ORLANDO -- The newly-opened Royal Pacific Resort, the third
Loews-operated, on-site hotel at Universal Orlando, was still under
construction in late 2001 when the park's two other properties were
posting cancellations of meetings and group business in the
aftermath of Sept. 11.
But although bookings for those markets now are "back to
normal," according to Michael Sansbury, Loews regional vice
president, the 1,000-room Royal Pacific is cutting
better-than-usual deals for the meetings and group segments.
The main reason for these deals is that meeting planners are
being "tougher" when negotiating rates, said Sansbury, who
attributed this to the fact that "other hotels in Orlando and
elsewhere" have cut rates.
After Sept. 11, it is not unusual for a corporate meeting
requiring 500 rooms to request space only 45 days before arrival,
Sansbury said, while leisure travelers planning a summer visit are
booking up to 60 days in advance.
"Because it takes a while to create awareness" in the overall
marketplace, it was decided to narrow the property's focus to
groups for the first two years, Sansbury said.
For the first two years of Royal Pacific's operation, he said he
envisions that 70% of business will come from meetings and 30% will
After the two-year period, Sansbury said he believes it will be
possible to change that ratio to 50/50, which would be preferable
for the hotel in terms of room revenue.
The Royal Pacific has 80,000 square feet of meeting space and
can handle up to 3,500 meeting delegates. At this time, 700 to 800
rooms of the hotel will be set aside for groups if demand warrants
it, Sansbury said, compared with 500 rooms at the Portofino Bay and
400 at the Hard Rock.
He said the Royal Pacific's major competitors are the
Renaissance at SeaWorld, Marriott's Orlando World Center, the
Wyndham Palace and Disney's Yacht & Beach Club.
Sansbury said that incentive groups so far have shown "a strong
interest" in the Royal Pacific. Pharmaceutical meetings are also
set. Pharmaceutical concerns tend to stay for three nights and hold
nearly all of their meal functions at the hotel, but the closing
event is usually held elsewhere at the Universal Orlando complex or
entirely off-site, he said.
For meeting planners, this September and May 2003 are the best
months price-wise to secure space, Sansbury said, based on current
Although the hotel last November offered New York-based meeting
planners one free, pre- or post-meeting night if they were prepared
to take room blocks for the summer, so far it has not been
necessary to offer meeting groups any more free nights for the rest
of 2002, he said.
However, free nights still remain popular with Universal
Orlando's selected wholesalers, especially during off-season,
The park's three on-site hotels pay 10% commission to agents on
straight room sales, but special overrides remain a possibility, he
Sansbury said that agents can sell the Royal Pacific to clients
by highlighting features such as the property's South Pacific
theme; the Universal Express admission to rides at both parks,
avoiding lines; the hotel's lagoon pool with interactive features;
room amenities; its proximity to Islands of Adventure, Universal
Studios and CityWalk entertainment-dining complex; 24-hour room
service; and its acceptance of pets.
In addition, the Emeril LaGasse-run Tchoup Chop restaurant is
set for a fall opening, serving Asian and Polynesian-influenced
For additional information, call (800) 23-LOEWS or visit www.loewshotels.com.
Resort offers discount rates
ORLANDO -- The Royal Pacific Resort here offers an introductory
rate of $149 per night, single or double, for a standard room with
either a king-size or two queen-size beds.
Also offered is a two-night introductory package, priced at $274
per person, double, that covers room, two-days' admission to both
Universal parks, a CityWalk Party Pass for nightclubs and a choice
of one lunch or dinner at the hotel or a visit to the Wet N' Wild
Both specials are valid through Dec. 23, but must be booked by
Dec. 10 and are subject to availability.
For bookings, call (800) 23-LOEWS.