Meeting News - October 19, 2009 - (Page 36)

Dateline: Florida By Matt Alderton new product,” Sain said. “When you open a new property, it gets a disproportionate amount of exposure from the national sales force. It’s almost like adding to the sales force of the CVB. It produces more leads, more This summer, the U.S. Travel Association Vegas or other cities that had large properties opportunities and more interest in Orlando as broke news of a government blacklist of meet- within walking distance of the convention cena destination, and that should translate into ing destinations. Atop that list were Las Vegas ter. Now that we have those properties, we’ll be more business.” and Orlando, which were “the first two on the able to attract more groups and planners. We’ll In many cases, the brands are selling themchopping block,” according to a Justice be able to host the mega-conventions that we selves. “All the new hotels are under the Hilton Department e-mail obtained by the associadidn’t have the rooms for before.” flag, which is a strong brand,” Tynan said. “Havtion. Part of what’s now being called ing three different price points within the “AIG effect,” the alleged ban on the same brand family makes Orlando resort destinations was yet another hit more enticing for meeting planners.” in a long hail of blows delivered to the Although they’re all Hiltons, each meetings industry this year. While Las property brings something different to Vegas by all accounts continues to reel the area, according to Hilton Orlando from the punch, however, Orlando general manager Doug Gehret, who said already is gearing up for a return in his hotel—the only hotel that connects demand with four new Hilton hotels, to the Orange County Convention Cenrepresenting three brands, that have ter via walkway—addresses the need for opened there this fall. high-quality convention center accomThe new hotels—the 1,400-room modations. “There are a lot of great limHilton Orlando, which opened on ited-service hotels in the area, but other Sept. 13; the 497-room Waldorf Astothan the Peabody, there’s not really The new, convention-center-connected Hilton Orlando ria Orlando, which opened along with another hotel that suits higher-end the adjacent 1,000-room Hilton Orlando BonAdded Orlando/Orange County Convention needs next to the convention center,” he said. net Creek on Oct. 1; and the 1,094-room Dou- & Visitors Bureau president and CEO Gary “We very much help fill that void.” bletree Resort Orlando – International Drive, Sain, “We’re not building for 2009, 2010 or The Doubletree Resort Orlando – Internawhich was re-flagged on Sept. 22 following a 2011. We’re really building for 2012 and beyond tional Drive also targets that space. Formerly $35 million renovation—collectively add because a lot of the largest national tradeshows the International Plaza Resort & Spa, the 30nearly 4,000 upscale guest rooms to the Orlan- book five, 10, sometimes 15 years out.” year-old property—which is now the world’s do area, which now has 115,000 hotel rooms. Of course, the new hotels have no intention largest Doubletree—has updated “everything Because 2,400 of those are within walking dis- of waiting 15 years. In fact, Hilton has been that a customer touches,” according to director tance of the Orange County Convention Cenactively selling the properties since well before of sales and marketing Larry Goldman. ter—both the Hilton Orlando and the Douthe downturn hit. “The hotels did a lot of “There’s been a need for better-quality guest bletree are inside the convention district on aggressive, pre-opening marketing,” Tynan rooms in a better location,” he said. “Hilton’s International Drive—Orlando is newly posisaid. “Because they’re new, they’re generating a investment takes what was at one time a strong tioned to compete for the country’s largest lot of excitement. I was at the Hilton Orlando meetings hotel and makes it that much better.” citywide conventions, according to Amy the other day for a site inspection and they’ve Although it’s located closer to Disney’s theme Tynan, national sales manager for PRA Destibeen booked with meetings since opening.” parks than the convention center, the new Walnation Management Orlando. That comes as no surprise to Sain. Despite dorf Astoria Orlando—the only Waldorf Asto“The AIG effect hit Orlando quite hard the recession, he said, Orlando already is bene- ria outside of New York, and Orlando’s only because we’re considered an entertainment des- fiting from the buzz created by new hotel five-star hotel—fills an equally important tination,” she said.“These new properties, howrooms, as well as the people selling them. niche. “We get a lot of corporate business in ever, put a new, positive spin on our city. In the “Hilton has large sales offices that are selling Orlando,” Sain said, “and having the Waldorf past, the mega-conventions had to stay in Las Orlando more aggressively now because of the continued on page 42 Hilton Opens Four New Hotels, Fuels Meetings Growth in Orlando 36 MeetingNews October 19, 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - October 19, 2009

Meeting News - October 19, 2009
Meeting Post
Meetings Spotlight
Event Profile
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Association Watch
Gaming Destinations
Dateline: Florida
South Regional
Dateline: Guadalajara
Travel Dashboard

Meeting News - October 19, 2009