The Layover: Q&A with Terry

As an established trailblazer in the hospitality industry with decades of experience under his belt, My Place EVP of Franchise Sales Terry Kline is one of the most inspiring people we have the privilege of knowing. In the latest installment of The Layover, we enjoy our time with Terry as we dissect the importance of being a positive role-model, staying humble, and even discuss the many unknown talents of a man who inspires us to work harder, together, on a daily basis.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since we launched our franchise system! How does it feel to have played an integral role in elevating our brand to where we are today through franchise sales?

It’s very rewarding to step back, reflect and then appreciate the many successes that we have enjoyed in franchising over these past five years. Personally, I feel that these success and the elevated state of My Place Hotels in our industry today is truly the result of the team effort put forth on a daily basis by all of our many talented staff members.

If you had to sell the My Place product to a potential-franchisee in two sentences, what would you say?

I always like to say that we really don’t “sell” so much, as we prefer to furnish a potential franchisee with the information they need to make a brand decision. To do that in two sentences might be challenging, but I would definitely want them to know two things; how unique and different we are, not just the niche concept of our product offering, but also how our privately held family business with a 45 year legacy in hospitality will be there to support them.

What is your ideal travel destination while on vacation?

My wife and I normally enjoy a break from the beautiful winters we have here in South Dakota and like spending some vacation time in warmer climates; the Big Island of Hawaii is certainly a favorite destination.

In your opinion, what was the biggest takeaway from the 2019 My Place Convention, this past April?

Even though our gatherings continue to grow each year in number of participants, the “feeling” you come away with is always the same. It’s a great time for our franchise family to come together in fellowship for learning, sharing information, having fun, and, of course, relationship building; the foundational premise of My Place Hotels!

You’re one of the most well-known people in the biz. Can you tell us about the time you sold hundreds of hotels in a few years?

Anytime success is obtained over a long career, it is never done alone. We have all heard Ron Rivett say “It’s all about the people!” Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with many great people and quality organizations; it’s no different today here at My Place!

Why do you think the My Place Franchise System is so attractive to potential franchisees?

We have something very special going on here at My Place Hotels. In our industry today, when you consider the many varied brand offerings within the marketplace, so many of these brands are controlled by large companies that own multiple brands. Our existing franchisees and potential franchisees alike, whether they have come to us from within the industry or from other business experiences, are all looking to partner with a brand that they can trust and with people within that brand that will provide them with the support they need. They want a brand partner that they can actually relate to and most importantly, communicate with on a basis of personal relationship; that’s My Place Hotels!

What is the greatest film you have ever seen?

Out of all of the movies I’ve seen over the years, I’d have to say it’s Titanic. It’s a great history lesson, a legendary mystery, an action drama and a love story all rolled up into one film.

What is your earliest memory of Ryan (Rivett)?

That’s an easy one dating back to about 1990 in the Super 8 era. Franchise Development was then located in the space currently occupied by the Design Department. Ryan was always around the corporate offices on the heels of Ron. It was a common occurrence to see Ryan drive his bike up to the west door, drop it on the ground and then run up the back stairway to reach the executive offices… He still has that contagious smile!

If you could pick any place in the world to open a My Place Hotel, where would it be?

That’s a little tougher question and I recall being asked that at #MyPlaceCon 2019! I answered then by saying Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and I’ll stay with that even though it’s more of a dream location.

If you could swap jobs with any My Place HQ team member for a day, who would you swap with and why?

That’s a great question for me personally because I’m naturally spending all of my time on the development side of our brand. With that being said and having little to no time for the operational or brand management side, I’d enjoy sitting in on a day in the business life of Sarah Dinger, our very first employee!

Where do you see My Place five years from now?

My Place Hotels has already made its presence known in our segment of the industry. I fully envision that our growth will only continue to accelerate at an even faster pace over these next five years. I expect that growth to be perpetuated by both our existing franchisees adding to their portfolios and the more and more new franchisees that continue to search us out with every new My Place property that opens across the country.

What’s your favorite joke to tell?

I’m not a big joke teller, but I do enjoy an occasional “Ole and Lena” tale or listening to stand-up comedy that allows us to laugh at ourselves and life in general when things get too serious!

What was the last time you sat back and thought “I’m living the dream”?

This is actually a daily occurrence for me. I’m so thankful for the many blessings, friendships and memories that the hospitality industry has bestowed upon me and still does every single day at My Place Hotels.

How will you be celebrating 50 open My Place Hotels?

I’ve been giving some thought to this milestone and what might be appropriate. For me, my plan is to spend the day contacting each and every one of our franchisees and personally thanking them again for the part they have each played in helping to make My Place history.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Wow, I’m not too sure about it being a talent, but I’m a pretty good shower singer if that counts? I also like watching cooking shows like Master Chef or Top Chef and then trying out some of those recipes and techniques…. most of the time, not too successfully!

Check out this adorable photo of Terry and his wife Marilyn from #MyPlaceCon 2017

What is your go-to food to bring to a potluck?

Who doesn’t like a potluck and all things from a slow-cooker? My go-to would either be BBQ baked beans or pulled pork.

Who is the most fascinating person you have ever met?

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a number of fascinating, interesting, and intriguing people over the years. I’d have to say that Lou Holtz, former football coach at Notre Dame, is on top of the list. I found his energy and philosophy of life very relevant and applicable to both business and everyday situations.

Can you give our readers an idea of where we’re headed over the next several months?

As we pass 50 properties and give consideration to the additional properties currently under construction, we will be heading toward 60 open hotels in the not so distant future. The My Place family can’t help but feel excited about the future. Our critical mass continues to expand with each new opening as our franchisees develop and work towards entering more and more new markets. With each new property, we experience new and increased expressions of interest in our brand. As a result of our new properties, our loyal customer base continues to grow and our Trip Advisor scores serve to accentuate the value and quality guests have found in our hotels.

We all look up to you. What are you hoping we learn from you?

I’ve never really thought of it as what I’m hoping that you might learn, but rather of what I might be as an example to you. You can never underestimate the value of building personal relationships and treating people with honesty, integrity, and respect. We always have to remember that we’re in the hospitality business, so that means being friendly, conscientious, patient, kind, engaged, and smiling even when it’s hard to do sometimes!