Richard Hyde, group executive director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH); Kathy Massarand, director of sales and marketing of Sanctuary Camelback Mountain; and Paul Kerr, CEO of SLH
Yesterday I had lunch with some of Small Luxury Hotels of the World executives and hoteliers at Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant at the London West Hollywood. Paul Kerr, CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) welcomed us to the luncheon and then gave a brief overview of some of the company’s goals, as well as a look at upcoming marketing strategies.
“We live in perilous times at the moment, as far as the market is concerned,” said Kerr. “Although it hasn’t been doom-and-gloom for SLH. We’ve grown this year– in fact we’ve grown every year since we started in 1992.”
Kerr noted that this year the company is on track to reach its goal of 480 hotels in 70 countries. Kerr also made note of the irony of having the luncheon in Los Angeles, since SLH doesn’t currently have a member property in L.A. “We went to see a hotel in L.A this morning,” revealed Kerr. “Although it wasn’t good enough to join. It’s not automatic.”
Later, I had a chance to chat with Richard Hyde, group executive director, for SLH. “We need a hotel in L.A, and we also need a hotel in Dallas and Las Vegas,” said Hyde. He also gave me an idea of which destinations are performing the strongest for the company.
SLH is looking to China for growth, while Thailand and India remain strong. Business is good in Eastern Europe and Russia. Hyde also drew attention to perennial favorite destinations Italy and France, two countries where SLH will be looking to expand its portfolio.
Hyde also mentioned that the company is preparing to launch a travel agent website in October. SLH has invested $100,000 in developing the website. “It’s just rubbish that the Internet was going to be the end of the travel agent,” said Hyde. “Agents account for 70 percent of our business and our GDS is growing.”
William Hill, development executive for SLH was also at our table, and he filled me in on new destinations on the horizon for SLH. “We definitely want to have properties in Brazil and Japan,” said Hill. “We also see a lot of potential in Africa, particularly in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.”