How the Encore Resort near Orlando has combined the best of luxury hotels and vacation rentals
While futurists and industry experts point to a number of different travel trends that they see emerging, one that already has some statistics to back up claims of its importance is multigenerational travel, and a new Orlando property, the Encore Resort at Reunion, is catering to families—and other groups traveling together—in an innovative way.
With people living longer (and staying active later into life as well), and many families dispersed across the nation, the multigenerational vacation has soared in popularity. The numbers bear this out: Various studies have found that between one-quarter and one-third of leisure travelers have gone on a multigenerational vacation in the last year while a recent AARP study found that “to spend time with family and friends” was the number one motivation for why people travel today—57 percent of those surveyed cited it as a reason to travel.
And the travel industry has responded to the growth of this market: Hotels and resorts have unrolled programming focused on extended families and the growth of the vacation rental home market, most visibly through platforms like VRBO and Airbnb, is closely tied to multigenerational travel. The vacation rental market, however, suffers from some undeniable stigmas. In that same AARP survey, only 10 percent of travelers named a vacation rental as their first choice when it comes to accommodations compared to 62 percent who would choose a hotel or resort instead.
The reluctance of many travelers is understandable. A desire for hotel amenities, wanting to be in a central neighborhood or area, and concerns about safety and security are among the reasons why hotels continue to be the primary choice for many travelers.
Now Encore, a new resort near Orlando, is bridging the divide between the two worlds, combining the best of hotels with their services, amenities, and consistency, and vacation rentals which generally offer more space and a better value. The 963-acre development has a range of homes, with 4 to 13 bedrooms each, all offering the best of a luxury vacation rental: full kitchens, bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, the latest home technology, and even laundry rooms. Every unit also has a pool. For Nick Falcone, the managing principal of NDM Hospitality, consistency and assuring that guests experience an excellent vacation experience in every home on every visit was key to the creation of Encore. He describes his first time renting a vacation property and it may sound familiar to many: After waiting for his host to arrive with the keys and noting the garbage outside, as well as the disappointing upkeep of the unit itself, he moved to a hotel. “We are determined to change this entire industry by creating a consistently amazing product,” he says.
To assure this consistency, all of the homes at Encore are maintained by a resort staff. From check-in, when guests are greeted by an ambassador who provides a tour of the home, to private events (the resort has a dedicated staff, including catering services, on call), you get the best of a vacation rental without feeling like you have been abandoned in an unfamiliar city.
Encore also offers the sort of amenities you’d expect at a resort. Its centerpiece is a ten-acre waterpark with a 60-foot-slide, a safari splash area, outdoor dining and more. There’s also a restaurant open from breakfast to dinner, Finn’s Café, and a bar, Shark’s Lounge. The resort is located near Orlando’s theme parks—Disneyworld, Sea World, and Universal—and offers both complimentary transportation to them and advance ticket sales.
The Encore offering has quickly found its following, not only among families but other groups of travelers as well. “If your group will need at least two hotel rooms,” Falcone says, “we are the perfect choice. We are able to bring people together under one roof at a fraction of the price of renting multiple hotel rooms.” While Encore has already become a favorite of many families traveling together, Falcone makes it clear that you don’t need to have your grandparents, or grandkids, in tow to enjoy all the resort offers. “Even for individuals and couples, we offer more space for less money.”