Case Studies

Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, Arizona

Case Study – Hotel Resort / Westin Kierland

“FlowRider has created a point of differentiation between our property versus the competition.  The leisure traveler and families are rewarding us for our differentiation as are our group customers though at a much more modest level.” – Bruce Lange, Managing Director of Westin Kierland

Overview of the Business

The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa is an AAA Four Diamond Resort that features accommodations and amenities of the highest caliber.  From its full-service spa and championship golf courses (three nine hole layouts), to awards-winning dining and upscale shopping, this resort is the epitome of luxury.  Located in the heart of the “new” Scottsdale in Arizona, it is a blissful sanctuary of opportunity and ambiance where no detail is overlooked and ensures you leave feeling relaxed, energized, enriched, and renewed.

The Challenge

The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa needed to find a point of differentiation between themselves and the competition all the while appealing to a new market and increasing repeat visitation.  The key for any resort is to sell rooms, increase revenues and offer an experience that generates repeat visitation. The issue wasn’t one of saving the hotel, as The Westin Kierland is one of the finest resorts in all of Arizona, but rather to enhance its offerings while achieving the goals described above. It was also their goal to add something that appeals to the teen market. They wanted to add the “WOW” factor that would get their customers talking.

The Solution

The solution was to buy and install a FlowRider® in the leisure area of the hotel.  After adding the FlowRider the results were astounding.  Bruce Lange – Managing Director: “FlowRider has created a point of differentiation between our property versus the competition.  The leisure traveler and families are rewarding us for our differentiation as are our group customers though at a much more modest level.”

In year one, more than 1,000 room nights came to the Resort specifically to enjoy the FlowRider simulated surfing experience – the largest majority being families (90%).  For the first time, the FlowRider gave them the opportunity to successfully package a family-friendly amenity that they can attach room nights to.  They also know, based upon their 11,000 first year riders, that more than 4,000 families chose their destinationbecause of the FlowRider sheet wave experience.

The impact of this product keeps the Westin Kierland in the poll position and ensures that they are the plumb line to which other resorts in the area are measured.  Market share,  as measured by room sales in relation to their competitors , has grown year over year at a rate exceeding that of their competitors.

They were also quite surprised by the effect that the FlowRider had on their Food and Beverage sales as F&B revenues jumped 12% in year #1 and quadrupled in year #2 (a by-product of both better weather and opening a service bar to facilitate the additional demand).

With rider demographics tending to be primarily in the 6-12 age group (52%) with the next largest being comprised of the 13 to18 year olds (19%), they have created a resort that offers something for everyone.  While dad plays golf and the mom is in the spa, the teens and tweens can rip it up on the FlowRider.  Customer feedback has been very positive on the FlowRider but it is the Lifeguards that really make the experience.  They are the ones to make memories.  Guests love the way they are patient and will teach them how to ride. Generally, the feedback from their guests is positive. The one negative they hear is that they didn’t get enough ride time!! Guests of all ages love the thrill of the ride and many will make reservations for their next ride as soon as possible.

When asked if the ride was a success Bruce commented ”Results have, so far, exceeded our expectations.  Considering that our first year of operations was a bit of a “honeymoon” period with substantive PR, promotions and community buzz, our second year of operations should prove even more telling.  Enduring still is our ability to articulate a discernable poolside experience difference from our competitors. That allows us to continue to use the FlowRider as our leverage in selling room night packages which, by far and away, is the most important component for meeting / exceeding the ROI expectations.”

So with goals being met, the Westin is thrilled with its investment.  They’ve hosted local, regional and World Championship competitions, and are part of the growing legion of FlowRider installations in a hotel and food and beverage environment.

The Results

  • Family bookings in the Resort have increased
  • F&B sales increased by 12% in year 1 and 50% in Year 2 (YTD)
  • The FlowRider has helped differentiate the Resort
  • They now capture the valuable teen market
  • 4,000 Families chose the Westin Kierland because of the FlowRider
  • The Attraction has exceeded expectations