Grand Hotel Grand Canyon

Xanterra Attempting to Trademark Historic Hotel Names

If you’re a Grand Canyon enthusiast or a native of the area, you’re most likely familiar with the famous, historic, and highly-regarded establishments that exist near the Grand Canyon and the national park surrounding it. Many of these landmarks are just as important to visitors as the canyon itself, and some of these lodges and hotels have spent decades cementing their renown and fame to become an essential part of the Grand Canyon experience. Due to a current attempt to patent the names of these historic locations, however, some lodges and hotels may be forced to change their name – or pay the price.

At a glance, the timeline of events is as follows…

  • Xanterra Parks & Resorts establishes control over Grand Canyon amenities
  • The company manages and runs these establishments, helping them prosper
  • Xanterra applies to trademark the names of approximately 20 properties within the park

This unprecedented issue is still being discussed, but a possible outcome could allow Xanterra to…

  • Charge future businesses a fee for using the now-trademarked names
  • Force existing businesses to change their names
  • Walk away from the park owning the names of its most famous hotels and lodges

While this may be perceived as an unwholesome move by many who love the canyon and its historical Grand Canyon hotels and lodges, Xanterra does believe that it’s entitled to these trademarks after building their value for so long. While declining opportunities to comment to the press, Xanterra officials are quite possibly attempting to create these trademarks to stifle competition within the park and stop new companies from profiting off of the names that Xanterra has helped make famous.

The National Parks Service is currently trying to decide how to handle this situation. On one hand, Xanterra may be entitled to the trademarks after decades of investing into the now-famous names of these great locations, but if they’re allowed to own them, countless Grand Canyon lodging landmarks could be stripped of their long-held and meaningful names.

The resort company applied for these trademarks back in 2014, just before its original contract was set to expire. Due to a stagnant bidding environment, however, Xanterra was awarded a temporary contract that will extend their stay at the Grand Canyon for another year while the park tries to make the concessions contract more attractive to future bidders. Xanterra will be allowed to bid at the end of their current temporary contract, and only if they successfully lay claim to the trademarks will they be allowed to charge businesses for the use of their established names.

Historic establishments included in this trademarking attempt include the Phantom Ranch, the Bright Angle Lodge, and even El Tovar, named before the canyon was declared a national monument, after a conquistador who didn’t quite get to see the canyon.

If you’re interested in preserving the park’s historic establishments, it may be worth your time to call or email the Grand Canyon National Park’s officials and the National Park Service. Do you think that Xanterra should be given these trademarks after spending decades making these establishments as successful as they’ve become? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!