B Hotels & Resorts

A new and unique hotel branding concept, B Hotels & Resorts, recently opened its first property in Fort Lauderdale, B Ocean Fort Lauderdale, and is looking to the travel agent community to help make it successful. “We expect agents to be so enthused about our concept that they will be our number one fans and a terrific network of brand ambassadors,” explains Christopher Tompkins, corporate v.p. and brand marketing executive, in a released statement.

To familiarize agents with the property, the hotel is offering agents a special 50 percent discount rate through December 2011. The property is right across the street from Fort Lauderdale Beach on Sunrise Blvd. and A1A. It is a major conversion into a variety of special accommodations including two master suites, 22 enhanced jr. suites, 54 specialty Stunning Curve Rooms—boasting panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows—and 162 what is termed Chic Curve Rooms. The accommodations feature a host of amenities including designer white leather furnishings, HD/LCD TV, and wireless Internet.

To entice the palates of its guests, the hotel will have two restaurants including a casual eatery and a signature sushi restaurant. There are two cocktail lounges including a lobby lounge and a poolside offering. There will also be a special mezzanine lounge area that will overlook the sandy beaches and the Atlantic Ocean. Adding to the amenities is an infinity-edge pool.

The branding concept is creative, with the use of the letter “B” to describe all the features that Tompkins says, “Will revolutionize the traditional hotel operation concept.” Its inspiration is to bring elements of a cruise ship operation into a land-based hotel, which he says, “has not been done on a brand level.”

One of the interesting elements of the branding is the use of lighting, music and scent throughout the public areas. “The lighting changes in the morning, to afternoon, to evening and to nighttime. It follows the rhythm of the day,” Tompkins says. “The music changes as well; in the morning it starts to gear you up, afternoon keeps you going, in the evening it calms you down and at nighttime it puts you to sleep. So, it’s very unique and fun,” he boasts.

The “B” branding will feature such things as B Ambiance as the sound, lighting and scent; B Social, B in Touch, B Nourished, B Active and B Indulged—branding that focuses on public offerings and spaces, food and beverage, spas and destination experiences.

For example, he says, “Everyone talks about engaging the customer or customer service, or how to deliver customer service. We call that B Delivered. When people say they’re going to be arriving late because their airline is late or whatever the case is, we say, ‘You’re not going to be late, you’re just going to B Delayed.’”

B Hotels & Resorts plans to expand to other areas offering its franchised brand to destinations such as New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and other major markets. “Ultimately within a period of five years, we’ll aggressively be looking at international destinations,” Tompkins asserts. “Our offerings will be unique since we work with the ownership of the hotels to see what they have and focus on the environment to see if it will fit within our brand. It doesn’t mean it’s cookie-cutter style in any way,” Tompkins emphasizes.

Tompkins says the company will work with ownership groups and third management companies, but the ownership must be engaged in what the brand is all about. He adds that his operation will definitely monitor the current and all future hotel operations as it relates to travel agents and the programs offered to the travel agent community. In fact, he continues, there will be some national and regional programs, as well as local marketing programs to the travel agent. Most importantly, Tompkins emphasizes, if agents are not paid directly from the resorts, they can reach out directly to him. He also says that there will be special incentive programs to enable agents to earn extra commissions.

“I need your help as much as we can help you,” Tompkins says to travel agents, “so you help me put revenue in the door and heads in beds and experience the product, and I’ll help you put revenue in your pockets as well,” he concludes.