To some the term "branding" is regarded as a four-letter word. One of the byproducts of the homogenization of products under well-known brand names is consumer acceptance of sub-standard products largely due to name recognition. But to Disney's Jay Rasulo, branding is a key element to their entire marketing strategy.
As Chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Rasulo is charged with overseeing Disney's worldwide theme park empire. Among his responsibilities is the need to fill tens-of-thousands of hotel rooms with paying customers on a nightly basis.
In the hospitality industry, Rasulo views their ability to leverage the "Disney" name as being critical to success, in much the same way that the Hiltons and Mariotts operate. This synergy applies to Disney's cruise line and timeshare operations, as well.
Hotel Interactive.com recently reported on some of Rasulo's comments during the Americas Lodging Investment Conference:
“There is no doubt a lot of new brands have been introduced. But they have to have a real consumer proposition or the brand will become meaningless and disappear,” explained Disney’s Rasulo, noting that every move the company makes is in support of its core brands of Disney, ABC and ESPN. “We are very bullish on brands.”
Rasulo said the Disney brand is the pillar of the $40 billion company, and that his division is constantly looking for ways to extend the brand. During the interview Rasulo intimated the company is planning to get into the resort business outside of properties affiliated with the company’s theme parks.
It’s a move he believes makes sense because of the success of both the Disney Cruise line and the Disney Vacation Club, its vacation ownership division.
“Our activity is almost solely behind the Disney brand. If there is a new brand to build or buy that we can support in some strategic way we’d be there. We are true believers in brand and you won’t find us under the covers,” said Rasulo.