|By Garin Groff, East Valley Tribune,
Mesa, Ariz.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 26, 2012--Gilbert's former Legado Hotel has been rebranded a DoubleTree as it prepares to more than double its size and build a water resort.
The expansion won't begin until August, but the name change is already paying off.
Bookings have shot up in the month the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix-Gilbert started marketing itself under the better-known name, said Linda Propoggio. She's vice president of the Power Hotel Group, which owns the renamed property.
Individual travelers and businesses that book large blocks of rooms are far more comfortable staying in a hotel with a major brand, Propoggio said.
"As soon as we changed our name, we got a lot more attention from the meeting planners," she said.
The DoubleTree will be the largest hotel in Gilbert when it adds 129 rooms to the existing 121 rooms.
The hotel is paired with the SanTan Elegante Conference Center, and the new rooms are meant to grab a larger share of the market's convention business. The Valley is a top-10 conference destination but the former Legado has had to turn business away because it didn't have enough rooms, Propoggio said. Many conventions have 100 to 250 guests, which will put the expanded hotel in position to compete, Propoggio said.
The hotel also plans to market itself as an upscale but cheaper alternative to Scottsdale competitors, she said. And it's working to attract visitors who fly out of the nearby Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
"People are interested in our area because Phoenix has been known in the convention market for so long -- forever -- as a great spot for a regional convention," Propoggio said. "This puts us in that whole mix, so we're real excited."
The expansion and water resort should open in August 2013. The water feature will be available to guests and will target the sizeable local population who want to remain in the Valley for summer "staycations." That also should boost occupancy in months when Valley hotel vacancy rates soar along with the temperatures.
The resort will include pools, beach entrances, a meandering river, slides and multiple water features.
The expansion will also bring water features inside the building, in a new lobby.
"It's very remarkable," Propaggio said. "As you walk in the lobby, you'll be able to see all the way through the water park."
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(c)2012 East Valley Tribune (Mesa, Ariz.)
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