Hotel chain hopes licensing deal will help lure family demo

Hard Rock Hotels, which has long catered to a younger crowd, now hopes to start luring kids and their parents through a licensing deal with HIT Entertainment under which it will offer character-based activities for families on vacation at its resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

HIT, which was recently acquired by Mattel, owns the Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Barney and Angeline Ballerina franchises, which will be featured at the resorts.

The All Inclusive Collection, a Miami-based hotel operator, owns and manages the Aventura Cove Palace in the Dominican Republic and Mexico’s Cancun Palace and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana through a licensing deal with Hard Rock Intl. All of the properties will be rebranded as Hard Rock Hotels this summer. It also operates the Vallarta Palace in Mexico; it will be renamed the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta.

As part of the deal with HIT, popular characters will take over the resorts’ new Little Big Club through activities like meet and greets, live shows and rides on a Thomas the Tank Engine railroad. Not every resort will offer the same activities.

Each Little Big Club will have its own mini-theater so kids can participate in movie nights, dance classes, talent shows and karaoke. A weekly live show, produced by RWS and Associates, will also recast characters as rock stars.

Deal is similar to how DreamWorks Animation is providing family entertainment to Gaylord’s resorts, and Nickelodeon offers families its characters at some Marriott hotels.

The kids program starts launching in June.

“By partnering with HIT Entertainment, the All Inclusive Collection is bringing an unmatched kids club experience to our resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, giving every kid a stage and chance to interact with their favorite stars,” said All Inclusive Collection COO Rafael Chapur. “This is just one of many new rock star experiences we will unveil at our rebranded resorts.”

The Little Big Club is free to families as part of the all-inclusive offerings found at the All Inclusive Collection resorts.

Nightly accommodations at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, Cancun Palace and Aventura Cove Palace start at $171 per person, based on double occupancy.

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