GenaRes will provide the newly converted International Plaza Resort & Spa in Orlando, Fla. with the full range of its proprietary central reservation systems (CRS) and global distribution services (GDS). With 1,100 rooms, the International Plaza is the largest hotel in GenaRes’ expanding client base of nearly 2,000 properties systemwide.
The former Sheraton World Orlando Resort was acquired and immediately converted to the International Plaza name by a joint venture comprised of UrbanAmerica, a national real estate private equity firm, and Tampa-based Buena Vista Management Group, an international development and management company.
GenaRes provides the hotel with second-generation seamless connectivity to the GDS and access to more than 600,000 travel agents using SABRE, Apollo, Worldspan, Amadeus, and Pegasus (ODD). In addition, GenaRes links the hotel to all major Internet travel sites, as well as furnishes a proprietary booking engine that interfaces with the hotel’s Web site. The technology supplies the hotel with true ASP technology designed and built by GenaRes, eliminating third-party reliance, to enhance and support the hotel’s reservation and marketing programs while interfacing directly to the hotel’s property management systems (PMS).
“Success in switching from a major brand to an independent flag requires a state-of-the art reservation and booking system,” said Don Heintz, Buena Vista Management Group vice president and partner, co-owner and operator of the property. “We didn’t have complete access to specific room information until the switchover, which created the potential of not having GDS, Internet and reservation support for as long as a week and a half. GenaRes preloaded all available data beforehand without precisely knowing all the room types, amenities, hotel policies and rate types and then adjusted immediately at switchover. Due to their expertise and strong industry contacts, they had us up and running immediately, allowing us to capture tens of thousands of dollars of business that we otherwise would have lost.
“Creative and rapid response like that has made GenaRes our preferred supplier,” he noted. “Equally important, GenaRes gives us the tools and technology to manage and control all of our e-commerce activities across all distribution channels, including third-party travel sites. We choose GenaRes not just for their advance technological capabilities, but for their completely customizable booking engine, as well, which allows for truly dynamic, creative packaging.”
The hotel, located on 28 tropically landscaped acres, is across the street from Sea World Theme Park and only five minutes from Disney World. The property will undergo a major $30 million renovation of guest rooms and public space, upgrading to the four-star segment, and convert to a condo hotel.
“We have a 20-plus-year track record of converting from branded to independent hotels, and we knew we couldn’t skip a beat during the transition,” Heinz said. “GenaRes had us connected at switchover, and immediately routed traffic from our old Web domain to our new Web site, allowing us to capture business from guests who had stayed with us in the past.”
The property’s amenities include the E’Sprit Day Spa; three expansive, palm-tree lined swimming pools; two children’s swimming pools; a fitness center; game room; and playground with miniature golf greens. The property was voted “Best Hotel in Orlando for 2005,” by Latin Trade magazine.
“The International Plaza hotel already is one of the highest profile independent properties in Orlando,” said Eugene Harris, GenaRes president. “A comprehensive, integrated reservation and marketing support system is critical to an independent hotel’s success and will play an important role in building business for the condo hotel’s rental pool.
“We see a trend in Orlando and other destination resort locations of hotels converting from branded to independent flags, often with a condo component,” he noted. “GenaRes has the expertise and hands-on experience to quickly and seamlessly handle these unique types of conversions, ranging from several hundred units to more than 1,000.”