Hotel Online Special Report

 Upscale Hotels Will Lose Guests from the Effects of Consolidation and Mass Branding
Foresthills Hotels & Resorts Chairman Atef Mankarios Asserts 
Guest Satisfaction is Shaped by Individual Experiences
NEW YORK, June 7, 1999 -  Hoteliers looking to stay a step ahead and capture the loyalty of discerning consumers must highlight the local flavor of individual properties rather than implement cookie-cutter standards, said Atef Mankarios, Chairman and Chief Executive of Foresthills Hotels & Resorts, today at the 21st annual New York University Hospitality Investment Conference.

"Luxury hotels that are betting on mass branding are betting on the wrong horse," explained Mankarios.  "High-end travelers do not buy rooms, they buy experiences.  The increasingly sophisticated consumer is rejecting homogenized hotels in favor of independent, locally branded properties that offer a sense of style based on personalized relationships.  Independence does not mean being alone.  Rather, it promotes the personalized, localized experiences that discerning travelers expect."
Mankarios told the conference audience, comprised of hospitality, real estate and investment executives, that guests who spend the most on hotel rooms will suffer from the effects of consolidation and mass branding.  These mass-brand trends bring along a decrease in the level and quality of service; and although they can generate immediate positive short-term increases in shareholder value for their parent companies, they do not promote the personalized service that guests expect.
"The key is anticipating, rewarding and exceeding guest expectations.  It may be radical to say, but I believe the hotel industry has it backwards when it tries to service the desires of luxury guests retrospectively," he concluded.  "You must be out in front of the guest, anticipating his needs and then meeting and even exceeding them and meeting needs that the guest didn't even know he had.  What newspaper does your guest like to read?  What is his favorite bottle of wine?  Answer these questions before a guest checks in, and you will have a loyal customer."
Established in 1998, Foresthills Hotels & Resorts manages independent hotels and resorts.  With world headquarters in Dallas, the company operates additional marketing and sales support offices in New York, Los Angeles, London and Cairo. Apollo Real Estate Advisors, a multi-billion dollar company based in New York, provides financial backing to Foresthills.

Mathew L. Evins
  Telephone: (212) 688-8200
Also See: Atef Mankarios Forms Luxury Hotel Management Company / Oct 1998 

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