First and foremost complete privacy we must completely respect the privacy of our guests and maintain it all the way prior to their arrival and post their departure. Given the nature of the questions, we cannot share any exact examples.

As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ketan Vora & Bob Brier.

Bob has over 35 years of diverse financial and operational experience obtained through public accounting and leadership positions in finance, treasury, real estate, and investor relations functions for major companies. Bob also founded a distressed debt consulting, debt acquisition and workout firm in 2004. Bob has performed multiple receivership functions in state and federal courts in DE, FL, IN and PA. Bob has a BS in Accounting from the University of Scranton.

Ketan has over 25 years of restructuring, turnaround, operating, capital raising, high growth, and M&A experience. Ketan received an MBA from the University of Scranton with a concentration in Finance and a BS in Accounting from the University of Mumbai. Ketan currently serves as a member of the Villanova University Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate Advisory Board. Ketan also serves on the Advisory Owner’s Council for the Ascend Collection Brand.

About Edgewater:

Edgewater was founded in 2008 with a focus on providing distressed advisory services to financial institutions. Since its formation it has grown into a multidisciplinary real estate Firm that provides distressed advisory, management and value-add investment services. Edgewater’s unique focus is on the micro and middle market segments in secondary and tertiary locations. Edgewater’s representative clients include Federal and State Courts, lenders, investors and micro and middle market companies. Services include, but are not limited to receiverships, restructuring, turnarounds, mergers and acquisitions and equity and debt capital placement. For more information, please visit

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ketan: I started in the business as a night auditor putting myself through school learning and enjoying every moment of it and then I got promoted to other roles at that location. Prior to graduating I also helped the ownership group acquire another property. And was included in the due diligence in this action thereby even furthering my experience and knowledge. I got an opportunity to connect with Bob when I was in a different industry and role nearly 30 years ago, we grew our relationship and reconnected to be equal partners at Edgewater upon its foundation in 2008. We equally share the passion for hospitality, team building, and guest satisfaction while delivering good results and returns to our investors.

Bob: In addition to our shared passion for hospitality we have found that our similar operational backgrounds and hands-on management style lent itself to focus on the daily business that hospitality requires.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Ketan: During the span of my career while I have had many interesting stories the one that comes to mind is when we promoted a chief engineer to the role of general manager at one of our full-service hotels. It is seldom done in the industry, and we initially took some jabs on our decision, but it turned out to be the right decision for us and the individual who has now excelled and become one of our key leaders in the company. This reinforced our commitment to promote from within while furthering our team members’ careers and personal lives.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Ketan: The first story that comes to mind it when I was working as a night auditor by myself for the first time after a only few days of training. Back in those days we had to do a physical night audit and had to close out room charges for phone and fax charges by hand. The report was out of balance for an amount that exceeded the daily revenue knowing that I had made a big mistake and was worried about what the GM was going to do. I waited for the GM to show up in the morning to tell him that there was no funny business going on, that I didn’t steal anything, and that he could relieve me of my role. To his credit, instead, he worked with me until I was the best night auditor the hotel ever had. I have had multiple sleepless nights along the way and still have nightmares of that time.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Ketan: I have been fortunate enough to have many individuals help me along the way therefore it is hard for me to reference a specific individual however what I am most grateful for is the people who have stood by me through the rough patches we have endured. In global events such as the saving and loan crisis (SNL), 9/11, The Great Recession, and more recently COVID. I measure a person’s contribution most during tough times rather than when everything is going smoothly. The leadership of these individuals and their support has enabled us to further that approach in our company.

Bob: I found that early on in my career the mentors that I most respected and appreciated gave me more responsibility to manage and motivate others which I’ve been able to succeed with today.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

Ketan: There are multiple innovations that the industry is going through that we have embraced these include; tech, distribution channels, guest preferences, employee hiring and retention, social media, etc. We have made an effort to be a willing participant in leading those efforts as we support our growth. This includes diversity in the location of our team in leadership, the ever-changing need for environmental awareness, and the impact of creating new roles in positions that did not exist only a few years ago. Such as full-time social media, regional teams down to micro and geographic levels, etc. This empowers our local leadership to support and participate in community-focused efforts.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

Ketan: Since we focus on secondary and tertiary markets only the above example really helps us drive and execute win-win strategies. For example, a dedicated social media position allows us to leverage larger resources that the local property may not be able to do on its own. The micro-level dedication of resources can be leveraged across the platform thereby benefiting not just the asset by region, but furthering invention within a managerial geography. Due to the focus on secondary and tertiary markets, as we continue to support and grow the community, we are in turn supporting ourselves in multiple ways, thereby creating a win-win for all involved our properties that tend to be well-recognized and supported by the communities we are in.

Bob: Our local teams do a wonderful job engaging with local leaders and most of all listen to the needs of the communities so we can find the pain points/needs of most concern and prepare to react to them.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

Ketan: Covid 19 in it of itself while changing ways and preferences of travel habits further accelerated those elements through the development of technology in this period. Travelers have adapted to technological advances and have changed the game in not only how and when but where they make their reservations. Expectations of what should be provided to them during their stay have also changed for some of them needing more service and experience and for others where they want minimal, contact with others. The challenge will be finding the right balance between these preferences as well as welcoming new inexperienced travelers. The advent of technology platforms that have provided nonlicensed residential properties to be used for occupancy on a regular basis poses a real threat not only to the traditional hotel industry but to the life and safety elements of the guests along with social disruption in the neighborhoods they exist in. All these will continue to evolve over the next several years and likely result in and add challenges that we don’t know for sure at this point.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

Ketan: My ideal perfect vacation is based on the experience I derive during my stay visit to not just an area but the property itself. As a travel insider, I am aware of the challenges that properties endure for their operations, and as a result, I am more conscious during my stay at the property. I also prefer the property to enhance the experience beyond the room itself whether it be on-site food and beverage, outdoor experience, or experiences that take me away from my daily routine such as cooking classes, fitness classes, or a cultural historical learning of the area, etc.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

Ketan: Depending on the property type and its locations one can not provide everything under one roof to a guest. The key to driving the wellness experience is to identify other businesses with products that can complement these requests. We have aligned ourselves in some of these markets with such providers that are really good at what they do thereby sharing the community experience for the guest and local business. We are acutely tuned to the need for guests to peacefully enjoy their stay while maintaining the core identity of other venues that may exist at the property including food and beverage. Wherever possible we have aligned with professional spas with well-equipped fitness centers, healthy food and beverage options and updated room tech, etc.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more?

First and foremost complete privacy we must completely respect the privacy of our guests and maintain it all the way prior to their arrival and post their departure. Given the nature of the questions, we cannot share any exact examples.

Second is our team. Our team needs to be trained to provide the highest level of guest service along with being knowledgeable about what is happening in the area with recommendations for guests based on their request for the experiences they want to have.

Third, trying to accommodate the guest as best as we can within our capabilities while providing options and solutions for them towards requests that we ourselves on-site cannot fulfill. While we don’t have a spa, we can recommend options to best accommodate your needs.

Providing guests with updated tech experience during their stay. Examples RFID locks, mobile check-in, real-time two-way text communications with guests, updated entertainment options along with different mediums of watching in your room and where applicable, updated fitness equipment, etc.

Providing early options for guests to communicate their preferences prior to and during their stay, early and late check-out, amenity restocking, room service, etc.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Ketan: Our company, supports various not-for-profit causes in the locations they operate in, and our team is actively involved in volunteering. Personally, we have been involved in providing financial support for education purposes through scholarships as well as mentoring the growth of both professional and personal for various individuals outside our professional roles.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Ketan: Be appreciative, respectful, and acknowledge of the fact that we are alive, and we are surrounded by good hardworking people and to not get wrapped up in the minor few that are not. Everybody likes to be acknowledged, appreciated, and recognized and if we can do that individually, and collectively the world becomes a better place while we are alive.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Ketan: I personally am not but our Edgewater Company and each hotel have their own separate social media accounts.

Bob: LinkedIn @ Bob Brier

Listed below:


LinkedIn — @Edgewater Group LLC

Facebook- Edgewater Group LLC

Instagram — @sunbeltllc

Sleep Inn-Sandestin, Florida

Instagram — @sleepinnsandestin

Facebook — Sleep Inn Sandestin, FL

TownePlace Suites- Tallahassee, Florida

Instagram — @towneplacesuites_tallahassee

Facebook — TownePlace Suites Tallahassee, FL

TownePlace Suites- Mobile, Alabama

Instagram — @towneplacesuites_mobile

Facebook — TownePlace Suites Mobile, AL

Fairfield Inn & Suites- Mobile, Alabama

Instagram- @fairfieldinnandsuites_mobile

Facebook- Fairfield Inn and Suites Mobile, AL

Hampton Inn- Stone Mountain, Georgia

Instagram — @hamptoninngeorgia

Facebook — Hampton Inn Stone Mountain

Coombs Inn & Suites — Apalachicola, Florida

Instagram — @coombsinn

Facebook- Coombs Inn & Suites

Water Street Hotel & Marina — Apalachicola, Florida

Instagram — @waterstreetmarina

Facebook- Water Street Hotel & Marina

Wyvern Hotel- Punta Gorda, Florida

Instagram- @thewyvernhotel

Facebook- Wyvern Hotel

Windsor Hotel- Americus, Georgia

Instagram- @historicwindsorhotel

Facebook- Windsor Hotel

Inn on the Square- Greenwood, South Carolina

Instagram- @innonthesquare_sc

Facebook- Inn on the Square

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.