Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. - Kimberly Schaefer, CEO
December 1, 2009 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published Travel and Leisure--Airlines, Hotels, Resorts, Cruise Lines, and Restaurants Report offering a timely review of the Leisure sector. This Special Report contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. Please find an excerpt below.
Kimberly Schaefer is Chief Executive Officer of Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. For more than 12 years, she has served in a senior leadership role at the company, which is the largest owner, operator and developer in North America of drive-to family resorts featuring indoor water parks and other family-oriented entertainment activities. Prior to the company's initial public offering in 2004, she served as Senior Vice President of Operations for its predecessor and has more than 20 years' experience in the hotel operations industry. More recently she served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the company.
In addition to overseeing operations of the company's resorts portfolio, guiding the development of its brand, investor relations and strategic oversight of the company's development and licensing arm, Ms. Schaefer takes the occasional water thrill ride herself just to demonstrate to potential investors and VIPs how much fun it really is. She is a graduate of Edgewood College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She continues her alumnus involvement by serving on the advisory board for Edgewood College Business School.
TWST: Let's start with a history and overview of the company. Please bring us up to speed on Great Wolf.
Ms. Schaefer: On the device side Great Wolf Lodge is North America's largest family of indoor water park resorts. That is really our tag line and something that we've earned over the last 10 years. We are a public company; we went public in December of 2004 under the NASDAQ ticker WOLF, and prior to that we were in the hospitality business, developing and managing a hospitality portfolio. We started in 1999 in the indoor water park business. We actually purchased the first lodge and, since 2001, we now have 12 family-focused resorts. It's really about being a convenient drive-to destination. It's about being a regional player. What we believe is unique about Great Wolf Resorts (WOLF) is that we really work with branded partners; we have proprietary entertainment to make us a very high-quality, easy-to-find family vacation. Understanding who we are as a company and what we're all about has helped us in any environment, but particularly as we talk about 2009.
TWST: So you own and operate 12 properties today?
Ms. Schaefer: We have 12 resorts that are under our license, either under Great Wolf Lodge or Blue Harbor Resort, and nine of those we own.
TWST: Any expansion plans on the horizon?
Ms. Schaefer: We are a growth company, and we're focused on future development and licensing to expand the brand, both domestic and internationally. Obviously in 2009 it's a little tough for anybody to do. We did open our 12th resort in April, in Concord, outside of Charlotte, N.C. So we did have some growth this year. But we do believe that expanding this brand is a great opportunity. We're in the process of doing a full licensing and management model so that we can work with other developers, owners - master planning into areas. It doesn't have to be all us owning the real estate anymore.
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