Describing it as a ‘perfect marriage’ for both brands, Choice’s Rick Hertan touted the potential benefits of a recent collaboration between Cambria Hotels and Jackson Family Wines designed to offer guests an enhanced upscale experience.
Hertan—who is director, brand management, Cambria Hotels by Choice Hotels International—was joined by Lynne Clarke—senior sales director, national accounts, Jackson Family Wines—during a panel discussion entitled “How To Create The Perfect Pairing For Today’s Guests,” which took place at the recent BITAC Food & Beverage Virtual Connect 2021.
Beginning next month, Cambria Estate Winery will offer its Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir and its Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay at Cambria Hotels’ restaurants and bars across the country, as well as in the self-serve marketplace.
Hertan focused on the guest as he explained some of the synergies between the two Cambria brands. “They’re both customers who really do want the finer things in life, but also appreciate value at the end of the day,” he said.
Hertan further explained that when guests sit down at a restaurant or bar within Cambria Hotels they can scan a QR code, which will bring them to a two-minute educational video about Cambria Wines. “You naturally see that synergy as a guest between Cambria Hotels and Cambria Wines. It really is a just natural fit amongst both brands,” he said.
Cambria Estate Winery—which is part of Jackson Family Wines and its 55 family-owned and operated wineries—was named one of Wine & Spirits top 100 Wineries of 2020 and a Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2019.
While the Cambria name may have been the catalyst for the partnership both executives agreed there were far more commonalities once they dug a little deeper, not the least of which was that both are female-led organizations. Hertan described that as a “key piece in this collaboration.”
Cambria brand leader Janis Cannon, SVP, upscale brands, Choice Hotels, first identified some synergies and started the dialogue between the companies back in October.
“This collaboration came out of general respect for each other so we couldn’t wait to do something together. We wanted to find the right platform and yes the beginning started with the name alignment, but it’s so much more than that,” said Clarke.
Hertan reinforced the point. “That’s exactly what we felt as well. It started out with the name and we thought there was some synergy there and perhaps some customer demographic synergies as well. However, when we got the two groups together and got to thinking what’s going to work for our hotels and what’s going to work for Cambria Wines it was evident that these two brands really were a perfect marriage,” he said.
According to Choice Hotels, the new offering is designed for the modern traveler who appreciates immersive and enriching experiences and underscores the brands’ synergy and shared values. The Cambria wines are also designed to further enhance the experience and diversify the collection of hyper local craft beers and signature specialty cocktails offered throughout the Cambria Hotels portfolio, which now includes some 58 properties.
Meanwhile, throughout 2021 select Cambria Hotels will host interactive Corks & Crafts events, pairing wines and craft beers with locally inspired dishes to create on-site tasting experiences.
Hertan pointed out these events have already gained considerable momentum.
“What we’re seeing from a property perspective is they’re really gravitating to holding these to get meeting planners to come into their properties. We know being bar-forward is a key differentiator for our brand and holding these events highlights a key difference between us and our competitors,” he said.
Clarke emphasized the importance of sustainability as well, which is a core focus of both brands. She noted Jackson Family Wines was recently named the 2020 Green Company of the Year by U.K.-based Drinks Business, receiving the award for the second time in the past 6 years.
“It’s something that our family takes to heart. We looked at everything Cambria Hotels was doing as far as sustainability and it was one of their pillars and it was important to us to see that we align socially and for the environment,” she noted.
In discussing what lies ahead for 2021 and beyond, both executives talked about the partnership as a long-term proposition.
“We are not looking at this for a year or two. We are looking at this very long-term; that 10 or 20 years from now we’re going to continue to grow and create things together,” stated Clarke.
Hertan, for his part, noted that by the end of the year he would like to see all of the Cambria Hotel brand’s bars and restaurants have the Cambria Wines available to guests so they can “truly experience them.”
He further added, “This really is the tip of the iceberg for this collaboration. We think there is a long runway here of where this could go.”