Upscale Getaways Sweeten Profits

By adding the luster of Godiva Chocolatier and Robert Mondavi Private Selection to its Signature Package Program, Meyer Jabara Hotels, a Connecticut-based operator of 23 properties, hopes to entice “staycationers” with something more than the usual strawberries and champagne. M.J. Marketing, a subsidiary of Meyer Jabara, claims its Godiva Weekend, Food & Wine Escape and Discover Weird U.S. packages boost profits by suggesting romantic vistas, historic locales, fine dining and out-of-the-ordinary experiences.

Last year, ADR and occupancy at Meyer Jabara's properties jumped $30 and 10 points, respectively, as a result of the upscale program, according to Marketing Director Larry Noto.

The Godiva Getaway comprises an upgrade to a king-size bed, a box of Godiva's chocolates, a romantic CD, a guide to the area's Top 10 sweet spots and a 4 p.m. checkout. The Food & Wind Escape, presented by Robert Mondavi Private Selection and Marc Silverstein (former host of the Food Network's The Best Of), offers half bottles of Chardonnay and Cabernet, two wineglasses, signature corkscrew and a guide to the area's best food and wine. The Weird U.S. Getaway features a copy of Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets and a guide to some of the area's more unusual haunts. All packages include breakfast for two and deluxe overnight accommodations.

In Baltimore, for example, the Discover Weird U.S. package directs guests to the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, the site of an actual exorcism and a tavern whose ceiling is a replica of the one in the Sistine Chapel. “People will pay for an experience,” says Noto.

M.J. Marketing is looking to expand its branded getaways to other hotels. Alliance Hospitality Management LLC, Raleigh, NC, is already on board, says Noto. Plans for a Girlfriends Getaway and an as-yet-unnamed family package are under way.

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