It's LO for Langham

Beginning March 7, retailers will be able to book Langham Hotels International (800-588-9141) via its new GDS code, LO. The company's six hotels in London, Boston, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Auckland will be bookable on the major GDS systems, including Amadeus, Apollo/Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan. (Previously, the firm used The Leading Hotels of the World's LW GDS code and Worldhotels for its reservations.) Chuan Infinity Suite at Langham Place Hotel, Mongkok, Hong Kong, has a steam room

According to Brett Butcher, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Langham Hotels International, the company decided two years ago to take control of its own distribution. "The introduction of an exclusive GDS code is a strategic step in strengthening the unique brand identity for our expanding hotel network," he says. "In terms of sales, the new code will generate a huge impact on our business since the travel agents will now have direct and faster access to our hotels."

To spread the word about the new code, Langham Hotels International is launching a comprehensive marketing campaign, using the theme "Hello Love." Butcher says the campaign will offer a bit of humor taking off on the familiar English greeting, which has LO at the end of "hello" and at the beginning of "love."

Brett Butcher

Look for a print advertising campaign to run in trade publications from the end of February through the beginning of April, along with GDS ads and a major sales blitz. Armed in pink "Hello Love" polo shirts and pink canvas totes, sales team members will give presentations to agencies on how to access the brand along with information on the new travel agent portal on the Langham web site, which is also slated to launch March 7. In addition to the brand's service pledge, agents will find direct contacts at each of the hotels as well as unique selling propositions for the properties on the portal. Retailers will even be able to request amenities for first-time guests or VIPs. "Agents can use the portal to feel more confident about selling our hotels," says Butcher.

Of course, since firsthand experience is the most effective selling tool, Langham is offering retailers a 50 percent discount on the best available rate for their own leisure travel. Langham Renames Loyalty Program

Langham's Two Brands

The launch of the new code comes on the heels of redefining its two brands— Langham and

Langham Place
. While both are positioned in the luxury segment, Butcher says Langham offers "enchanting hospitality—an elegant, timeless European style" in premier locations modeled after the brand's London hotel.
Langham Place
, he says, is a more modern hotel with a younger, fresher style with high-tech touches.

The Langham Place Hotel in Mong-kok, Hong Kong recently rolled out new IP phones as well as its Perennial sensory experience: It seasonally changes its music, tea, floral arrangements and restaurant menus.

Although there is currently only

one Langham Place
property, the company is looking to grow the brand with new builds, specifically in China. Deals are currently in the works in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing. The firm also hopes to grow the brand in secondary cities in India as well as in San Francisco, New York and Sydney. Atlanta and Chicago are also possible locations for expansion. "We're looking for the right product to continue our growth," says Butcher. "The American market is very important to us. Even though we only have one property in the States, about 40 percent of our business comes from the U.S. I believe today you have to have a strong brand in the States to become a world player in the five-star hotel market, so we will be diligent with our push into America."

Of course, Langham is looking to grow its portfolio in a number of ways, including management contracts, which would be a new avenue for a company that currently owns all of its assets. Going forward, any new property added to the company's portfolio will also use the LO GDS code.

Agents interested in expanding their knowledge of Langham Hotels International can also sign up to become a Langham specialist at www.tauniv.com.

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