Onsite: Marriott Details Nickelodeon Brand, Centralizes Sales

BETHESDA, MD--At a media update held Tuesday at its corporate headquarters, Marriott International disclosed further information on its resort partnership with Nickelodeon and reiterated the benefits of centralizing its sales efforts. The first Nickelodeon Resort by Marriott will open in San Diego in 2010 with 650 rooms and a water park. It's Marriott's first major step out of traditional lodging, says Dennis Nau, vice president of Nickelodeon Resorts by Marriott. "The resorts will have the face of Nickelodeon with the body of Marriott," he says

Nau drew a comparison between the new properties and the cruise industry. "You'll get the cruise line experience on land," he says. Typical amenities and services at a Nickelodeon resort will include the water park, live shows in Nick Studio, three different spas for adults, teens and kids and a slew of dining options from traditional sit-down to buffet.

Nickelodeon already has a resort in Orlando under the Holiday Inn flag, which may change over to Marriott in 2009 when the contract between InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn's parent company, and Miller Global, the developer of the Nickelodeon properties, is up. Nau added that a second location for a Nickelodeon Resort could be announced while the San Diego property is under construction. He volunteered Hawaii as a market Marriott was interested in.

The San Diego Nickelodeon is not yet accept reservations. As for Marriott properties that travel agents can book now, the hotelier is streamlining its sales forces. Marriott recently unveiled "Sales Force One," an effort (under the leadership of David Marriott, senior vice president of global sales, and son of Bill Marriott, chairman and CEO) to centralize sales efforts and develop a primary point of contact for all its brands, instead of relying on individual hotels to handle sales. Rollout of the strategy is starting in the Washington, DC, market and covers associations, group customers and corporate accounts.

Travel agents will be folded into this effort through the year-old Intermediary Partners group, led by Julius Robinson, vice president of sales intermediaries. "Our goal is to be the easiest company for agents to do business with," Robinson said. Agents can expect additional initiatives set forth by Marriott in 2008, including new modules in its agent training program, Hotel Excellence, which can be accessed online at www.marriott.com/travelagents. (DE)

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