Fast Company
By Heidi Mitchell

Until Graduate came along, college towns were the hottest market hoteliers never bothered to notice.

Launched in 2014, Graduate Hotels spent the past year spreading its kitschy-cool brand of hospitality to college towns across the country: It now has 10 properties, from Oxford, Mississippi, to Berkeley, California, with eight more in development. “There’s generally a lack of interesting hotel product in our markets, yet [university] communities are incubators for innovation, job growth, and culture,” says AJ Capital Partners founder and CEO Ben Weprin, who developed the Graduate brand through his real estate investment group.

Today, Graduate’s nearly 3,200 guest rooms command rates around 20% above their competitors’ and capture an additional $50 a night per occupied room through food and beverage sales, thanks to Weprin’s focus on creating public spaces with local flair.

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