Benchmark, Gemstone Reveal Merged Identity

THE WOODLANDS, TX—While it was thought following the recent merger of Benchmark Hospitality International and Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, the collective company would debut a combo name, it has decided to go with Benchmark, a global hospitality company, Hotel Business has learned.

The merged entity also has launched an expanded organization and portfolio, new corporate identity and four distinct brands and will include more than 70 hotels, resorts and conference centers, 8,000 guestrooms, 10,000 employees and a combined management team of executives from both companies.

The four brands include:

• Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, the company’s existing signature portfolio of upscale hotels and resorts in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

• The new Gemstone Collection, which will encompass both the properties of Benchmark’s “Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels” and Gemstone’s “Gemstone Hotels & Resorts.”

• Benchmark Conference Centers, formally introduced to the meetings market in 2014, but a part of Benchmark since inception, the umbrella name designates properties that are purpose-built conference centers and meeting venues offering innovative spaces, service and locally sourced cuisine. Each Benchmark Conference Center conforms to the requirements of IACC, the association that represents meeting venues and service globally.

• OAG-Owner Advisory Group. Benchmark’s OAG platform led by real estate professionals and hospitality executives offers owners asset-management expertise in maximizing an asset’s value for profitability and valuation.

As previously reported in Hotel Business, Gemstone’s Jeff McIntyre and Benchmark’s Greg Champion are serving as co-presidents of the new company with Alex Cabañas as CEO. Burt Cabañas, founder of Benchmark, serves as chairman.

In an effort to distinguish the new company and its four brands, the CEO said both Benchmark and Gemstone teams worked with a hospitality market research and branding firm to create an identity program.

“Our goal was to create an identity that reflects the global leadership, exceptional properties and dynamic synergies and opportunities the merged company now brings to its owners, guests and employees,” said Cabañas.

The decision to keep the parent company name followed market research.

“Benchmark means the standard by which all others are measured,” said Cabañas. “Both companies, Benchmark and Gemstone, throughout our histories, have desired to be the best in what we do, never settling for just good enough and always learning from today and crafting our tomorrow. It was most interesting through this process that those of us most familiar with the word Benchmark rekindled our passion for the true meaning of the word. While the word is the same, how we use it in our branding and culture will be different and more powerful.”

Benchmark’s new logo consists of a triangle and globe, symbolic of Benchmark’s “triangle” concept of balancing living, learning and leisure in design and operations, originally created by Burt Cabañas at the company’s founding in 1980. The globe represents the company’s expanding global presence and expertise, according to the company.

Stefani C. O’Connor