Dolce Hotels Makes Inroads With Corporate Transient Gains - Business Travel News

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Dolce Hotels Makes Inroads With Corporate Transient Gains

February 11, 2013 - 04:30 PM ET

By Michael B. Baker

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 spaces.

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 Starwood brand."

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