Baha Mar Eyeing Multiple Hotel Brands

BAHA Mar is vetting four different hotel brands after axing its plan to include four Starwood-branded resortsin its $2.6 billion Cable Beach redevelopment, its president saying they could know in a matter of weeks which brands will be chosen.

Don Robinson said the resort developer is eyeing four different brands for its four hotels, whereas it previously considered branding all the properties via Starwood's labels.

He said the mix of brands will appeal to varying visitor tastes, and will bring with them a larger marketing platform and an extensive loyalty programme throught the brands.

Mr Robinson said Baha Mar already has two brands competing for its convention hotel, three competing for its luxury resort and two competing for its lifestyle hotel, and while the fourth hotel - which is to be the casino hotel - may have an operator, that information was not released.

Robert Sands, Baha Mar's senior vice-president of external affairs, also said recently that building a multiple-brand complex will create competitive marketing and facilitate the targeting of niche markets in the tourism industry. The decision to have multiple brands could produce wider exposure of the Baha Mar property, and appeal to a diverse spread of traveler.
Mr Sands said the Sheraton brand is slated to stay, while the Wyndham is to lose two of its towers to accommodate the boutique hotel.

Mr Sands said that while a casino operator has not yet been found, they are continuing to source possible vendors, though the economic climate was an impediment to that process. Baha Mar, he added, was open to working with a casino partner, having previously said it might look to develop its own brand. "We announced previously that all of our brand partners would be Starwood, and we would have different levels of Starwood. We will now have multiple brands. With minor tweaking, the plan remains the same," said Mr Sands. "The one element that has changed is the multiple brands within the complex."

In January, Starwood confirmed to Tribune Business at the 2010 Caribbean Marketplace in Puerto Rico its commitment to moving forward with the Baha Mar project. They had committed their prestigious collection of St Regis, W and Westin resort brands to the project.

However, Mr Sands said Baha Mar changed its position and will now go with multiple brands, three of which have yet to be named.

Source: The Tribune