Challenges & Rewards: Launching the Largest Hotel in the U.S.


April 15, 2019

Opening in December 2018, Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado, is currently the largest hotel under construction in the U.S., with over 485,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting, convention, outdoor, exhibit & pre-function space and more than 1,500 rooms. But sheer size isn’t the most notable thing about the new property. The care that has gone into planning Gaylord Rockies set it apart from other similarly sized resorts. Balancing the big picture with the smaller scale details is not without its challenges – here’s how we approached making sure we found the perfect balance.

Building A Sales Team From Scratch

An exceptional sales team is essential to a hotel of Gaylord Rockies’ size. We’ve built our team from scratch, hand-picking members based on past results and successes. We’ve invested in sales training, and we expect our new hires to take it seriously — with an expectation that deliver results time and time again. For our sales team, Gaylord Rockies found people who understand what a special experience working here is, and who take pride in being a part of the extraordinary environment we’re creating.

Implementing Brand Culture

A strong brand culture promises big returns for a business. The most productive employees are happy ones – and a consistent, positive work culture is vital when it comes to driving productivity. As part of the Marriott brand, Gaylord Rockies is already fortunate enough to be a part of strong brand culture. At the same time, we strive to put our own unique stamp on the overall culture, delivering an authenticity that encourages our employees to share the property’s vision, as we book more business and find where we fit in within the brand, in the local market, and within our national competitors. We start at the top: management embodies our brand values, showcasing the behavior we expect from our employees.

Spreading the Word

Right from the word “go,” Gaylord Rockies earned coverage in local media outlets, thanks to its status as the largest combined convention center and hotel in Colorado and as Aurora, CO’s first major tourism product. But we knew we had to go further and guide the narrative, working with marketing resources to develop all the assets we need to tell the story, from renderings to fact sheets and beyond. Those materials are vital for a vast, ongoing awareness campaign that ensure everyone knows about the amazing property we are building. We’ve had the opportunity to get creative with site visits, painting as full a picture of Gaylord Rockies as possible, without a fully operating hotel to show off. This required us to develop a strong relationship with the construction crew, balancing an active construction site with customers touring the property.

Doing Whatever It Takes

It’s an “all hands on deck” situation as Gaylord Rockies nears its December 2018 opening date. Every member on our growing staff is being asked to go above and beyond what would typically be required of his or her job, from taking out the trash, to IT support to airport pick-ups and much more. The work is challenging, to be sure, but it also serves to build the team spirit necessary to launching a successful new property, creating a unique sense of ownership of the project at every level.