The Drake first opened in 1890 in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood as D. A. Small’s Hotel. At the time, the area was a major Canadian Pacific Railway hub that linked downtown with the lakeside summer homes of Toronto’s western beaches. The current owner purchased the property in late 2001 and undertook an extensive three year renovation, re-launching it as the Drake Hotel in 2004. Since then, The Drake Hotel has become an anchor of the changing Queen West neighbourhood in Toronto.
Distinguishing the Drake Hotel Brand online and in the community
Celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, the Drake Hotel’s digital footprint has helped the Drake grow beyond their physical entity. As Senior Marketing Manager Zoe Shapiro says, “We've been online since day one. We launched with a website. More than that, as a hospitality venture, we needed guests from far and wide to be able to reach out to us, to find out about our offerings and book online. So we've always had portals for guests to book their hotel stays and book a dinner reservation online.” This web presence provides a hub for the Drake brand, which has grown to encompass the Drake General Store, Drake Devonshire (an Inn in Prince Edward County) and the Drake One Fifty Restaurant. The website also connects the local audience, interested in information on upcoming music and art performances as well as food specials and community events, as well the broader audience seeking out hotel information and bookings.
“We are really privileged to welcome a wide, wide array of demographics as our guests,” say Ms. Shapiro. “On any given day you'll see neighborhood locals having lunch on the cafe patio, while international guests are sleeping upstairs. You'll have people from all over the GTA come and join us for dinner or for concerts. We get a really unique mix of music, food and art lovers.”
.CA is an extension of the Drake brand
“We are foremost a Toronto brand, a Queen West brand, but without a doubt, we are a very, very proudly Canadian brand. I think more so than most, we pay homage to the communities in which we were brought up on a very local level,” Ms. Shapiro says.
"The .CA is a wonderful extension of our brand, and an important one as well."
.CA also allows the Drake Hotel to distinguish items from other business, particularly other, similarly named, hotel properties in U.S.A. According to Ms. Shapiro, “the .CA is a clear symbol that we are the Drake Hotel in Toronto.” As the Drake brand grew, they made a deliberate decision to use .CA’s for their other web properties as well, continuing to demonstrate their Canadian brand.
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