With 28 hotels open and operating, 35 under development and a second brand to launch in the next year, Hard Rock Hotels is on a fast development track.
NEW YORK—Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos is in the midst of a symphony of superlatives and milestones, according to Todd Hricko, the company’s SVP of global hotel business development.
Hard Rock, which has in its portfolio 28 open and operating hotels and casinos around the world, executed 11 hotel deals in 2018, “the most deals we’ve ever done in a year,” Hricko said.
For 2019, “we’re in the sixth month of the year and we’ve already done five deals,” including signing a 1,300-room hotel in Alicante, Spain, he said.
Those signings also include a 600-room hotel in Barcelona and 189 rooms in Madrid. “We’re used to managing and licensing big-box hotels, so the average size of our hotels around the world is just over 600 rooms right now,” Hricko said.
The company projects four to five hotel openings in 2019, including in October the guitar-shaped Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Hollywood, Florida, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The South Florida property also will include such unique features as swim-up rooms that open out onto the pool, Hricko said, noting the company is excited about debuting, and eventually expanding, the design to other major markets.
“It will definitely not be our last (guitar-shaped hotel),” he said. “We will do others. We definitely have a high degree of interest to do others around the world.”
Hricko said Hard Rock development is helped by high brand recognition around the world, and an “immense runway” around the world to introduce the brand to new markets “with only 28 properties open and another 35 under some form of development.”
Adding to that potential, the company is looking to launch its second hotel brand, Reverb, with the first two properties expected to open next year—in Atlanta and Sonoma, California.
Reverb has been reimagined since first being announced three years ago, Hricko said. “Everything is different now, even the logo. We’ve been working for two years on the brand and are about to relaunch it and begin developing it all over the U.S.,” he said.
“Where Hard Rock pays homage to the (musical) artist; Reverb is really about the musical fan, and really focusing on what a musical experience is coming from a fan,” he said. The hotel check-in desk at a Reverb hotel, for example, is called will-call (the term generally used for on-site ticket pick-up at a concert venue).
Development strategy for the brand is solely focused on the U.S. and Canada for the next two to three years, he said. “Once the brand has developed a personality, then we’ll roll it out to the rest of the world,” he said, adding there are currently “about 60 additional Reverb hotels in the pipeline” that the company is looking to execute on later this year.