How has The Lanesborough performed in the first months and what are your expectations for the rest of 2019?
The hotel has had a good start to the year so far. The city has been busy and we hope this will continue for the rest of 2019. There are many reasons to visit London throughout the year, from the finest sporting occasions like Wimbledon and Ascot, to incredible art exhibitions like Frieze. We even have some amazing experiences for our guests visiting London when the NFL comes to town for 4 matches later in the year.
What is the positioning of The Lanesborough in London’s highly competitive luxury hotel market? What is your comp set?
The Lanesborough prides itself on being a discreet yet glamorous residence in a fabulous location in London, and we aim to provide the finest service to our guests to make them feel at home whilst they are in London. There are many wonderful hotels in London, which are all considered competition as there is something for everyone’s taste in the city. We aim to focus on ourselves and on providing the service that creates the special meaningful experiences for our guests.
Tell us more about the profile of your returning guest profile. Has this changed since opening?
Since the opening we now have a much wider audience of guests. We still see many Europeans, American and North America guests coming, plus we now have a greater variety of nationalities including guests from India, Asia and the Middle East. We are also seeing many guests from our sister Oetker Collection properties choosing The Lanesborough as their London home.
How important is your Spa & wellness offering, as a differentiating factor?
This is hugely important to us, hence our significant investment in the beautiful Club & Spa recently. The addition of such a fantastic facility has enabled us to offer guests something different to anything in the market currently – an almost urban retreat with some of the finest, hand-picked, brands and partners operating together holistically in the same place in the centre of London.
What has been your approach to dining, especially considering that many luxury hotels in London now offer a more ‘relaxed’ ambiance / vibe and ‘affordable pricing’?
Our main restaurant Céleste gained a Michelin star shortly after opening, and continues to impress with the culinary offering under our hugely talented Executive Chef Steeven Gilles and his team. We are constantly evolving the menu and currently we are exploring making the experience even more convivial with more dishes like sharing plates for the whole table.
To what extent do you also attach local patrons? Which are the key attraction points?
A good proportion of our restaurant business is local patrons, and the Library Bar is also very popular with our local neighbours who love the service and atmosphere in there. Our resident pianist has been playing at the hotel since it opened and he is so popular with the locals we decided to give him his own night where he plays for an extended period, which has proved to be hugely popular.
With your main restaurant, you have been experimenting complete pop-up transformations (ex for Easter and New Year’s Eve). Tell us more. Do you have similar plans in the future.
We have created a few fantastic one-off events in Celeste such as our wonderful Enchanted Easter event, as it allows us to showcase the flexibility of the events space in the hotel and highlights that Celeste is also available for special private-hire. Our inaugural New Year’s Eve house party was a massive success as it was the first time in the history of the hotel that we have transformed the entire hotel into one exclusive party. We will be bringing this back for New Year’s Eve this year, even bigger and better!
One of the major challenges luxury hoteliers in London face is the very high turnover rate of staff which is detrimental to ensuring consistency in service. What has been your approach?
My main approach has been to inspire our team by leadership and to be able to retain them happily in the hotel. This has been done by providing them with the right training, support, motivation and possibilities for growth within the Lanesborough and the Oetker collection.
Which are the most important disruptors you are facing? Have you taken any strategic measure to tackle them?
We have diversified our business mix and are working a lot more on our leisure guests rather than corporate guests. In addition to this, with the up and coming Brexit we have guaranteed support to the European community team members within the company and aided them in the process of the application for indefinite leave to remain
Oetker Collection is a German based luxury hotel group which owns and operates some of the world’s finest luxury hotels & resorts, including the legendary Le Bristol Paris, Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, Chateau St Martin, Brenners Park Hotel & Spa, Villa Stephanie, L’Apogee Courchevel, Palacio Tangara, Sao Paulo and Jumby Bay Resort in the Caribbean.
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