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Dolly Parton’s Latest Lodge Reveals Her Impartial Streak

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Skift Take

Additional cementing her standing as a savvy entrepreneur, Dolly Parton and her associate firm, Herschend Household Leisure, run their motels with out the assistance of third events.

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Dolly Parton has been within the information for releasing a brand new file and a brand new e book. We’re targeted on the launch of the brand new lodge she co-owns, Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort.

Parton and her associate firm, Herschend Household Leisure, run their motels on their very own, with out assist from a worldwide model like Marriott or a third-party administration firm like Aimbridge. In addition they fund their initiatives via their very own capital and financial institution loans — an unusual transfer for resorts of this dimension.

Dollywood’s HeartSong is the newest collaboration between Parton and Herschend. The 2 first teamed up in 1986 to open Dollywood, a theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee — which has since develop into the state’s most-visited attraction.

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The primary of Dolly Parton’s motels opened in 2015 at Dollywood: the DreamMore Resort and Spa.

To get a way of Dolly Parton’s lodge technique, Skift spoke with Invoice Doyle, the senior vice chairman of hospitality with Herschend — and the lodge visionary on the corporate’s resort facet.

exterior of heartsong dollywood resort hotel
Exterior of the HeartSong lodge, which opened in November 2023 on the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Supply: The Dollywood Firm.

Dolly Parton’s Lodges Go It Alone

Many lodge veterans would argue {that a} theme park firm shouldn’t run a lodge as a result of the enterprise is simply too totally different. The truth is, when Herschend and Parton opened DreamMore in 2015, they tapped a administration firm, then known as Gemstone Lodges & Resorts, to run it.

But in 2019, Herschend and Parton determined they’d discovered sufficient and will run motels themselves.

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“We took the coaching wheels off,” stated Doyle, who joined the corporate at the moment — bringing a couple of a long time of lodge administration expertise with him.

Since Herschend turned the operator in addition to the proprietor of the DreamMore, the resort has seen an increase in its key measure of shopper satisfaction, the online promoter rating (NPS), Doyle stated.

Skipping the third events means Herschend can save on charges whereas additionally making the most of different organizational synergies, reminiscent of utilizing only one human assets crew, accounting crew, or safety crew throughout motels and the theme park.

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Preferring Yr-Spherical Hires Over Seasonal

Parton and her companions have discovered methods to place Dollywood as a year-round vacation spot via a mixture of recurring festivals, reminiscent of a Christmas market, a songwriter sequence, and visits by the Harlem Globetrotters and different efficiency teams. Different firms close by run procuring retailers, an indoor aquarium, and different indoor points of interest for the winter months.

Working year-round is necessary for attracting the very best labor expertise on the motels, Doyle stated. Having the ability to present constant work — as an alternative of seasonal — encourages staff to remain on.

“For that quick 60- to 90-day interval of low occupancy, we a lot desire to maintain everyone employed,” Doyle stated. “It supplies a a lot better expertise when the spring comes, and there’s an inflow of park attendance. We’ve positively impacted our NPS scores by double digits simply by not being unprepared and never scrambling to rent and practice.”

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Dollywood Parks and Resorts just lately constructed housing with greater than 600 beds for worldwide college students and different employees needing locations to remain. Medical and monetary providers for workers can be found on-site.

Dollywood’s HeartSong Has a Private Contact

One benefit of working motels with out third-party assistance is having the ability to customise the expertise. Parton’s model is all about her abiding appreciation for Tennessee. The colour and decor selections can mirror a private type reasonably than a generic nationwide model’s guidelines.

Dolly Parton’s motels have totally different themes. Whereas her first had a motif of her glamorous, international life as a performer, HeartSong goals to mix a country lodge idea with trendy comforts. In a design by DS Builders, the foyer has excessive wooden beams, home windows that aspire to evoke lanterns, and a big stone hearth. A firepit welcomes visitors to make S’mores every night.

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Visitor rooms have faux fireflies illuminating lavatory mirrors, echoing a element from Parton’s childhood.

“I’ve so many fond reminiscences of the times when us youngsters spent hours taking part in within the creek and chasing fireflies after supper,” Parton stated in an announcement.

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