Appointments & Promotions

Benchmark Appoints Tobby Rau Director of Operations for The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando, A Benchmark Resorts & Hotels Property

HOUSTON, TX. March 29, 2017 - The Woodlands - BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, has named Tobby Rau director of operations for The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. The 878 room all-suite hotel, which is a Benchmark Resorts & Hotels property, opened its first phase on March 10, 2017, just minutes from Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida. Bill Lee, The Grove’s general manager, made the announcement.

“It is a pleasure to have Tobby as a key part of The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando opening team,” said Mr. Lee. “He brings important experience from within the Florida market and a keen understanding of all aspects related to launching and running a major resort. His leadership will prove invaluable as we move through our various opening stages.”

Tobby Rau was previously director of food & beverage at Streamsong Resort, located southwest of Orlando in Streamsong, Florida; there he also served as part of the property’s opening leadership team. Prior to Streamsong, Mr. Rau was director of food & beverage for the Royal Sonesta New Orleans, as well as at a range of other resort and hotel facilities across the U.S. and in the Caribbean.

Mr. Rau has managed a variety of large-scale operations during his nearly thirty-years in the hospitality industry. With a keen focus on food and beverage, he has experience overseeing operations for both individual properties and clusters. Mr. Rau has directed food and beverage programs with revenues exceeding $52 million, operated up to eight food and drink outlets on a single property, and managed food and beverage service to meeting spaces up to 64,000 square feet in size.

Mr. Rau has relocated to the Orlando area.

About The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando

The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando opened its first phase in March 2017 as an expansive 106-acre hotel destination located just minutes from the west entrance of Walt Disney World®. Set on Lake Austin and amid a portion of Central Florida’s conservation grounds, the resort is a sanctuary from the boisterous pace of the outside world, neighboring theme parks, luxury shopping, and entertainment centers. The Grove launched with 184 of its 878 residential-style suites with full kitchens, full-size washers and dryers, multiple bathrooms, and screened patios that offer guests all the comforts of home, while the resort’s hearty collection of amenities deliver the luxuries of a full-service resort. Guests currently enjoy three swimming pools, a selection of watersports at The Grove’s Lake Austin Pier, the intimate Escape Spa, fitness center, and a children’s game room, as well as food and drink options that include the large-scale grab-and-go-style Alfresco Market, Element and Zest lounges. 6,000 square feet of flexible space is available for weddings, family reunions, and other meetings and special events. Additional amenities will open later this year, including the three meal-a-day Valencia restaurant and the poolside Springs Bar & Grill, as well as added guest accommodations. The Grove’s signature Surfari Water Park with an interactive water structure with multiple slides, a lazy river stretching more than 725 feet, and a dual rider surf simulator, as well as its own poolside eatery, Longboard Bar & Grill, are planned for early 2018. The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando is managed by Houston, Texas-based BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company. For more information, please visit www.GroveResortOrlando.com. Follow The Grove via Facebook.com/thegroveresortorlando and on Twitter and Instagram at @thegroveresort.

About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® features the finest in lodging, dining, recreational and meeting accommodations. Featuring unique and distinctive properties renown for exceptional service and for creating unforgettable memory-making experiences, it is the signature portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for nearly 40 years. Many Benchmark Resort & Hotels' properties are certified by IACC, the association that represents the finest meeting venues and services globally, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence. www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com. To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/benchmarkresortsandhotels, and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/benchmarkhotels

Contact:
Ken Ellens
KenEllens@aol.com
201-758-2864

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.