The Seattle-based hotel owner, investor and operator company, Dow Hotel Company LLC, plans to add up to five luxury properties to its portfolio, including a substantial portion of four- and five-star hotels.
The company's current portfolio of owned and managed properties consists of three- and four-star hotels, under such brands as Marriott, Hilton, Embassy Suites, Sheraton, and Crowne Plaza. However, Murray Dow, President of DHC asserts that, "our senior executive team has more than 50 years of highly successful management expertise in the luxury segment, including branded and boutique hotels, resorts, conference centers, spas and golf courses."
Indeed, DHC's team has operated more than 20 luxury properties in the past, including such renowned brands as Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. But even with Dow's primed executive team and experience, the numbers don't lie.
Undoubtedly, the economic downturn has been rough for the hospitality sector as a whole, but it seems as though the luxury sector has been particularly strained. According to Smith Travel Research data, luxury hotel RevPAR (revenue by available room) is projected to decline 15.7 percent in total for 2009 and did in fact decline 28.2 percent in April alone.
Yet Dow remains confident. "We successfully have worked through a number major downturns and have the systems and infrastructure in place to take on a select number of luxury properties," he said.
However he acknowledges that certain sacrifices will have to be made, even in the delicate luxury environment. "Cost cutting in the luxury segment must be handled like a surgeon with a scalpel, not a chainsaw, so that long-term guests are not scarred by the process," he said. "We have carefully selected and groomed our senior management team to excel in these circumstances, and have the experience and results to prove it."
It seems as though DHC is not only prepared for the tough times ahead, but it welcomes the challenge and sees opportunities for growth.