Sunny, swank Scottsdale, Arizona, regularly tops planners’ destination lists, especially during winter months when much of the country is covered in snow. Added to the area’s stellar list of resort properties this fall is The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. Formerly known as Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center, the property has undergone such major changes it’s virtually unrecognizable from its former state.
When Scottsdale Resort first opened in 1976, it specialized in being a conference center—in fact, it was the first place in North America to call itself a conference center resort. Corporate America was its No. 1 client, and conferences were 100 percent of the focus, says Patrick Connors, current director of sales and marketing. “They were really a one-dimensional property for decades, but very successful,” he says.
As time went on and the economic downturn hit, Connors says, it was time to diversify the resort’s business plan. In August 2014, it came under new management by Destination Hotels and began an extensive rebrand. The most noticeable change at the new Scottsdale Resort may be the sense of arrival. “Prior to the renovation, we were very secluded and almost hidden,” reports Connors. “There were large trees, a large brick wall and very small signage; people would miss the turn.” Now, it has an entirely updated sense of place, with new landscaping, lighting and sweeping lawns. “It sets the stage for the whole experience,” Connors says.
Another major shift has been in the focus of the resort’s sales team. Connors says 80 percent of all business there used to be corporate—they were missing out on opportunities with state, regional and national association business. “We weren’t marketing ourselves to segments like government, education, association [or] religious,” he says, explaining he’s redeployed the sales team to go after key feeder markets for Scottsdale. With 326 guest rooms and 100,000 square feet of meeting space, Connors says the property is “an association dream when it comes to rooms-to-space ratio.” In the few months since the team began targeting associations, it’s already started to see a payoff: Connors says they’ve caught the attention of American Bankers Association and American Hospital Association, among other influential national groups.
Associations based in Arizona and the Southwest region will get an incredible value during July and August stays at the resort, says Connors, and it’s a bonus because it keeps their money in their own backyard.