Delta with a Florida flavour

BETHESDA, Md. — The first Delta hotel outside Canada, located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., takes Delta's laser focus on what's important to travellers and gives it a Disney slant, according to Marriott's Paul Cahill.

Pirate ship and splash zone Delta Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

Pirate ship and splash zone Delta Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

BETHESDA, Md. — The first Delta hotel outside Canada, located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., takes Delta's laser focus on what's important to travellers and gives it a Disney flavour, according to Marriott's Paul Cahill,

Paul Cahill

global brand leader Delta Hotels & Resorts and area vice-president of operations, Canada.

This 241-room Delta Orlando Lake Buena Vista, located right next to Downtown Disney, is set to open Dec. 15 and will be operated under a franchise agreement by JHM Hotels. It's going to be a business hotel but will also have a significant leisure component, including things not found in Canadian Deltas, such as a pirate ship and splash zone for kids.

Paul Cahill

“At the same time, we feel the warm, caring, genuine hospitality of Delta will play out well for us. We take that and ask what it would mean if a traveller is on business or leisure in Orlando.”

Cahill stressed that Delta is all about prioritizing and simplifying the customer experience, focusing on what the modern traveller needs and wants, and eliminating things that keep them from maintaining momentum when travelling. He calls the concept “smart value.”

“Most people are capable of managing their own luggage,” Cahill said. “For the frequent business traveller, bellman service can be a distraction.” Similarly, in-room food delivery can be a distraction if guests order room service and are forced to wait 30 minutes for it to arrive. They want their  food in 10 or 15 minutes, and they want it the way they eat food on the road — not necessarily with fine china and clunky carts.

“We want to elevate what's important, and we're taking a real discerning approach,” Cahill said.

“The bar is critically important to business travellers' rituals, whether they're working in groups or by themselves. It needs to be dialled up and it needs to be table service.”

He gave the example of Honda as a company that provides products that are utilitarian, but great in terms of quality and safety. They cater to the needs of their customers. “There must be 10 cup-holders in their mini van and even built-in vacuum-cleaners,” he told CLN.

Marriott has two more Delta deals approved, including one in Dallas, Tex., and others in the pipeline. “Several are very near to completion,” said Cahill. “We bought the brand to grow it and we're looking at multiple locations and lots of markets.”