Orient-Express Hotels announced that its board of directors has approved a proposal to operate the Company's collection of luxury hotels and travel experiences under a new brand name, Belmond, effective March 10, 2014.
"We are excited to launch the Belmond brand, which will heighten awareness of our exceptional collection of hotels and luxury travel experiences among existing and potential new guests," said John M. Scott, president & chief executive officer, Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. "Our new brand strategy is designed to build on our strong legacy and celebrate the individuality and character of our properties, as well as stimulate increased stays across the breadth of our portfolio from our existing client base. Strengthening our brand architecture will also make the Company attractive to property owners as we advance in our strategy of expanding into the third-party management of assets that complement our existing collection.
"Extending our global brand presence by having a name that will be associated as much with our hotels and river cruises as with our celebrated train experiences is a key step in our focus of generating enhanced revenue," continued Mr. Scott. "Migrating from a licensed brand to one which we fully own and control will, we believe, deliver an additional benefit to the Company as it will enable us to invest with confidence in our brand."
"Belmond was chosen after extensive research and evaluation of a number of alternatives in order to identify a name that resonates well with our guests and that encompasses the global collection of unique experiences we are today," said Ralph Aruzza, chief sales & marketing officer. "We will establish Belmond by investing $5.0 million in enhanced promotional and marketing initiatives during its first year, with an additional $10.0 million over subsequent years. This investment will include new website platforms, re-engineered customer relationship management tools, and the Company's first ever large-scale print and online media advertising campaign."
The Company will retain its long-term license agreement with SNCF, the French transportation company that owns the Orient-Express trademark, for the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train. With the decision to introduce the Belmond brand, the Company also entered into an agreement with SNCF to terminate the existing Orient-Express license for hotel use without any cost or penalty.