Meetings & Conventions: Newsline
WITH JW MARRIOTT
RESORTS, CHAIN AIMS FOR LARGE, UPSCALE MEETINGS
New Resort Brand Targets Groups
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf
Marriott International has zeroed in
on a niche not currently being filled by its major competitors: the
luxury resort that can handle large meeting groups.
The result is JW Marriott Resorts. The new brand will be
“positioned above regular Marriott resorts and directly below
Ritz-Carlton,” said Bill Marriott Jr., chairman and CEO of
Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott International.
The properties, which cost 12 percent more to build than the
average Marriott resort, will feature a significant number of
rooms, extensive meeting space, luxury spa services and
championship golf courses.
The brand kicked off its U.S. debut in February with the
541-room JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf. Set to open
in November is the 984-room JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort &
Spa in Phoenix.
While new to the U.S. market, Marriott has already opened JW
Marriott Resorts overseas, including properties in Cairo, Egypt;
Puerto Rico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Shanghai, China. In all,
20 JW Marriott Resorts are either currently open or in the
Seven existing Marriott resorts are being considered for
conversions to the new JW brand, although the company will not
reveal the specific properties.
In addition, the chain is moving forward with a new concept of
building JW Marriott properties next to those of sister brand
Ritz-Carlton. The two hotels would share amenities like spas and
golf courses. The first such development, the Grande Lakes Resort,
is under way in Orlando, where a 1,000-room JW Marriott Resort and
an adjacent 585-room Ritz-Carlton are under construction and set to
open in mid-2003.
The new resort brand is meant to address what analysts call a
largely unmet need in the meetings market. “Marriott is
concentrating on the two customer segments that were underserved in
existing resort markets, primarily corporate and incentive groups,”
said Sean Hennessey, director of hospitality consulting for New
York City-based PricewaterhouseCoopers.
But there are risks in coupling a massive property with a
smaller one whose major selling point is high-end customer
“They will have to manage the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando carefully
in order to make sure the customer does not feel slighted or
imposed upon by the folks on the other side of the convention
space,” said Hennessey.
According to Jack Corgel, a senior lodging analyst with
Atlanta-based PKF Consulting, “There is definitely opportunity in
the resort segment. The question is, is it the right entry for
Marriott?” He added, “I can’t imagine you would have both a JW
Marriott Resort and a Ritz-Carlton springing up in every resort
area. The slice of opportunity is too thin.”
• CHERYL-ANNE STURKEN
Back to NewslineM&C Home PageCurrent
| Events Calendar
| Incentive News
| Meetings Market
| CVB Links
| Reader Survey
| Hot Dates
| Contact M&C