As of March 10 2014, the company will drop the Orient-Express name from its hotel, cruise and rail businesses in favour of new brand name, Belmond.
Only the company’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train will retain the Orient-Express trademark, which is used under a long-term license agreement from French transport company SNCF.
Emily Wilson, Orient-Express Services public relations manager for hotels in the UK, told BigHospitality the new brand was designed to better reflect the diversity of the group's businesses.
"Orient Express is a name that everyone is incredibly proud of and it has firmly established this company as a leading luxury travel company since we launched with one train (the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express) and one hotel (Hotel Cipriani)," she explained.
"Now, 37 years later and with a collection that is so diverse with hotels, river cruisers, safaris and restaurant across 22 countries, we really needed a new strategy for greater consumer awareness."
Wilson said the branding would mean see 'Belmond' added to the names of the group's UK hotel - Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, two UK luxury day trains - the British Pullman and Northern Belle, and one luxury sleeper train in Scotland, The Royal Scotsman.
"We are making sure that the new brand name sits alongside each property as an extension of their own identify – the individuality of each hotel and product is what everyone loves about this company and we don’t want to lose that – just raise awareness that they are part of a greater collection," she explained.
Orient-Express Hotels chief executive officer John Scott said that migrating from a licensed brand to one that the group fully owns and controls would deliver additional business benefits to the company, which would be able to "invest with confidence in our brand.”
The company plans to spend $5m in promoting and marketing the new Belmond brand in the first year, with a further $10m invested over subsequent years.
“This investment will include new website platforms, re-engineered customer relationship management tools, and the company’s first ever large-scale print and online media advertising campaign,” explained chief sales & marketing officer Ralph Aruzza.
He said the Belmond name was chosen after ‘extensive’ research to identify a name that resonated with guests and encompassed the company’s global business.
Orient-Express Hotels acquired the Virgin Hotels’ equity stake in Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in 2002 and appointed Raymond Blanc as vice-president in 2010.
The chef hosted a dinner on board Orient-Express Hotels' luxury British Pullman and Northern Belle trains last November as part of a series of ‘pop up’ dinners featuring high-profile UK chefs in 2013 and 2014.
Video: Introducing the Belmond brand