Ocean City-Based Company President Named To National Board

Ocean City-Based Company President Named To National Board
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OCEAN CITY – The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) appointed Ocean City businessman Ben Seidel to its management board early last week.

Seidel, Real Hospitality Group’s president and CEO, will be the first member of Ocean City’s hotel industry to serve on the board, according to Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Executive Director Susan Jones.

“It’s a testament to what someone who enters the hotel industry can do through hard work and dedication,” Jones said. “Our industry is one where you don’t have to have a degree, even though it is helpful. But it is one where if you really work hard, you can move up the chain.”

With more than 30 years of experience, Seidel has held many positions in the industry, including chief operating officer, director of sales, director of food and beverage and general manager for Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson and Marriott brands. Most recently, Seidel was placed on the franchise advisory council for Marriott hotels.

In 2010, Seidel founded Real Hospitality and his company currently manages more than 70 hotels from large-scale to independent brands.

“I think it is great that we are a national company based in Ocean City,” Seidel said. “We are able to hire young professionals from national academia to come to Ocean City.”

Although Real Hospitality has a regional office in New York City, the company is headquartered in the resort community, where Seidel started his corporation.

“There has never been anybody from this area ever [to serve on the board], which is why it is a big deal, at least in my opinion,” Jones said. “He does have an office in New York, too, but the fact that he chose to put his headquarters here is absolutely wonderful because he is providing local jobs.”

Seidel is one of two new board members from management and operation and one of 17 new board members overall for 2017.

Seidel said he was a member of the AHLA before others approached him about the possible appointment.

“It is very humbling,” he said. “Representatives from all major brands are there. I’m honored because these are the leaders of our industry. It’s almost like, ‘Why me?’”

Jones said Ocean City locals from the industry have served on the Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association board, including current member Mark Elman with the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel. But none have gone this far.

“It’s really telling that he has made it all the way to the top,” she said.

Seidel’s corporation manages six hotels in Ocean City — Dunes Manor, Commander Hotel, Ocean 1 Hotel and Suites, The Hotel Monte Carlo, White Marlin Inn and Sea Breeze Inn.

Real Hospitality will also manage the new Fairfield Inn and Suites and Home2 Suites, both slated to open within the next year.

“We went from nothing in 2010 to 70 hotels now,” Seidel said. “Once you build an infrastructure, it’s hard to stop.”

Real Hospitality provides accounting, human resources, marketing, revenue management and development services for its clients.

“He started out in the hotel industry at the bottom level,” Jones said. “So our industry is one where you can go from the very bottom and work your way up all the way to the top with hard work and dedication.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.