Working to ensure that employees and management are on the same page can be an extremely demanding endeavor for any entity in the lodging industry. Adding extra players, like a management company or corporate overseer, to create a symbiotic and effective environment can push everyone to their limits, even in hospitality, a marketplace known for being accommodating.
This is why the relationship between Hard Rock International, Loews Hotels & Resorts, and Universal Orlando Resort could have been a coordination nightmare. Instead, this collaboration is not only an opportunity for these three companies to further their businesses, it also gives them a chance to work together and strengthen their ties. The end result is an exemplary guest experience, explains Carl Hudson, managing director of the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando. “Over the 15-year period since we opened, we have focused on our team, not only on their training, but also ensuring they reflect the values and culture of our three joint-venture partners,” he says.
At the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, New York-based management company Loews manages to seamlessly unite its hotel services team in a cooperative relationship with the theme parks in the area. This arrangement improves the guest experience by allowing each entity to focus on what it does best without having to expend energy on areas that might not fall under its expertise. Loews and Hard Rock can concentrate on the guests, while Universal Orlando provides its panoply of entertainment options. Orchestrating a functioning and successful venture requires a master plan from top to bottom and back again, a unifying “concept storyline,” as Hudson calls it, “to make it unique and compelling to the guest.”
Hudson and his managing partners reap the reward of their cohesive company: Loews’s 650-room Hard Rock property is the top performing Hard Rock hotel under the brand. This superior performance can be attributed to the collaboration of these hospitality allies. “Develop a team that reinforces and reflects the values of the brand they represent, and ensure the management team also buys in to the values of the brand and that they reinforce it each and every day with the team,” Hudson notes.
Cooperation and collaboration obviously are highly regarded as effective business strategies, but doing it effectively and thoughtfully has created a successful model for these brands.
Some of the best and most powerful partnerships are in mixed or heterogeneous groups, with each member bringing something fresh and distinct to the table. By embracing this model and providing a common mission statement, Hard Rock, Loews, and Universal Orlando have successfully sealed their strategic alliance, thereby increasing profits, client satisfaction, and their own corporate reputations.