Dolce Hotels and Resorts during the past several years has seen
revenue from transient business steadily increase, a pattern the company hopes
to continue as it diversifies its portfolio beyond the conference centers for
which it largely had been known.
The company estimates that in 2012 it generated about $52
million in revenue from transient travel, representing about 37 percent of its total
room revenue. In 2009, the company had only $28 million in transient revenue. Dolce's
transient revenue figures include corporate and leisure travel. By comparison,
group business made up about 80 percent of revenue five years ago, Dolce CFO
Debra Bates said.
"Before five years ago, we were focused pretty
exclusively on group," she said. "Group business has fallen off over
the past few years, so some of that was required, but we're also mining
different types of groups. The training business dropped off, so we have to go
into organizations and get other smaller meetings that may be done through the
executive offices or the strategy offices."
Dolce has boosted its corporate sales force, increased the
number of contracted corporate transient partners and broadened its sales
channels through such moves as adding a Dolce code for global distribution
systems and developing a revenue management system, she said.
"We went to the level of sophistication of the big
brands on the transient side," Bates said.
As group business still accounts for most Dolce revenue, the
company is looking for new ways to target groups. Bates pointed to the company's
newest hotel: the Alexander, a conference hotel that is part of a mixed-use
building in downtown Indianapolis, next to Eli Lilly's headquarters office. The
hotel includes 52 extended-stay suites along with the 157 guest rooms to
attract a variety of business segments, and its "lifestyle"-type design
features art curated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art throughout its public
Bates indicated the company was pursuing similar development
efforts in other markets.
"The meeting component with a lifestyle piece is a direction
we're going to do more of," she said. "Since this has been under
construction, we've seen a lot of interest from developers in working with us
on future projects as well."
Dolce particularly targets suburban markets that are thick
with corporate offices and locations near university or corporate campuses.
Bates said she was optimistic about scoring future development deals, given
Dolce's "brand-lite" status.
"We don't charge a franchise fee," she said, "so
the cost of having Dolce's brand is significantly less than a Hilton brand or a