On April 21, Marriott International officially opened its first U.S. Delta property in Orlando, Fla. The new 241-room Delta Orlando Lake Buena Vista is the closest non-Disney branded hotel to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Opened in partnership with management company JHM Hotels, the Delta Orlando also marked the unveiling of a new logo for the Delta brand. The updated logo offers a cleaner, more streamlined look, and incorporates “Marriott” into the image. This will serve as a visual cue for guests that Delta has the full support of Marriott. Paul Cahill, global brand leader of Delta Hotels & Resorts, commented, “The inclusion of the Marriott name is really an endorsement from the very top of our company—from Mr. Marriott, Arne [Sorenson], and others that we are 100 percent behind this brand.”
In a pre-recorded message, David Marriott welcomed everyone to the grand opening. He also spoke about Marriott’s investment in the Delta brand, and what the large company’ support can do to help it succeed. “[Delta] is gaining the complete support and strength of the Marriott engine,” Marriott said. “Besides the logo, all Delta hotels have also joined the Marriott Rewards program. More hotels, more locations, more points to earn, all great news.”
Opening the first U.S. Delta property in Orlando was a carefully calculated move on the part of Marriott. The greater Orlando area attracted 62 million visitors in 2014, and while visitor numbers aren’t yet final for 2015, they’re expected to break 65 million. Demand is extremely high. Richard Maladecki, president of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association, said, “Investors and corporate partners continue to be bullish on Central Florida… I can understand why Delta, Marriott, and JHM hotels are investing in the Orlando destination. We have it all—beautiful weather, theme parks, an airport, convention center, world class dining, and golf.”
D.J. Rama, president of JHM Hotels, noted that this is not the first time JHM has been involved with this particular property, owning it years ago when it was under a different flag. He also said that the company is thrilled to be involved with it again, especially to be spearheading Delta’s U.S. efforts. “We hope today that the Delta Hotel is a beacon of light, welcoming the guests in our community to a new place that feels like home away from home.”
The official opening culminated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a cocktail reception that included hotel guests.
Marriott acquired the Delta brand—which is 62 years old—in April of last year. Formerly only found in Canada, Marriott currently has more than 80 U.S. Delta properties in the pipeline, as well as plans for more than a dozen European properties and a further three deals in the works in Shanghai. “We’re excited about the future of the brand,” said Cahill. “We’re really excited. We know there’s a lot of demand and there are a lot of target Delta customers in a lot of other countries.”