May 10, 2012 — Since purchasing the Hard Rock brand five years ago for nearly $1 billion, Florida’s Seminole Tribe has been hard at work to expand the brand’s footprint and services on a global basis. That expansion has included the timeshare industry via a successful partnership with Mexico’s Palace Resorts.
The two companies’ first collaboration was the reflagging of Palace Resorts’ 1,790-room Moon Palace hotel-casino in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in January 2011, which now operates as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.
The licensing of that resort represented several firsts for Hard Rock: It’s first ever all-inclusive hotel and casino; its first resort in the Caribbean; its first resort to include timeshare; and, in 2011, its entrance into an affiliation with RCI, the world’s biggest timeshare exchange company.
Palace Resorts and Hard Rock are now in the process of expanding the partnership into Mexico, with three Palace properties slated for renovation in preparation for reopening as Hard Rock hotels. The three properties will add approximately 2,200 rooms to the Hard Rock brand. Those resorts are:
- Cancun Palace, which is expected to complete its transformation into the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun in August 2012
- Vallarta Palace, expected to complete its transformation into the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta in August 2012
- Aventura Cove Palace and Aventura Spa, which will begin the transformation process in fall 2012 (Aventura Cove) followed by Aventura Spa in early 2013.
It should be noted that the resorts themselves are still owned by Palace Resorts, but there will be changes in operations. For instance, the expansion of the partnership with Hard Rock has diversified the Palace brand, making it important for specific teams to be implemented for each.
Palace Resorts has explained that in order to continue to provide the best possible resort experience to guests, Palace has created a new marketing arm, The All-Inclusive Collection, which will independently promote the new Hard Rock all-inclusive properties. At the same time, a new and separate team will cater to the rest of the company portfolio, reinforcing the Palace Resorts brands.
This allows both entities to market the brands independently to different audiences and segments, with a focus on the needs specific to each brand and product offering, while continuing to offer the highest quality service and resort amenities leisure and business guests have come to expect.
Palace also affirms the introduction of the new brand will not limit the number of family friendly resorts available to guests, it will simply introduce a greater variety of unique experiences from which to choose.
Outside of the Palace Resorts partnership, Hard Rock International has announced plans for a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Aruba. The government of Aruba selected Southwest Horeca Development, through an RFP process, to build the 310-room, beachfront Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, marking the initial step toward the development process. Upon opening, Hard Rock would manage the day-to-day operations of the property. While plans are in advanced stages, finalized contracts and financing details are still pending.
Hard Rock International, which prefers to license and manage its properties rather than own them outright, had a half-dozen hotels open under license when the Seminoles bought the brand. Plans now call for adding up to half a dozen hotels per year.
It remains to be seen if any of those new properties will include a licensing deal with other major timeshare companies.
Copyright 2012 by Inside the Gate. All rights reserved.