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About Inner Circle

Inner Circle is an opportunistic hotel owner/operator that acquires distressed and underperforming hotels primarily in secondary and tertiary markets at deep discounts to replacement cost, operates efficiently to increase profit, and creates significant value.



Profit is the measurable and definable expectation that should not be forgotten amid discussions of how to best run a hotel or resort. The ability to analyze, formulate, motivate, and actuate profit is what we do best. When a hotel guest is given a stay that exceeds expectations in a way that is most cost effective, revenue will increase and profit will result. Our success is defined by the success of each property we manage.

With a history of managing and, in many instances, turning around some of the most successful independent hotels and resorts in the country, we apply the knowledge gained through experience to new and varied opportunities. Our services are grounded in a profit-focused philosophy. We are unique in the way we individually tailor and develop property management for each unique situation. We are always mindful that our management style has to meet the strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics of each property. Operating distinct and varied independent properties can be challenging, yet we have successfully maintained and developed our track record and philosophy in the crucible of intense competition, surviving through excellence borne of the difficulties in owning and operating independent hotels in diverse geographic locales. Our dynamic, personalized, focused, and tireless, hardworking management style allows us to achieve specific profit goals and objectives; while garnering the highest reputation and recognition for each property.


After several years of ever-increasing success assisting clients with the acquisition, structuring, and capitalization of over 70 hospitality transactions, Joseph G. Gillespie, with a series of partners, began acquiring hotel assets for his personal account. The first several transactions were completed with day-to-day management provided by a succession of major third party management companies. While these early transactions all proved to be very successful from a financial perspective, Mr. Gillespie became aware of the conflicts and inefficiencies and indeed overall lack of drive (or sense of urgency) exhibited by the third party management providers. The unfortunate result was diminished financial and operational performance of the asset and the investment.

Based on Mr. Gillespie’s extensive industry contacts by virtue of his investment experience, he embarked on a search for the ideal management company. While there were many competent companies who were very good at marketing their services, Mr. Gillespie sought a more analytical approach and reviewed the actual financial performance of literally hundreds of different hotels managed by dozens of different management companies. After completing this exhaustive analysis, Mr. Gillespie concluded that while there were clearly a handful of superior operators, if he wanted to achieve exceptional returns, he would need to assemble the personnel and infrastructure to manage the hotels with an ownership mentality. What he needed was an organization that understood the business plan and underwriting from which the investment was derived.

In 1992 Mr. Gillespie started his first hospitality management company. Since then he has directly managed over 78 hotel and resort assets, the majority of which were distressed or in need of immediate renovation and/or turn-around.

By introducing an owner/operator mentality to management and operations, Mr. Gillespie was able to drive 40% more cash flow than was previously experienced with third party management companies. The result was a significant increase the value of his investments.

In 2003, Mr. Gillespie joined forces with Stephen Nalley to create a new, multi-faceted hotel & resort Management Company. The new company utilized the existing fundamental principles of hotel management, while incorporating cutting-edge technological, purchasing, reporting, and real-time key statistical monitoring techniques. All of their efforts focused on the singular goal of increasing and maintaining enhanced profitability. Their development and implementation of standard operating procedures and unique reporting and monitoring techniques allowed for real-time management and decision-making throughout the existing portfolio of hotels. The result was a 30% reduction in operating expenses across the entire portfolio of 35 operating hotels in extremely competitive and challenging environments.

In 2010, Inner Circle expanded their business base to include third party management opportunities. The intent was to provide owners and investors with the entire range of Inner Circles services and management philosophy that increases the value of their real estate through the maximization of cash flow from hotel operations.


Throughout our history we have provided exceptional results, constantly striving to exceed expectations by delivering superior hotel and resort management. Our profit-focused strategy has a remarkable dedication of purpose to maximize the financial performance of each hotel or resort property. We take great pride in being recognized as a leader in the turnaround of numerous struggling and troubled properties. Our team enters each new property with a single purpose – to create and maintain revenues that result in maximum profit. Exceptional customer satisfaction, favorable reviews, and value to the customer all result and relate to one thing and one thing only – profit!

Our experienced team of seasoned hospitality industry professionals will work in conjunction with on-site personnel and management to provide the training that makes profitability an everyday reality for each hotel or resort property.


Stephen L. Nalley, DBA, CHA

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Stephen L. NalleyMr. Nalley brings more than 25 years of leadership, management and operations experience to the Inner Circle Team. Over the past 13 years, Mr. Nalley has built one of the most dynamic and result oriented hospitality management teams in the industry. Through his leadership and passion to develop a winning organization, Inner Circle is uniquely positioned for continued growth and success.

Prior to founding Inner Circle, Mr. Nalley was the Chief Operating Officer and Chairman of the Executive Committee for Ocean Waters. Ocean Waters was a multifaceted real estate investment and management company, which consisted of over 129 separate entities, 79 real estate assets, 35 operating hotels and various office, retail, and residential components. His responsibilities included hotel operations, accounting, legal & compliance, asset management, human resources, information technology, construction & renovations, risk management, sales & marketing, revenue management, central reservations, central purchasing, security and real estate (retail, residential and office leasing). Through his leadership, the Ocean Waters portfolio dramatically increased its profit margin by regulating expenses, streamlining labor costs, increasing revenue and investment in capable personnel.

Prior to his civilian career, Mr. Nalley served in the United States Army from 1988 until 1993 with the 10th Mountain Division as a Light Infantry Squad Leader and was twice decorated for exceptional military service.

Mr. Nalley received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of North Florida, and later earned his MBA and DBA from the University of Atlanta. He is also a Certified Hotel Administrator through the American Hotel & Lodging Association and received a Graduate Certificate from Cornell University in Executive Leadership & Hospitality Management.


Hotel & Resort Management Services


Professional Services

Brands we’ve Managed / Operated

Crowne Plaza
Holiday Inn
Days Inn
Best Western
Howard Johnson

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 1275 W Granada BlvD. Suite 3b, Ormond Beach, FL 32174, United States

(386) 947-7720

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We bring a personal and effective approach to every project we work on.