How has your company performed in 2018 and what are your expectations for 2019?
Langham Hospitality has performed well in 2018 and on track to meet our targets. We also opened our 10th hotel in China this year, The Langham, Hefei in Anhui Province which is the most beautiful grand hotel in the historic Chinese city.
We are a key player in the luxury hospitality sector and have an ambitious growth and development plan. We will double our portfolio in the next five years with more than 30 projects currently either confirmed or in a developed stage of negotiation from Asia, Europe and North America to the Middle East.
China will continue to grow steadily but we look forward to increasing our global footprint in Europe, the Middle East, Pacific and Southeast Asia.
We continue to invest in our assets. The Langham, Boston will be going into a renovation in 2019 and the hotel will be one of North America’s best luxury hotels once the transformation is completed.
Which do you consider as the biggest disruptors of the luxury travel industry of the past years?
The rise of room sharing – the Airbnb effect, complementing the trend where consumers are seeking customized, personalized holidays and accommodations. Consumers today have a lot more choices and are engaged across multiple platforms. The luxury hospitality industry needs to constantly evolve and innovate to appeal to the next generation of luxury travelers. However, the unique service and personal touch is still an important element that luxury consumers demand and which a luxury hotel has to deliver.
What are the defining elements of the luxury DNA of your brand?
The Langham effortlessly combines the personality and charm of a British classic with a passion for exceptional and unpretentious service. The Langham brand is globally recognized by a playful touch of The Langham pink –we are a key player in luxury but we are not stuffy and also do not take ourselves too seriously.
Our timeless and beautifully designed hotels are market leaders with our Langham Club Lounge concepts that combine a homely feeling with luxurious residential design, offering a haven of peace and escape from the city’s busy days.
We also have exceptional contemporary art collections that are present in the majority of The Langham Hotels and Resorts as well as Michelin star Cantonese restaurants the group is known for.
On the other hand, Cordis Hotels and Resorts, our approachable luxury brand is designed for today’s travellers. Be it for family holidays, couples getaways or the corporate travellers, they will be able to find authentic, quintessentially local experiences in the neighbourhood of each Cordis hotel and resort.
To what extent discerning travellers towards seek experiences and the utmost in personalisation? Tell us about your approach.
Be it on business trip or a leisure holiday, guests are looking to maximize their experience and time at the destination they are in. People are extremely busy today – distraction and fast pace through mobile devices is omnipresent, so we must ensure they have the best time ever, recharge and go home with unforgettable memories and revived energy.
Discerning travelers seek authentic, local experiences but they all want great, personalised service – according to their needs and preferences.
At The Langham, our colleagues are trained to observe and deliver service according to the preferences and needs of each individual guest – intuitive yet unobtrusive.
(For example, those that need help with their packing, our butlers at our hotels help to unpack or pack. For those that prefer to be more private, our colleagues will also be mindful and ensure they have the space they need.
At Cordis, we also curate and offer free local tours taking our guests to local experiences in the heart of the neighbourhood where the hotel is located. At Cordis, Hong Kong, we have local market tours, taking our guests to experience the sights, sounds and taste of real Hong Kong.
Getting that coveted table at the hottest restaurant in town, advice on child friendly activities, a picnic by the beach or planning that epic proposal – to me, it is all about making sure you create memories for your guests.
Recruiting, nurturing and retaining talent has become increasingly complex. What is your take on ensuring a consistently high customer service at your hotels?
Listening to the colleagues, providing training to ensure they have the right skills to develop and do their job and ensure we have good leadership at the hotels who are passionate, inspiring and lead by example.
Which are your biggest markets? Are there any particular markets you anticipate growth in the mid-term?
China will continue to grow steadily but we look forward to increasing our global footprint in Pacific, Southeast Asia and Europe.
How have branding / communications changed in the digital era?
People today have access to authentic content shared by real people, their friends. The consumer today seeks people and destinations that promote their social status amongst their online networks. They want to experience things that few people can and be able to capture and share it digitally on their social media platforms.
Our industry must embrace and leverage user-generated content and ensure social media is part of a 360º integrated marketing mix. Our guests (existing and future) are seeking authentic information and are inspired, influenced beyond just traditional media today.
Tell us more about you expansion plans. Is your company also an investor or purely a third party operator?
We will double our portfolio in the next five years with more than 30 projects currently either confirmed or in a developed stage of negotiation from Asia, Europe and North America to the Middle East.
Our parent company, Great Eagle Holdings Limited is an owner and investor.
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