SLH low profile luxury

There are approximately 520 Small Luxury Hotel (SLH) member properties located in more than 80 countries.

SLH low profile luxury

There are approximately 520 Small Luxury Hotel (SLH) member properties located in more than 80 countries. Since 1991, SLH has selected only the best hotels small (from 7 – 200 rooms) hotels in their markets to become part the brand.

SLH is a British registered not-for-profit company headquartered in the United Kingdom and marketing activities are managed by Hill Goodridge & Associates Limited (HGA) who focus on the high-end luxury market. SLH is owned by all member hotels and the Board of Directors is elected from the membership so peers represent the interests of member hotels throughout the world.

SLH is considered a successful brand with revenue reaching almost $150 million (2014) which represents a year-on-year increase of 11 percent and an increase of 7 percent in room nights. An increasing number of visitors are using their mobile and tablet technology to review and reserve room nights and over 4.15 million people came to the site in 2014.

New Direction for SLH

As successful as the brand has been for many travelers and industry executives the brand has a very low profile. To change this view there was recently a global hunt for a new leadership. Belgian born Filip Boyen was selected to be the CEO for SLH and Managing Director for Hill, Goodridge & Associates, the marketing arm of the organization. A charming, sophisticated, knowledgeable and experienced hotelier, Boyen brings years of industry experience to his new position.

He started his career as Commis/Chief de Partie in Belgium and then became associated with Marco Polo Hotels, Sun International Hotels and Renaissance properties. In 1997 he joined Orient Express Hotels (OEH) and served as General Manager of the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort, moving on to become Managing Director of OEH hotel and tourist train operations in Peru. In 2001 he was appointed OEH VP Hotels for Africa, Australia and South America and in 2007 was promoted to VP Operations.

Plans for SLH

Guest Experience Luxury

A recent consumer study by SLH determined that for the last five years the consumption of luxury products has increased significantly in travel (62 percent), technology (62 percent) and food/beverages (60 percent). Luxury health and beauty product consumption has also increased (51 percent). The favorite destination for luxury consumers are the Maldives (13 percent), followed by Italy (12 percent) and France (11 percent). Secluded beach resorts were the most desirable idea for a luxury holiday (43 percent). Hotels under the SLH umbrella include spa retreats, country houses, golf resorts, island retreats, city and waterfront properties as well as eco-reserves and wilderness lodges – all categorized as luxury.

Unlike many branded hotels, SLH does not attempt to be the perfect fit for every traveler. Guests value the distinctiveness of the SLH experience and purposely select the property for its luxury-level amenities rather than default to a standardized franchised property. Because the SLH hotel is owner managed and unique to the locale, the guest is assured they will not be just another name and number is some macro-database.

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To enrich the guest experience there is new attention being directed to SLH Club membership which includes 370,000 members with the majority in the 35 to 54-year-old demographic. The average Club Member spends at least $1007 (2014) per visit and the average stay is 2.6 nights. As a complimentary service for frequent guests, Club Membership offers exclusive opportunities and unique experiences that can be customized to include something extra – such as a gourmet wine/dine event or a private visit to historical /cultural locale.

Membership Benefits Hotels

Small, independently owned hotels are eager to secure the wide-range of services that become available to them through a SLH affiliation. For owners, membership enables them to maintain their independent status and still gain access to the distribution platforms and marketing muscle associated with brand affiliation and the SLH plaque on the building façade provides the property with a “consumer seal of approval.”

Boyen intends to bring additional value of the SLH brand by capitalizing on the expertise of the independent owners and they are being encouraged to actively participate in all marketing projects and to provide feedback. The goal is to develop a strong working relationship with each property and its management team.

To be considered for membership the hotel must be independent, privately owned and considered the best (or among the best) in the locale and existing marketing objectives must be consistent with SLH. The hotel’s management team must also have the same objectives as the SLH organization and be able to deliver services that are personal, efficient, prompt and friendly. Other hotel components that are considered in the membership approval process include culinary and beverage service, interior design in public and private spaces, and electronic technology that meets the demands of the discerning c-suite executive.

Application for SLH membership does not guarantee acceptance. Prior to joining the prospective hotelier is secretly inspected and evaluated and the entire operation is reviewed by the Board of Directors. Upon approval continued membership is conditional upon maintaining the quality standards associated with this exclusive brand.

We All Win

Identifying and selecting a SLH property is a win for guests for they can be assured that their visit at the property will meet, if not exceed their expectations. For the hoteliers the SLH logo enhances their visibility domestically and internationally giving them access to a larger target market and also gives them access to the management skill-set associated with organizational membership. For additional information, click here.

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Author: editor

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