Global marketing group Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) has recently released its 2011 member list. The number is 40 less than the previous year’s as 80 properties left the alliance due to quality standard issues, but 40 new members have since joined.
Hullett House in Hong Kong, included in November last year, is the LHW’s youngest member.
According to Philip Ho, LHW’s vice-president, Asia-Pacific, there are an increasing number of investors in China hoping to create their own hotel brands. “On one hand, they will collaborate with global-chain brands; on the other, they also want to create their own legends, and this is where we come in,” he says.
China properties that have joined LHW include “urban resort” Puli Hotel in Shanghai and Fuchung Resort in Hangzhou, which features rooms, suites and villas in traditional Jiangnan village style and provides facilities for golfing, spa, tai chi, yoga and swimming.
According to Ho, LHW’s customer base continues to show strong growth in Asia, with Singapore, India and Hong Kong seeing year-on-year growth of 26, 30 and 32 percent respectively. The percentage of increase from China is 40. All these figures are significantly higher than the world-wide average of 15 percent.
Ho also pointed to surveys commissioned by his group that show a shift in what high spenders are looking for in travel before and after the financial crisis. “Luxury travellers used to be looking for pampering, but after the financial crisis in 2008, they have become more interested in entertaining and learning,” he says.
In response to changing needs, the group has designed experiences such as “wine and truffle”, where guests are given the opportunity to hunt for the prized mushrooms and enjoy dishes prepared from them; visits to boutique wineries; and a tour of the Vatican that wrap up with an audience with the Pope.
For China travellers, Ho says that shopping-related experiences are popular, such as a stay at the Coco Chanel Suite in Hotel Ritz Paris and private sessions with designers when staying at The Ritz London. The group is also rolling out more new golf-related packages with resorts such as The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and The Nam Hai in Vietnam, which are also expected to be sought after among China travellers.
Recently, the group also enhanced its loyalty programme – Leaders Club – to ensure that all members receive complimentary breakfast and internet access across their portfolio, again, to enhance the customer experience (see story here).
For more details, visit www.lhw.com