Robert Harp, CCIM
What does your company do? GlobalHotelNetwork.com (GHN) is a highly respected online global media brand—providing actionable market insights and thought leadership to CEOs, presidents and decision makers in the global travel and tourism industry. GlobalHotelNetwork.com is a Media Sponsor of 50+ industry conferences worldwide, especially those with a focus on hotel investment.
How long have you been at your current employer? Since 1987.
Describe your role in the company. As CEO, I’m responsible for shepherding the vision, mission and core values of GlobalHotelNetwork.com – and for managing the overall operations and resources of the company. In addition, I serve as chair of GHN’s Advisory Board (consisting of 25 hotel company CEOs) and GHN’s Thought Leaders Global Network.
Why are you a CCIM Member? I’m a CCIM Member primarily for the premier educational value of the designation. As an added benefit, I appreciate working with the rich network of highly talented CCIM professionals in the business.
Are you a CCIM Designee? Yes
When did you earn your pin? 1994
What impact has your involvement with CCIM had on your career? I was in my early 30s when I earned my CCIM designation. My involvement in the San Diego CCIM Chapter significantly sharpened my entrepreneurial and leadership skills. In 1994, I served as president-elect of the San Diego CCIM Chapter (when Tom Aycock, CCIM was president). And in 1995, I served as the Chapter President. Tom encouraged me to organize the first San Diego Hospitality Industry Outlook in 1994 – and I’ve enjoyed chairing this event annually ever since.
Also in the early 90s, fellow CCIMs Dick Bridy, Ed Neill, Craig Irving, Joe Petrini and I were part of the leadership team that launched the San Diego County Commercial Association of Realtors (SDCCAR) – which was a very bold and entrepreneurial initiative at the time. And Ed, Dick, Joe and I served as president of SDCCAR in the beginning years, as did my good friend, the late Jay Diskin, CCIM, who succeeded me as president in 1998. The association is now known as the Commercial Real Estate Alliance, San Diego.
Describe a recent transaction you’d like to highlight. Our firm represented the seller of the Kona Kai Resort and Spa a few years ago – a phenomenal water-oriented resort at the tip of Shelter Island. We conducted a quiet search for a buyer (based on our extensive relationships in the industry – here and internationally). The buyer, ultimately selected, was Noble House Hotels & Resorts of Seattle. Noble House also owns the marina at the resort, so this transaction brought the two assets back together.
What opportunities/transactions are you looking for in the marketplace? I guess you could say I enjoy match-making (whether it be a buyer with a property or a property with a buyer). I’m very opportunistic – and most of our buyer contacts (domestic and international) prefer to buy properties of a 3+ to 5 star rating. Our firm has developed (over 30 years) one of the most extensive hotel real estate investment networks globally.
What industries would you like to target in order to further your network? My focus will remain on the global hotel investment industry, however, natural secondary industries of interest would include retail, restaurants, leisure, and workspace (since today’s hotel consumers are all about the ‘experience’).
What would you like the industry to know about you? I grew up in an entrepreneurial real estate family in southern Indiana. At age 18, I was one of the youngest to secure an Indiana real estate license -- joined my dad in the family real estate business.
But I’m also a deep thinker of sorts (pondering questions such as ‘what is the purpose of life? Work? Etc.’ These questions led me to Wheaton College (IL), a Christian liberal arts college, where I earned an Economics degree, while also studying the Bible as part of the liberal arts curriculum. I so resonated with the message of the Bible, that I went on to earn a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (TX) -- which included 3 years of Greek and 2 years of Hebrew.
After graduation from Dallas Seminary, I began my business career in Dallas, believing that God wants each of us to honor Him with the gifts and talents He has given to us – in whatever vocation we choose. My life’s focus is not on leaving a legacy, but rather on being faithful to the One who made me and redeemed me. I have found the Christian life to be a most fulfilling life, one that gives purpose to all I do (and hope for the future).
What piece of advice can you share? Some measure wealth in monetary terms, but for me, true wealth is in friendships. So my advice is to invest in friendships – and you will always be immeasurably rich.
Describe your strongest characteristic? Perseverance. I’ve had my share of setbacks.
What is your biggest accomplishment? At age 49, I decided to pivot and enroll in a doctoral program at Gordon-Conwell (Boston area), focused on leadership and ethics. This was a big accomplishment in that it was a mid-life transition (required perseverance) which then opened up the world of academics to me. For the past 3 ½ years I’ve been part of the leadership at Biola University’s Crowell School of Business. We are fostering an entrepreneurial community on campus, and I’m having the time of my life. I love the attitude of college and graduate students who want to make their life count for noble causes.
What college / university did you attend?
B.A. Economics, Wheaton College (IL)
M.A. Communications, with High Honor, Wheaton Graduate School (IL)
Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (TX)
D.Min., Gordon-Conwell (MA)
What past career or prior experience would you like to mention?
What is your favorite pastime?
- President of the San Diego CCIM Chapter, 1995.
- Founding Board Member and 1997 president of the San Diego County Commercial Association of Realtors.
- Founder and Program Chair for the annual San Diego Hospitality Industry Outlook, now in its 25th year.
I’d say traveling and learning. I guess I’m a discoverer & learner at heart.