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Don’t Use the R-Word: Hotels Find Trick to Business Bookings

We associate “resort” with luxury. Resorts, of course, have caught on and dropped the R-word to gain business travellers.

To attract business conferences in these tough times, some luxury resort hotels have resorted to a sort of strategy of last resort: They're dropping the very word “resort” from their names.

The Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte, N.C., changed its name during the summer to the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge after several corporate clients indicated it would have a better chance of landing their business if it weren't called a resort. Same for the Westin Stonebriar near Dallas, formerly the Westin Stonebriar Hotel & Resort. Ditto the Renaissance Orlando at Sea World, no longer the Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World.

Other than the name-dropping, little else has changed. The bedsheets at the Ballantyne remain Egyptian cotton, and guests still can book an appointment at the spa. Guests at the Westin Stonebriar still can get a tee time for the property's Tom Fazio-designed golf course. And those at the Loews Lake Las Vegas—a resort no more—aren't deprived of the property's “white-sand beach” on the lake nor master sushi chef Osamu “Fuji” Fujita's culinary creations.

“It doesn't change who we are,” Renaissance Orlando sales director Gary Dybul said. “But there's no reason to put roadblocks in the way” of landing conferences.

That such trivial compromises are needed to salvage business is a sign of the times for luxury hotels and resorts.

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