent a lot of time with Mark and them. They ended up buying my hotel, and we became really close through that process. I left, had an opportunity to go develop two hotels, one hotel at the time, but it ended up being two hotels in Sumter. I left in 1996, in January, to go do that. When I left, Mark was the president of Raldex.

In the meantime, while I was running the hotel in Sumter for ten years, the two hotels in Sumter for ten years, Mark split off from Raldex and started Raines Hospitality and opened the Courtyard. We would talk often. I left Sumter to go open the Inn at USC in 2005 and was there for three years. In May of 2008, Mark and Grey and David came over and interviewed me or had lunch with me and then offered me the opportunity to be the Vice-President of Operations for Raines, to go through a big growth period.

That all moved really fast. They came over. We had lunch at the Blue Marlin, and they made an offer that same day. Basically, I gave two weeks notice to IMIC Hotels that managed the Inn at USC, and I was in Florence May 26. My first day at the Courtyard was Monday, May 26th, which happened to be Memorial Day.

James McCoy: You mentioned earlier that there was a little bit of a lull between the Courtyard and then Hotel Florence. Obviously, things have progressed from there. Can you speak into a little bit about what it was about getting Hotel Florence up and off the ground? I know that was a process in and of itself. What do you think it was from the time that the doors opened until now that has really pushed? What was it about that particular project?

Ron Glancy: I think at the time it was more about the economy and banks and lending. Ironically, if I'm not mistaken, the first conversations with Raines Hospitality to get involved with Hotel Florence took place at the Courtyard at our grand reopening. We held a party, and Tim Norwood was there, and some of the other partners that were working on this Hotel Florence thing. You're talking 2010. It takes a good, from idea to opening, a good two or three years. Hotel Florence was a much more unique situation with the partnerships and what we were trying to do and also taking a hotel, taking a building and making it a hotel, such an old building that you had to modernize the rooms and make it something that people would really want to go and stay at, to become a Hotel of the Year type place.

I think after that, the economy really got to the point to where banks were willing to lend to hotels. Grey and Chris Scott and Jay Hamm started Springbridge Development, which really got us rolling on the development side of things. I think Mark, Grey's dad, was probably comfortable opening one {hotel} every five or six years, and that's probably what we did over the first one, but then when you look at when Courtyard opened, which was 1998 maybe, and then 2002 for Spring Hill, and then 2009 for Residence, you can see about what it was in between. But with Grey's ability to form partnerships and get investors and use the development arm, we just took off.

After opening the Towneplace in '15 and we opened the Spring Hill Suites Mount Pleasant a year later. We got to where we opened one every six years to one every four years to one every three years to one a year. Then in 2017, we opened two hotels. In 2018, we opened a couple hotels, then in 2019, we just got on a roll. There was one period of time from July of 2018 to June of 2019 that we opened five hotels in an 11-month period.

James McCoy: Wow.

Ron Glancy: That was just breakneck pace. It was going from one to the next. It's hard to explain to anybody what it's like to every day be trying to open a hotel, but I do know this. Every general manager that I ever worked for starting in 1983, moving on, I learned something from. Some of them, I learned things that I didn't want to do. I would tell myself, "I do not want to be a general manager that doesn't know how to check somebody in at my hotel." Then some of my general managers, I was like, "I really want to do that. I liked the way he did this. That's a really cool thing," but one of the things that was a big eye-opener for was, when I opened the Inn at USC, there wasn't a lot of support from the management company. It's kind of weird, but I felt like, as far as the opening process, that I was out on an island by myself. There were people who were getting the furniture in. They were putting stuff in, but as far as the actual opening of it, we were really, I really felt like I was doing that.

There was a Vice-President of Operations over that hotel. There wasn't anybody from corporate who was down there every day helping out. I was like, "Man, it is hard to open a hotel without feeling like you've got somebody there supporting you from the corporate side." So many things are going on. I vowed that I would never let a general manager go through that, and that I would try to be there in a supporting role to make it go smooth for them. I think you could probably ask the majority of GMs that I have helped open their hotels that I take that role seriously and making sure that they don't feel alone, that they don't feel like they're having to do everything by themselves.

James McCoy: I think that's probably a huge thing as far as the support and success of those GMs moving forward. Walk me through what it takes to open a hotel from start to finish. I know there's a lot.

Ron Glancy: On a typical hotel operation I'll get asked a lot of questions about the plans, about is the IT room big enough, is the location of this good? What about this? How about my laundry room? Once they get the plan and the hotel starts to come out of the ground, I don't have to be involved at those meetings up front. It's probably at about six months out that I get further involved.

It's hard to explain the whole process and everything that needs to be done, but a lot of the things, like ordering the computer equipment, ordering the point of sale equipment for the bar, those types of challenges, pretty much everything that's not part of construction, has to be ordered and brought into the hotel. It doesn't matter whether it's a comforter or a decorative top sheet or a bar of soap or a broom or a mop. Somebody has to order that and bring all that stuff in. All of it. Trash cans and everything.

Then from my point of view too, I usually, way, way out, have to order the telephone and fiber that will bring the internet into the hotel. I have to arrange for the guest television viewing, to make sure that that's, whether it's satellite or whether it's going to be Spectrum or another company. You've got to do all of that way, way in advance, because a lot of times, those services aren't at that location. They have to drill and bore and get cable there, and then bring it into the building. You've got to get that in pretty early, because you can't do your elevator inspections and your fire alarm inspections without phone lines. Those are some of the challenges up front. Usually you want to have a GM about six months out, but it's getting harder and harder for us to find GMs.

James McCoy: Why do you think that is?

Ron Glancy: The business has grown so fast that the pool of eligible general managers out there is just very, very small. Even if you look around our company, a lot of our general managers have gotten moved up to general managers. Back in the day when I was, let's just say in the '80s and '90s, a lot of our GMs right now would probably still be AGMs for three or four years, but some of them are AGMs for six months and now all of a sudden, they're GMs. We've identified and moved up our talent as quick as we can within the hotels, within our company. We look outside. We try. Then we come back and say, "Listen, we don't have anybody. What are our options?" That's difficult. The same thing with sales. We're looking really hard for sales right now for our Greenville location.

Then the next step is getting those key members, your GM and your Director of Sales, really key for setting up the database for what the room numbers are, what room types they are, what the amenities are in each room so that the brand, whether it's Choice or Marriott or Hyatt, has all the information they need to build that database that shows everything that's going to be online available through the central reservation system and then through the global distribution systems and all of the OTAs. They get that information directly from what we fill out and put in there.

Probably 90 days out, we're really trying to get a lot of ordering done. A lot of things that we order to come to the hotel, there's a 12-week lead time. The last thing I want to do as a leader in a hotel opening is have something that we are in control of, that me and my general manager have control of, hold up that hotel from opening. I don't want somebody to say, "We could open the hotel if Ron had the internet working" or "We could open the hotel if the telephone was working." I never want that to be something that holds us up. We have to think three and four months out about getting the stuff ordered, because the lead times can be sometimes 12 weeks on certain items.

Some of the big milestones for us is ordering the big opening order that typically comes from Guest Supply. There's usually a template that takes hours to complete, probably a half a day. Getting that completed and then the day when that opening order comes in, it's great that we have a company with David and our maintenance team that we can call, we can call Jessica O'Cain and David, anybody we can get together and say, "Hey, listen. On December the 8th, we're getting 36 pallets in from Guest Supply, and we've got to get those off the truck and into the building and secured."

Let me tell you. That is a monster of a job. A lot of the times, we'll go ahead and get shelving in a week or two ahead of time, and put twenty shelves together to help us disperse that stuff through the building. You're dealing with the challenges of are my storage rooms ready? Is the flooring down? Are rooms painted and done so we can put this stuff in there or are we going to have to store this some place else for three or four weeks until we can actually start putting this stuff in the rooms?

Then about the time when that comes in, probably about six to eight weeks prior to opening, you will start looking at bringing on some housekeeping staff, your maintenance staff. You'll start dispersing stuff throughout the hotel and start to get rooms cleaned. There's big milestones that have to do with getting your kitchen equipment installed, getting your DHEC inspection, getting your liquor license or your beer and wine license. Those are a lot of the things that we go through when we're opening a hotel. We never know exactly which ones are going to go smooth and which ones are going to be difficult.

I guess what I bring to the table is the fact that I've done this so many times. I've done it so many times that I can calm the general manager down when they're freaking out or finding out about something bad that’s happening.

I can be like, "That’s difficult, but it's not a big deal. They're not going to stop us from opening over missing that particular item" or those types of things. Every single hotel that we open, something pops up and it's an "Oh, no." Some days, you might have three good weeks in a row where everything's perfect and all of a sudden, you have one Friday where it just seems like the sky is falling. You really have to try to remind yourself that, listen, we can get through this. We'll probably still be able to open on the date that we've chosen.

A lot of times, when we choose these dates six or eight months out that we're shooting for, and it's a challenge to try to open on that date. I take a lot of pride in being able to accomplish that, and just go, "Hey, wow. We did this." That's a big…gosh. The high that you get with the opening team, I really equate it to being in battle or a competition. The people that we hire and we bring on, I try to create a fun environment, a lot of music, a lot of joking, a lot of laughing, try to have as much fun as we can as we form this team.

I've said it many times before, the opening team that you open a hotel with will always be the best team you ever have because they'll always have the best training that comes from the brand itself. One by one, as that hotel opens, it might be a week after you open, but one person's going to leave. It might be three months, another person's going to leave. Six months, another person's going to leave. Then you're lucky if five years down the road, you can look and say, "There's still five people that were here from that team that helped me open that hotel." You remember going through that baptism of fire together and you remember all the craziness that happened and you're like, "Wow, we did this. It's an accomplishment." You saw that place when there were no floors and no walls, and now, you are renting rooms to guests and you're serving breakfast. There's people at the bar. That's a really fun and rewarding thing to see. It really, really is.

James McCoy: It sounds a lot like planning for a wedding. You pick a date and you hope for the best, and it's going to happen one way or the other.

Ron Glancy: One of the things that I really can't, I try to describe it, but I can't get it across to people, is that for about 90 days, I am on site at that hotel almost every day, including some weekends, trying to do everything I can to get that hotel open. We're dealing with deadlines. Everything seems like it's so important. If we don't do this right now, or this has got to happen here, this has got to happen there. It is such a high-pressure, just driving force forward that when I first get back in the office and sit at my desk, it's really strange. It's almost like it's some sort of a PTSD. It's like, I feel like I know what it would be like for somebody who comes back from the front lines of a battle and is all of a sudden at home, sitting on their couch. It's really, that's the only thing I can equate it to.

I know it's not the same. But it's such a high-pressure, pushing forward, got to get this done today, got to get this done, got to get this done. Every day that I sit down at that office and I look at my computer and I look around like, "This is so strange." I go down to the accounting side of the office. I look at the people down there. I'm like, "You people still look the same? You remember me?" Opening new hotels is really, really a strange situation. It's hard to explain unless somebody's been there.

James McCoy: I'm going to switch gears just a little bit. Tell me, do you have a favorite story or memory over your hotel tenure?

Ron Glancy: One of my favorite stories to tell had to do with a bus tour that was supposed to stay at my hotel. Excuse me. I want to get that straight. There was a bus tour that thought they had reservations at my hotel, but they did not. They had made them for the wrong hotel, and they called me. I was working the front desk. I was actually a general manager at the time. I was working the front desk one evening. I got a call from a guy named Marty with Sunshine Tours and told me that they would be there in 20 minutes. I said, "Sir, I don't know what you're talking about. Our hotel is totally full." He said, "Oh, my God. Ron, what are we supposed to do? We're supposed to have reservations there."

At the time, my hotel was not owned by Raldex and Mark and them. It was owned by another company. But Mark and David and Rock owned a Super 8 hotel next door. I ran over to the Super 8 and said, "Do you guys have 25 rooms?" They said, "Yes." I got them 25 rooms at the Super 8, told them they could eat breakfast in the Hampton Inn. "We'll get you taken care of." The next morning, I went to check on them to make sure everything went ok and checked in with Marty. He gets on his bus and leaves.

The next thing I know, I see a couple with their luggage walking around the building and they said, "Where's the bus?" I said, "The bus just left!" They said, "You're kidding?" I said, "No, the bus is gone. They're heading north." I literally threw these people in the back of my car and tried to catch the bus, but the bus was gone. I drove all the way to Dillon and turned around and came back.

I called every Hampton Inn up the road ahead of me, because in those days, you knew every Hampton Inn up I-95. I called them all and said, "Listen, if you see a bus called Sunshine Tours, please let them know they left two people in Florence." It turned out that the Hampton Inn in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina looked out their door and said, "There's a Sunshine Tour bus parked at the Cracker Barrel across the road." They went over and told Marty that he left two people in Florence. He said, no, he didn't, got on the bus and left. About 20 minutes later, I get a call. "Hey, Ron, this is Marty. I think I left two people."

The hotel business is crazy. But the guy who got left, and his wife, he was an old, retired dentist. For the 20 minutes that I had him riding in the back of my car, I felt like I had Jerry Seinfeld's parents back there. The way that they talked, they talked exactly like them. It turned out that they were a Jewish couple going to the newly opened Holocaust Museum in DC. The wife says to me {in a thick New York style accent}, "That Marty, he says he's the best tour guide ever. 20 years, he never loses a piece of luggage, but he loses two people?!" That was the punch line is that that lady tells me, 20 years, this guy's never lost a piece of luggage, but he lost two people. It's a funny story. I ended up getting those couple to the airport, and they flew to DC. They actually beat the bus there to the hotel.

James McCoy: That's pretty wild.

Ron Glancy: There's a lot of stories like that where you're just blown away at something that happens. That's one of the most awesome things about being in the hotel business. You're not doing the same thing over and over. There's something different that happens all the time. You never know when there's going to be some crazy incident where you're just like, "Wow. That's never happened to me before." 37 years and stuff still happens that I can say, "That has never happened to me before." At the Cambria, just recently, the houseman was vacuuming the elevator. He plugged the cord in on the fourth floor in elevator lobby and was inside the elevator, vacuuming, and the door shut and the elevator went down, but the vacuum cleaner was still plugged in on the fourth floor.

James McCoy: Oh, no.

Ron Glancy: I was like, "Oh, my God. 37 years, nope, never seen this happen." I just laugh about it. I'm just like, "What are we going to do? How do we?" We had to try to literally, we could not believe that the cord didn't break, that the vacuum cleaner didn't get pulled up into the ceiling of the elevator, that the wires didn't get sliced and electrocute. I don't know. It's the way it goes.

James McCoy: Did you ever think that you would be with Raines this whole time, and what keeps you coming back?

Ron Glancy: This is such an easy question for me. When I first started working, when I was first was a houseman in 1983, it was between my junior and senior year in high school. It was just a summer job. By the time I started working at the front desk, I really liked the interaction with the guests. I liked meeting and talking to people from all over the world, and very soon, I learned that there was such a thing as a Holiday Inn University where you could go and learn to be general managers and learn computers and learn. Honestly, I remember telling people in my senior year of high school that I know what I want to do. I want to be in the hotel business, and I want to be a hotel manager. I started doing it. Honestly, I've never thought about doing anything else.

I wake up every single morning and go to a job that I love doing for a company that I love working for. Mark Raines was my friend and even when we weren't working together, we were still talking about the hotel business together. David is my friend, and we talk about hotels, but we talk about sports. We talk about life. We talk about kids. It really is a family atmosphere. I think about thousands and thousands of people that get up every day and schlep to a job that they don't love, that they are miserable and unhappy. I think, "Man, there's a lot of people that get up every day and go to a job that they don't like what they do and they don't like who they work for." I'm like, "Man, I'm the luckiest person in the world to get up every day, doing something that I love doing for people I love working for."

On a side note, every now and then, you get a question that says, "What would you be doing if you weren't in the hotel business?" The only thing I can think of is, I love history, and I'm a really big history buff, especially when it comes to the Civil War, the American Revolution. I would probably want to be a history teacher. If not, I'd love to be an adjunct professor and teach hospitality at a college or something like that. Those are all things that I would think about doing, but honestly, I still love what I'm doing.

I still act young for my age. I'm almost 54 years old, and I sit here and think, "What am I going to do when I try to go help with that opening order and I just can't pick up boxes and put them and still can't help put mattresses in the rooms and can't do all this?" It's weird to think about that. I'm hoping I've got a good ten years left to do with. I try to stay in shape the best.

James McCoy: That's when you just get real good at delegating.

Ron Glancy: {laughs} Yeah! Our company has always been a lead by example company. I talked about the many times when I've seen David in the back of a furniture truck or in the back of a mattress truck. He says he's since retired from that kind of stuff, but we are a lead by example company, and there's none of us that are immune to working the front desk or helping out at the bar or doing whatever. I think we'll all pitch in and do whatever we have to do. That's a great thing about this company.

James McCoy: It certainly shows. Where do you see Raines Hospitality go from here? You've seen them start from very little to now 17 hotels with more in the works. What's next? What do we do moving forward?

Ron Glancy: If you asked me that question, say, before the Corona virus and all that's going on, it could be a different answer, because now, there's going to be uncertainty in the market. There's going to be uncertainty in the banks. I see us finishing the hotels that we've got, like Cambria in Greenville. It's going to open. But past that, there's probably going to have to be a little bit of a lull whenever we are starting some of the hotels that are in our pipeline. But I do expect that once the Corona virus peaks and we get on the other side of this craziness, I expect that the economy's going to recover. People are going to be ready to get out there, ready to go to restaurants, ready to go to hotels, ready to get on cruise ships, ready to get on airplanes and fly and go places. We're going to be there to keep up with the hotel demand. We're going to get our hotels that we have in the pipeline started, and we're going to look for more opportunities.

I see us continuing to grow, every five years, opening another ten hotels and it could be more than that. I still think there's room for demand out there. Even though there are some challenges that we have to deal with right now, we're primed to be able to get through these challenges better than some companies are. That's something that is another thing I'm proud of. I really do think that we will weather this storm, and on the other side, we'll continue to grow, because the people that we work with, Grey and David, they have plans. They want Raines Hospitality to be the premier hotel management company in the Southeast. Building hotels, managing hotels, and third-party management deals. I think we'll also see that hotels and companies that struggle, that can't handle this difficult time, may give us more opportunities to swoop in and get management contracts for third-party hotels.

James McCoy: Yeah, it's going to be interesting. That's for sure.

Ron Glancy: Yep. We just have to get on the down slope of this Corona virus curve, and hopefully get to moving.

James McCoy: Let's talk about the reason we're here. Tell me, how does it feel to be recognized? I know we've started a new thing with this Hall of Fame. When you found out not only, hey, there's something new, but you're the first, what does that feel like to be recognized after all the yars of serving and being at those hotels and getting things off the ground and all the stories? How does that feel to you?

Ron Glancy: It's really an amazing feeling. I will say this. It's not like I've never not felt appreciated, because Chrisie and David, and when Mark was around and Grey, they've always done a lot to make you feel appreciated working here. They've always thanked me for my hard work. They've always gave that pat on the back and said, "Hey, listen, great job" for that. I'm never wanting for feeling appreciated, but that was, it was a wow moment and a surprise.

It was at the end of a crazy week where we were dealing with all this uncertainty between the NBA suspending their season, Major League Baseball, all this bad news was happening everywhere you turned. Then all the sudden, Grey said he wanted to see me, and we went into David's office. Chrisie was there, and I'm like, "What the heck is going on here?" When they gave it to me, it was just a wow.

I didn't even know they were thinking about doing this Hall of Fame thing, and it honestly, when I got home and finally had a chance to reflect on it, I thought about Mark. I thought a lot about Mark, and he used to call me Ronno. When I'd open the door, he'd say, "Hey, Ronno! What are you doing?" or "How are things going?" I guess I was thinking about Mark and thinking about when they came over and took me to lunch and everything that has transpired since May of 2008, since May 26th, 2008, the hotels that we've opened, the communities that we've changed, the people that we've given jobs to, and it was more or less of a time of reflection for me.

Honestly, the first thing I thought about was, the first person really should have been Mark Raines because this company and our vision was his thing. He's definitely the reason why this company is what it is. He gave us the culture and the service and everything.

It was just time to reflect. I really appreciate it. It was awesome. It was a great feeling to see it. I don't think I've ever been in a Hall of Fame before. I think it's my first Hall of Fame. It's just really cool. It's something I can really just look forward to sharing with people. Yeah, it's something very, very, very proud.

James McCoy: Thank you for sharing some of the more intimate sides of that. I appreciate that. Last couple of things and then I'll let you go. Give me the bird's eye view of who Ron Glancy is.

Ron Glancy: That's kind of hard. Just to give an analogy, they talk about Bill Parcells in the NFL and his coaching tree of all these people who coached under him who went on to become managers. I hope that people would look up to me as a mentor and somebody that helped them get to the next level, helped people be managers. I think people think that I'm pretty nutty and kind of fun to be around. I can be serious and do what it takes to run business, to make people happy.

I try for excellence. So many hotels that I've managed have been in the top percentages of their brands. While I was in Sumter, my Comfort Suites was voted the best hotel in Sumter while I was there, every year. I always tried to be the best at what I did, but I also tried to make things fun and tried to make people that work with me want to work. I tried to lead by example, and not tell the people what to do but show them what to do and lead them through it.

James McCoy: Where do you get your drive from? Not everybody has that.

Ron Glancy: I had a very unique upbringing because my father was in the military and I lived all over the world, and I always had to work to make friends in whatever new place we came to. Every two or three years, we were moving. I had to work hard at doing stuff like that. My mom was my mentor in the hotel business. She was the first one that made me get out there and get a job, and she certainly did it at a very high level. I just think that along the way, you realize that being good at something or being the best at something feels a lot better than just being mediocre. If I was in a class learning computers at Holiday Inn University, I wanted to be one of the people who made 100 on the test, didn't miss a single thing.

When I first came to Courtyard, there were areas, GSS scores that I knew we could do better on. We took a hotel that was, at the time, a 14- or 15-year-old hotel and we took it to the top 15% of all Courtyards when it had been at the middle. Those, it feels good to look at those reports and see where you rank and know that you're doing the best you can for the company, the brand and the associates, the guests.

James McCoy: Is there anyone that you would like to thank? Anything you want to share?

Ron Glancy: Wow. I just, I thank everybody who was a leader to me that taught me something, everybody from my first hotel owner whose name was Bill Taylor for Hospitality Management Associates in Orangeburg to Steve Patel, Steve and Hema Patel, that were at a little Gateway Inn that I worked. And to Mark, David and Grey and Chrisie, that gave me an opportunity to get up every morning and come to work at a job that I love, get to do what I do every single day.

In a little bit, I'm going to pull into the parking lot of our next hotel opening. We're getting in that final 90 days. I'm going to spending a lot of time up here. I'm just glad that I get to get up and do this. I'm glad that I'm going to be having this opportunity again. I can't wait for the next one. I can't wait to come to work tomorrow and the next day and the next day. I'm going to do it as long as I can, as long as the good Lord lets me.

James McCoy: Thank you. Ron, I really appreciate your time

Ron Glancy: Yeah, thanks very much. Working on an opening order today with Guest Supply and hopefully going to get this stuff ordered. Hopefully, the economy's going to get rocking and we can try to get this open in June.

James McCoy: Indeed. Thanks again, Ron.