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Resort --- A Fading Word in the Lodging Industry

Once upon a time, “resort” is associated with luxury, high-end life style, vacations … Who would think “resort” is a bad word? Changes occurred when the public found out AIG planned a $400,000 retreat at a St. Regis resort in 2008. President Obama also encouraged Corporate America to cancel their retreats and meetings in resorts. All of a sudden, many companies and organizations, especially those who received bailout money, revised travel policies that discourage or even prohibit resort stays.

The U.S. lodging industry employs 1.8 million workers and supports 7.5 million additional jobs. Cutting resort stays makes a direct impact to resort operations. As a result, close to 18,000 American Hotel & Motel Association members wrote to the President and stated their proposition. Later, President Obama acknowledged the contribution of the lodging industry. However, this effort has not removed the resort stigma. How do resorts react to this issue?

More and more resorts drop their “resort” name while maintaining the same level of service and amenities. For example, the Ballantyne Resort is now the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge; Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Resort becomes Westin Stonebriar. Is this tactic effective in attracting corporate business? After Loews Lake Las Vegas changes its name, this property successfully hosted five conferences with 1,000 room nights, four of which are pharmaceutical companies and one is insurance company. Before, these companies were unlikely to book their events in “resorts.”

“Resort” used to be a name that people can distinguish a resort’s service and amenities from other lodging products. If “resort” is no longer a “resort,” the industry might need to think of another word to name this product for market segmentation.

References:
The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703822404575019212570293060.html (the photo - Loews Lake Las Vegas was also copied from this webpage).
The American Hotel & Motel Association: http://www.ahla.com/pressrelease.aspx?id=26521&terms=obama

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