Thursday, December 27, 2012


It’s hard to believe that in just a few days we will see another year come to an end. My grandfather used to say, “ the older you get, the faster time goes by ”. That never used to make sense to me as I was growing up, but I have to admit that I tend to agree with him now.

Thanks to your friendship and support, 2012 was another great year for Hotel Equities. We managed to grow our portfolio in spite of the headwinds of the global economy and the uncertainties regarding the outcome of the election and the impending fiscal cliff.

Although many uncertainties still remain, I am confident that together we will find new ways to prosper in the new year.

I wish you and your family the very best in 2013.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I have often thought that God must have a special place in his heart for the hotel business. This thought is especially pervasive this time of year as we approach the Christmas season. 

To those of us in the hotel business, having no vacancy is a goal and a much heralded accomplishment.  But to a guest who has traveled for miles, being told that there is “No room at the inn”  can be cause for stress.   

The book of Luke contains my favorite version of the Christmas story. It is a story which took place over 2000 years ago when Mary and Joseph made the trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem to register in the census only to find the town’s inn was sold out.  In addition to being tired from the journey, it was time for Mary to give birth, and so Joseph began what must have been a frantic search for a place of rest and comfort.  

As Joseph approached the Innkeeper and was told that there were no rooms available, I can only imagine the sense of fear and concern that came upon him. Fortunately, the Innkeeper was a kind, compassionate and hospitable man who offered Joseph alternative lodging, in the stable adjacent to the inn.  

And so, as the story goes,  Jesus entered the world in a manger located in a stable next door to the sold-out hotel.  

But I can’t help but to think; What if there were more rooms available that night? Jesus would have been born in a hotel.  

As we prepare for this Christmas season, I am hopeful that we will leave room in our hearts to bring joy to someone less fortunate and that we will remain mindful of the real reason for the season. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012


My two favorite teams are the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. I have often been asked who I would root for if they ever played each other in the World Series. I have decided I will pull for the home team. My Red Sox better get going if they are going to make the playoffs. As I write this, they are in last place in the American League East. The Braves are faring somewhat better and are in second place in the National League East but appear to have a good chance to make the playoffs as a wild card team.

I can still remember the sweet smell of freshly mowed grass as a player. I had an opportunity to play 2 years of semi-pro baseball right after High School but quickly determined that I did not have “the goods” to make it to the pros and chose instead to join the Marines.

I now have the pleasure of watching my grandsons play the game. My grandson Eli has “committed” to play at Clemson University following his senior year of high school. This week I am in Phoenix Arizona watching him play in the Perfect Game 17u World Series. He is the starting Shortstop on the East Cobb Braves. You can probably tell I am a proud Grandfather.

Here are ten more reasons why I think life is similar to baseball;  

1-The grass is greenest in the spring

2-You represent your team off the field as well as on

3-Fans are like friends, they come out to see you more often when you are winning

4-It’s too late to practice when it’s your turn to bat

5-Someone needs to play the outfield

6-Thankfully the game has more than one inning

7-Learn to play the ball instead of letting it play you

8-You don’t have to hit every pitch

9-There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly cut grass

10-There is more than one way to reach first base

“For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out in the old ball game!”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


If you know anything about  me, you probably already know how much I love baseball.
After my parents divorced, it was my Little League coach who first convinced me that “I was going to be alright”. I was only five at the time but I struggled with the reaction from the parents of several of my closest friends. I’ll never forget their words, “My son is not allowed to play with you any longer since I just found out your parents are divorced”. As a parent and grandparent, I now know that they were just trying to be protective of their children, not be hurtful towards me.

I started playing baseball in Little League in the town I grew up, Westwood, Massachusetts. My neighbor Herbie Munroe, was kind enough to play catch with me on a regular basis. So much so that I got pretty good and was able to make the team at a younger than normal age. I also learned to like the affirmations and recognition I received by playing well. Thus began my love affair with the game.

Here is why I think life is like baseball;

1-You should always touch 1st base first

2-You need to learn to hit a curve ball

3-You need to touch all the bases in order to win

4-Bad bounces happen on occasion

5-Home run hitters strike out a lot

6-Errors are fine so long as we learn from them

7-Winning isn’t all that counts, but it is all that people remember

8-Home base is a good place to come back to

9-Rules and umpires are an important part of the game

10-There is no “I” in team

Take me out to the ballgame!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I think we all have at least one thing in common……the search for significance. I believe that we would all like to think that our time here on earth was worthwhile, that the life we lived mattered and that we made a difference. 

My grandfather was the janitor of an elementary school for 47 years. He was perhaps the most influential person in my life. To some, the vocation he chose might seem insignificant, but I know otherwise. When my mother brought me to his funeral as a young man and I saw a line of people stretched around the block where the services were held, I assumed that there were numerous wakes and funerals going on at the same time as my grandfather’s. I later learned that was not the case. 

As we stood in the reception line and heard words of encouragement from hundreds of people, I learned that the life my grandfather lived had mattered to many people. Students, teachers, parents, grandparents, neighbors, family and friends all had accounts of how Alexander McKean had made a difference in their life. 

Wow! What a life lesson. It was hard for me to believe that this soft spoken, gentle spirited man could have made such an impact on so many people. 

My grandfather taught me many things, but 3 quotes stand out; 

1- “Wherever you are, be there” 

2- “You ought to get a good education so you can get a job in the shade”  

3- “Life is a journey not a destination so before you go too far from home, you should take time to look at the map [the bible]”  

As we search for significance, we should be mindful that others are watching and that we have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives.


Monday, September 17, 2012


My grandfather used to say, “the older you get, the faster time goes”. That didn’t make sense to me as a young person but it sure does now.  Time is the great equalizer. In a sense it is also a form of currency since we get to choose when, where and how we spend it.

Time is a gift. It is given equally to each and every person. Rich and poor, educated and ignorant, strong and weak—every man, woman and child has the same twenty-four hours in each day. We have done nothing to deserve, earn or purchase it. Others can try to redistribute wealth but they can’t redistribute time.

As we look at annual measurements of time we find 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds.

There is no way to slow time down, turn it off, or adjust it. Time keeps marching on. You cannot bring back time.  It is a perishable commodity. In hotel terms, time not used as we intended is like the hotel room we didn’t sell last night….we will never get another chance to rent it. Nor will we get an opportunity to recapture the time we wasted yesterday.

In banking terms, yesterday is a cancelled check, today a blank check and tomorrow a promissory note. We may try to plan ahead and try to pre-block time, but we really have no guarantee that we will ever get to experience it.

Time is one of our most precious possessions. We can waste it. We can spend it on ourselves or as good stewards, we can invest it in a manner which will make a difference in someone else’s life.

As I approach yet another mile marker, I am determined to try to be more intentional with my time. Care to join me in my attempt to have no regrets?


Friday, August 3, 2012


I am convinced that we all have at least one thing in common, the search for significance. We would each like to think that we made a difference with our lives and that we will be missed when we are gone. Most of us are under the illusion that the doing of authentically great things is reserved for a chosen few. Heroes. Martyrs. Saints. But not them.

But what if our greatest thing is not to save the world as Spider-Man did again in the recent movie version, “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Not to go out in a blaze of glory so to speak, but instead to routinely utilize the gifts and talents that we were given? Not to win back Gotham City like Batman did yet again in “The Dark Knight Rises”, but to stay on course with a less than spectacular life that honors God?

It has been suggested that we should think of the 24-hour blocks in each day of our life as bank-fresh bundles of a hundred $1 bills. Our challenge each day is to spend your life. You can't bank it. You can't save it. You get a fresh handful of life currency each morning, and any unspent dollars evaporate before tomorrow comes.

You spend life assets when you mentor a new employee who is struggling, listen to someone who is upset, or volunteer to help someone catch up.

You are honoring God when you are generous with your hard earned income to help someone who has lost their job, a family that is being drained by long-term illness, or by being active in the ministries of your church.

My all-time favorite hero, Jesus, once said: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you. By this, all shall know that you are my disciples, by the way that you show love one for the other” (John 13:34-35 ).

Our earthly reward comes from that distinctly warm and special feeling we get from helping others, especially when we can do it anonymously.

Remember, you have today's life capital in hand. Invest it wisely in small increments of unselfish acts and in doing so, you will find significance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


One of my favorite Hotel Equities’ value statements reads, “Wherever you are, be there”. In today’s hectic world of electronic over-load, this is easier said than done. Between work and family time, our attention span is constantly under attack by interruptions from cell phones, emails, Facebook, texts, tweets, HD-TV, computer games and other such high-tech attractions.

I confess that on a beach vacation this week to Amelia Island, Florida with my family, I struggled with being torn between answering emails and participating in conference calls and being with the kids as they enjoyed 5 foot waves crashing over their heads. Truth be known, I know where I should have been more.    

Author Tim Connor gives us some helpful insight on how we can “enjoy the ride” a bit better. He says, “Imagine that you have the opportunity to take a trip across country. You can stop wherever you’d like and spend however long you want. Are you going to focus solely on your end target and simply speed there? Or are you going to let go of the need to arrive at your destination at any particular time and enjoy the scenery, the people and places you see along the way?”

Each day you and I have the opportunity to go on a “cross-country” trip, a once in a lifetime, twenty four hour adventure that will never be repeated. How do you wish to spend your time? By enjoying every minute and stopping to savor every unique opportunity, or by simply focusing on your goals and being caught up in trying to achieve them?

Today, we can reach any realistic goal we set for ourselves. But how we do so will determine how enjoyable and memorable today will be. The runner who only looks down at the road will surely reach his/her destination, but won’t have the same experience as the runner who watches the road as well as notices the sights, sounds, and smells around them”.

Today, make an effort to enter into a conversation with a stranger or long time friend, take notice of a formerly unnoticed or not yet studied facet of nature, or join in with family and friends on your journey to tomorrow.

Today’s Goal: Try to be “in the moment”. Enjoy the journey. Be there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Did you ever walk into a room and completely forget why you came in there?  I hate it when that happens.

There are some things that we need to forget, that would be healthy for us to forget. Here they are;

1-Yesterday’s Mistakes

In his book "ENCOURAGE ME", Chuck Swindoll has a chapter entitled, "The Fine Art of Blowing It". It begins like this, "It happens to every one of us. Teachers as well as students, cops as well as criminals, bosses as well as secretaries, parents as well as kids… ball players, politicians, and preachers. What? Making mistakes.

If we are not careful, the enemy will remind us of our mistakes to be played over and over thus limiting our capacity for growth.

2-Yesterday’s Hurts

If you deal with people, one thing is certain; they will disappoint you. Sooner or later someone is going to misrepresent you, lie about you, abuse you, slander you or hurt you.  So, what are your options? We actually have 3;

a-We can harbor resentment
b-We can try to get even, or
c-We can forgive and forget

The healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is the latter,

3-Yesterday’s Possibilities

We all have known people who are simply unable to operate in “today” because they have been unable to break ties with what “could have been” or “should have been” in their past. They struggle with an “if only” mentality. If they are not careful they will spend the rest of their life blaming their spouse, parents, business partner, friend, or God.

Too many people are dissatisfied with life because they have had an expectation that just hasn’t worked out .We can’t live on yesterday’s promises or yesterday’s dreams.

4-Yesterday’s Sins

Billy Graham once said that 60% of all mental patients could be released if only they could learn to accept the fact that they had been forgiven. Many people are carrying the burden of guilt from a past mistake, a moral failure, a poor decision or a sin so horrible that they do not believe that they can be forgiven by man or God.

One truth worth remembering is, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”…..[1John 1:9]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


A JetBlue pilot went “bonkers” on a recent  flight from New York to Las Vegas and had to be kept from re-entering the flight deck. Clayton Osbon is unfortunately one of America’s most famous pilots these days as a result of this incident. He was said to be ranting about religion, 9/11, Iran, Iraq and terrorists prior to having been restrained.  According to JetBlue’s CEO, up until this incident, Osbon had always been a “consummate professional”.

College campus shootings appear to be happening with frightening regularity. It seems that everything is not as it once was. People seem frustrated and stressed out. Is it because our level of trust in our political leaders in this country is at an all-time low? Is our “moral compass” as a nation broken? What is true and who can we trust? Are we suffering from a lack of heroes and role models in our lives? Is it because nothing is sacred anymore?

A few weeks ago three people are said to have won the largest Mega Millions jackpot in history. The odds of winning the prize of over $650 million was estimated to be one in 176 million. Probably about the same odds of being hit by lightning twice in the same day. One of the 3 winners now said that she shouldn’t have to share her winnings with her co-workers, who claim they all agreed to pool their tickets and split any forthcoming bounty.

Have you ever wondered what happens to people after they win the lottery? I have read that for many of them, the story doesn’t end well. I know you’re probably saying to yourself something like, “but if it were me, things would be different, I would be generous with my winnings and I wouldn’t allow myself to be negatively influenced by the money”.

So why is it that for some, winning the lottery may be the worst thing that could ever happen to them? Could it be that their priorities are out of order? My grandfather used to say, “If you don’t take time to set priorities [goals] for yourself, you become susceptible to the priorities [goals] of others and as a result you may end up one day in a place you didn’t intend to be”. Much like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, winning the lottery may just be a false perception of reality.

So what’s the answer? Could it be that the bible is still a relevant source of truth and in fact worthy of our time and consideration for our journey through life?

My family and I had the joy of celebrating Easter together recently. I am thankful that the tomb was empty on that Easter morning some 2000 years ago.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Someone once said, “If you are not making any mistakes, you are not trying hard enough”. Truth be known, I hate to make mistakes. I guess it’s the perfectionist or perhaps the over achiever in me.

Everyone makes mistakes. The bible is filled with stories of people’s mistakes. My grandfather used to say, “We should learn from the mistakes of others since there’s a good chance that we will not live long enough to make them all ourselves”.
I recently made an expensive [$278] mistake and got a speeding ticket. To make matters worse, it happened while only ten miles into a scheduled 350 mile car trip. I was upset with both myself and the [over achieving] police officer who informed me that I was going 74 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. For those of you who are familiar with I-285, the perimeter highway which encircles Atlanta, who goes 55 mph on 285?  If you did, you would get run over.

The famous author and motivational speaker Dale Carnegie, is said to have had a file folder in his desk drawer entitled "FTD".  It stood for “Foolish Things I Have Done". Whenever he did something foolish, he would dictate a record of it to his assistant. He confesses, however, that on occasion he was so embarrassed by his stupidity that he was ashamed to have her know it.  He would write it out in longhand and slip it into the file himself.

I just finished a book entitled, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?”. As you may have guessed, the title refers to the approximate number of people who were killed at the hands of Adolf Hitler and his minions during the Holocaust period. The book asks its’ readers some important questions including how do we prevent a reoccurrence of such a horrendous event. As philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Like most things, learning from our mistakes as well as the mistakes of others is easier said than done, but we all know it’s the smart thing to do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


People  are funny.  They sure do have differing opinions when it comes to making choices.  Someone once said, “Opinions are like belly buttons; everyone has one”.

As a youthful GM, I once made the decision to allow my staff to select their own style and color of uniforms.  After numerous attempts at a consensus, to no avail, I ended up having to make the choice of uniforms myself.

Some years prior to that, when I was a young and inexperienced management trainee at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, I was given the assignment to help solve a lingering problem.  [As a side bar, management trainees at a hotel are like the “Mikey’s” of the management team…..remember the “let Mikey try it” commercials?].  There was a Quality Assurance [QA] Committee at the hotel which was comprised of several representatives from all employee groups, including at least one from each department and each shift.  It was determined that the number one complaint, according to the employee suggestion box, was that the food in the employee cafeteria was not satisfactory and was impacting employee morale.

With my new assignment freshly in hand and with a somewhat naive but enthusiastic approach to my new challenge, I proceeded to poll the vocal rank and file.  I had created what I thought was a well- prepared questionnaire and asked as many of the associates to complete it as possible.  I made it a point to receive input from associates from each of the three shifts as well as from participants of each meal period.  Finally, after two weeks of polling and close to 300 opinions out of a pool of 650 associates of the 1012 room hotel, it was time for the compilation of comments and for the report of my findings to the QA Committee.  I’ll never forget the confused look on their faces as I reported the two top employee comments:  Number one was  “the food stinks” and number two was “the portions are too small”.

After much deliberation and discussion, I made my recommendation to always allow associates the choice of having hot dogs, hamburgers and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches available as a food offering at any time throughout the day or night.

Negative comments declined by 30% following the implementation of the new menu choices.

I guess the moral of the story is…When you ask for people’s feedback and get conflicting comments, read between the lines.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I am very proud of the efforts Hotel Equities and its associates have put forth in giving back to the communities in which we operate hotels.  Samaritan’s Purse, InStep Global, Habitat for Humanity, the Children’s Miracle Network, the Salvation Army,  the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy and Life Lessons over Lunch are some of the ways our team has contributed to name a few.

I would like to bring your attention to another worthwhile cause which HE participates in and contributes towards, the Global Soap Project. I met Derreck Kayongo approximately two years ago at a fundraiser event at Georgia State University. Since that time, I have had the pleasure of introducing Derreck and his ministry to several HE groups including at our General Manager’s Quarterly Meeting, our monthly Coaching Staff meeting and our annual Chief Engineers Conference. Each of these groups has embraced Derreck and his ministry and remain committed to help him reach his vision.

The Global Soap Project [GSP] takes used soap from hotels and re-manufactures it into new bars of soap which are then distributed throughout less fortunate countries and to under privileged people to help prevent death from disease. Derreck and the GSP were recently recognized on television as one of CNN’s Heroes. You can go to to learn more.

I am hopeful that you have had the opportunity participate in the act of giving recently and that you have experienced a sense of joy which is beyond normal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I must admit that I get discouraged sometimes. My discouragement typically comes from within, from my fears. Fear of failure and fear of letting others down are often the stimulants. I gain strength and wisdom from reading about how others handle their fears. The bible and in particular the book of Proverbs, is often the source of my strength. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters. I try to make it a point to read one chapter each day.

Another source of solace comes from reading biographies. Someone once said, “We ought to learn from the mistakes of others since there is a good chance that we are not going to live long enough to make all the critical mistakes ourselves”.

I love reading about Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln lost more elections than he won. Can you imagine his discouragement? He was known to suffer from severe, incapacitating and occasionally suicidal depression. Before he was elected president in 1860, few would have predicted that he would become one of the best chief executives in our country’s history. Similarly, few would have guessed that his two minute Gettysburg Address would become the most famous speech in American history.

The one word most often used to describe Lincoln’s life was persistence. Why is persistence essential to one’s success? Perhaps because the old adage, “Quitters never win ; winners never quit” is true. What is the secret to persistence? Hope. If we believe that future rewards outweigh current sacrifice, we will pay the price to persevere. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” [Galatians 6:9].

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Tim Tebow, the former University of Florida and current Denver Broncos quarterback, has been nothing short of phenomenal since winning the starting job several weeks ago. Tebow, the son of missionaries has seen the sale of his jersey soar in recent weeks in a show of affection from his fan base. However, not everyone is a Tim Tebow fan.

Tebow’s delivery of the football to his receivers does not conform with more traditional, successful quarterbacks. He has been widely criticized for his unorthodox throwing style and his recent success has been labeled by some sports commentators as nothing more than a fluke.

Tebow is as known for displaying his faith in public as he is for his football prowess. He often kneels after touchdowns and points to heaven. He glorifies God at every opportunity, particularly during interviews held immediately after games in which his team has been on the winning end. It is then that when first given the microphone that he professes, “I would first like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”. Most interviewers become extremely uncomfortable and are quick to change the subject to focus on game related topics.

Critics such as former Denver quarterback and  current football commentator Jake Plummer, consider such public demonstrations of his faith to be inappropriate.

I am a Tim Tebow fan. Not because he is such a great quarterback nor because I particularly like the Denver Broncos, but because he has become somewhat of a “lone warrior” who is a fellow Christian who has become a faithful “servant underdog” deserving of my support.

I find it interesting that with all of the problems that our country faces today, that a follower of Christ who wishes to publicly show his affection to his God, would come under such attack.

I pray that the God of our founding fathers continues to show us His grace instead of His wrath, which we more readily deserve.

Welcome to Fred Cerrone's Blog

Welcome to “Stuff Worth Sharing”! It is our hope that this blog will help you to know more about our Founder & Chairman, Fred Cerrone, as well as gain some insight into his vision and dreams for Hotel Equities. We welcome your feedback as well as any topics that you would like Fred to cover. Thanks for all you do to help make Hotel Equities a success!

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