Sometimes the best thing is to be a big fish in a small pond. That's been the Peabody Orlando's position for most of the past 20 years as it sat directly across the street from the fast-growing Orange County Convention Center. But as competition heats up at the high end of the Orlando lodging market (chiefly the opening in 2003 of Marriott's 1,500-room Grande Lakes complex that encompasses both a JW Marriott and a Ritz-Carlton), the Peabody feels the need to expand to maintain its preeminent market position.

“It took great insight for our owners (the Memphis-based Belz family) to build this hotel,” says Alan Villaverde, executive VP and GM of the Peabody Orlando. “At the time, the convention center wasn't very big and Orlando wasn't the top-tier convention destination that it is today.”

Villaverde and the hotel's ownership have been working for several years to execute an expansion of the property that will add 750 rooms and a whopping 153,000 square feet of function space to the hotel's current inventory of 891 guestrooms and 57,000 square feet of meeting space. Other planned enhancements include a 2,800-space parking garage, a new lobby, 15,000-square-foot spa, additional f&b outlets and retail space.

“It's definitely time for us to grow,” says Villaverde. “When we opened we had the most function space of any hotel in Orlando. Today, we rank number 18.”

A number of factors — increasing construction costs is the biggest — have kept the project on the drawing board for several years. Now, after several rounds of value engineering and the hiring of a new general contractor, Villaverde believes the project is about ready to get off the ground. Groundbreaking is tentatively set for next month, with partial opening by January 2009.

Villaverde sees opportunity in the Peabody Orlando's position as part of a small chain (the other Peabodys are in Memphis and Little Rock). “As a group, we've gained a reputation that exceeds our inventory or rooms and properties,” he says. “All three of us are big fish in relatively small ponds.”

He also cites the owners' devotion to standards as another competitive advantage. “Even through difficult periods, they always choose to maintain our high standards,” says Villaverde. “We also benefit from being part of a private company in that we don't need to worry about quarterly earnings reports and the corporate BS that's common in public companies.

“On the other hand, we're very nimble and aggressive in our marketing. We treat every piece of business as though it is our last.”

Reprints and Licensing
© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Recent

More Recent Articles

Career Center

Quick Job Search
Enter Keyword(s):
Enter a City:

Select a State:

Select a Category:
Franchise Fact File Top Brands
Brand Company Basics Top Management Companies
Owners & Operators Industry Consultants
Industry Associations Industry Events
Design Firms Purchasing Companies
Top Ownership Groups

Click here to view all of the Lodging Hospitality Photo Galleries

Accor Best Western
Carlson Rezidor Choice
Hilton Hyatt
IHG La Quinta
Marriott Starwood
Vantage Wyndham

Free Product Information
News and Trends for the Hotel, Motel, and Hospitality Markets.

Lodging Hospitality eReport
Lodging Hospitality electronic newsletters are FREE to requested subscribers.

Lodging Hospitality Resource Center
The Lodging Hospitality Resource Center is the ultimate resource to find products and services to build, equip, and renovate hotels, motels and resorts.

Subscribe / Renew
Visit our subscription center to subscribe or renew your subscription to Lodging Hospitality.

Visit our webinars page to view all our upcoming and on demand webinars.

Visit our White Papers page to view all our current White Papers.