Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Bonnet Creek – Two Brands, Many Obstacles
Two 4+ Star Hotels and 150,000 sq. ft. of meeting space on 482 acres bordering and in competition with Walt Disney World opening in the middle of the Great Depression and AIG effect of 2008. An opportunity to excel?
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Bonnet Creek engaged Daniels + Roberts as AOR during their pre-opening phase.
At the time of engagement, the Waldorf Astoria Resort Brand did not exist. The preliminary thoughts and directives developed by Hilton Corporate lacked relevance even before the launch, due to the economic climate and subsequent AIG effect. Further effort to develop a brand strategy was thwarted by untimely departure of the Global Head of Luxury and Lifestyle Brands for Hilton Hotels.
Known as the historical epicenter of NY deal-making and epitome of social activity, our mission was to leverage the strength of the Waldorf Astoria brand and carry it over to an Orlando resort destination.
Due to the size of this project (the largest “from ground-up” Hilton project to date), the Orlando location and the strength of both brands among corporate and group segments, the obvious objective was to target group sales. The question during that financial climate…how?
Efforts to convince management to embark on a proprietary conjoint study were rejected. However, through an exhaustive competitive analysis of the Orlando market along with a segmentation study of the Orlando visitor and resident population, a transient market analysis was developed utilizing multi-variate analysis of behavioral, attitudinal and demographic databases. Looking at items regarding residence location, HHI, net worth, age, family size, regency and frequency of theme park visitation, hotel affinity card possession, hotel brand preference, media use etc.
We also engaged Hilton brand management and developed a joint umbrella brand, “Bonnet Creek,” in an effort to enable two distinctive brands to exist within one environment and allow for a combined marketing outreach.
Drastic times take drastic measures. So, a sustainable competitive advantage was defined and our positioning illustrated the negatives of the comp set and provided a clear position of authenticity, retreat and the elegance (not luxury) of our destinations as compared to WDW, Marriott and Starwood properties.
To facilitate this, Daniels + Roberts developed six websites (Hilton Bonnet Creek, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Waldorf Astoria Golf, and joint websites for Bonnet Creek Meetings, Bonnet Creek Weddings and Bonnet Creek Media) as the cornerstones for our marketing programs, online tools and sales initiatives.
In order to successfully facilitate data sharing, we consulted on POS and PMS decisions. SEO /SEM/ PPC, online and offline advertising and marketing programs for group, and transient along with leveraging the Waldorf Astoria strength in destination weddings. We developed sales support collateral, direct marketing, social media and OTA programs.
When the property opened in October 2009, we had $41 Million dollars of pre-booked revenue for the next year and a total of $108 Million in future billings.
Introduction to meeting planners.
Photography of model rooms.
Bonnet Creek website.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek website.
Waldorf Astoria website.
Waldorf Astoria golf website
Targeted banner ads.
Direct mail promotion to win a free stay at the resort.