Operations

Denver Operation Lands Gaylord Transportation Contract

Martin Romjue
Posted on January 9, 2019
The Presidential Worldwide team in the lobby of the new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center: Claire Waggener, director of finance; Brandon Lowe, division manager; Shane Stickel, President; and Genevieve Epps, director of operations. (photo: Presidential Worldwide)
The Presidential Worldwide team in the lobby of the new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center: Claire Waggener, director of finance; Brandon Lowe, division manager; Shane Stickel, President; and Genevieve Epps, director of operations. (photo: Presidential Worldwide)

DENVER, Col. — Presidential Worldwide Transportation entered 2019 with one of its most substantial client contracts to date, serving the new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora.

Rising above the rolling plains east of Denver, the massive 1,501-room hotel and 486,000 square-foot convention center on 85 acres is visible for miles and can be viewed by passing highway motorists going to and from Denver International Airport 10 minutes away. The rustic, alpine-themed complex held a soft opening and media event on Dec. 18, 2018, and will be fully operational by the end of this month. A grand opening is scheduled for late February.

“It is the largest and one of the most interesting hotels in the state, and runs like a city unto itself,” said Shane Stickel, owner and CEO of Presidential Worldwide, which he acquired in 2008 and was founded in 1985 under state limousine license No. 1.

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center officially opened its doors on Dec. 18, 2018 as the largest combined resort and convention center in Colorado, offering sweeping, stunning views of the Denver metropolis and the front range of the Rockies beyond. (photo: Gaylord Resorts)
Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center officially opened its doors on Dec. 18, 2018 as the largest combined resort and convention center in Colorado, offering sweeping, stunning views of the Denver metropolis and the front range of the Rockies beyond. (photo: Gaylord Resorts)
Staff & Vehicles

The contract resulted from a lengthy process for Stickel who first heard about the opportunity two years ago while serving on the board of Visit Denver, the area’s Convention & Visitors Bureau. Stickel, who has extensive experience providing transportation for major Denver area hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, eventually put forward a 50-page RFP and traveled to Dallas twice for interviews before the resort-chain chose Presidential in March 2018.

The comprehensive contract includes all luxury ground transportation related to hotel guests, the convention center, airport transfers, shuttles, celebrity/VIP services, and local tours. Presidential also will provide a shuttle to and from a nearby light rail station daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Presidential will dedicate about 20 employees and chauffeurs to the Gaylord contract once it’s fully operational, and will staff a transportation desk there from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Staff positions include two full- and two part-time employees to run the shuttles; two full- and two part-time workers for the transportation desk; a group transportation coordinator; and a division manager working out of the Gaylord.

The assigned fleet will start with five Chevrolet Suburban SUVs, two Ford Transit vans, and two Volvo 9700 motorcoaches. Stickel plans to boost his overall fleet from 36 to 40 vehicles by the second quarter, and draw upon local affiliates as needed. His SUVs will be parked in front of the Gaylord when not carrying clients.

Stickel estimates the Gaylord contract will provide about 10% of his company’s overall trip and revenue volume.

“This whole transportation contract is new to the Gaylord as well,” Stickel said. Before the chain was bought out by Marriott International in May 2012, it kept its ground transportation exclusively in house with company hired employees and owned fleets. Under Marriott ownership, the Gaylord resorts started contracting out for the services.

Presidential Worldwide owner and President Shane Stickel will be using a variety of luxury fleet vehicles, including two new Volvo 9700 motorcoaches, to serve a luxury resort and DMC-convention clientele. (LCT file photo)
Presidential Worldwide owner and President Shane Stickel will be using a variety of luxury fleet vehicles, including two new Volvo 9700 motorcoaches, to serve a luxury resort and DMC-convention clientele. (LCT file photo)
Luxury Connections

Gaylord Resorts, based in Nashville, Tenn., runs a total of five hotels and convention centers, including Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas between Dallas and Houston, Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Gaylord Palms near Orlando, and Gaylord National near Washington, D.C.  The Gaylord Rockies is the first opening for the hotel group in more than10 years with the National as the most previous one.

The new Gaylord Rockies connects strongly with the ambiance, history, and legacy of Colorado, offering sweeping distant views of the downtown skyline and the front range of the Rockies beyond. According to a press release, the resort's interior design and décor is modeled after aspects iconic to the state, such as cascading waterfalls over boulders and local nature artwork to native landscaping and even elevators designed to look like old mine shafts, paying tribute to Colorado's gold rush history.

The Centennial State feel is carried over into guest rooms, with aspen tree-inspired carpets, lumberjack plaid print pillows, and hiking and camping maps in the closets. In the convention center, charming Colorado details are sprinkled throughout including elements that represent ski tracks, snow drifts, and snowflakes. Local food and beverage partnerships are also an integral part of the resort including a collaboration with Dry Dock Brewing Co., an award-winning brewery in Aurora, which offers two exclusive resort branded brews. 

FAST FACTS: Presidential Worldwide Transportation

Location: Denver, Col.
Owner: Shane Stickel, President/CEO
Founded: 1985
Fleet vehicles: 33 [without the additional seven vehicles on order]; 40 vehicles by Q2 2019
Vehicle types:  MKTs; Mercedes-Benz S-Class; Chevrolet Suburban’s, Cadillac Escalade, Ford Transits, First Class Customs Sprinter vans; 27 and 43 passenger Grech Minibuses, and 2019 Volvo 9700’s.
Annual revenues: $5 million+
Employees: 41 plus 16 staff for the Gaylord team
Key executives/managers: Genevieve Epps, director of operations; Claire Waggener, director of finance; Jade Wicks, customer development and retention lead; Brandon Lowe, division manager
Client ratio: 75% corporate/business; 15% hotel, and 10% leisure/retail
Group business: 33% of total
Website: www.presidentialworldwide.com
Contact: (800) 442-542

Related source: Gaylord Resorts press release

Related media reports: CBS Denver, The Denver Post

Related LCT cover feature: Company Works The Grand Business Junction

Related Topics: business expansion, Colorado operators, customer contracts, Denver, luxury hotels, meetings and conventions, resort market, Shane Stickel, working with hotels

Martin Romjue Editor
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