|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
"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.