In the last few months several hotels’ management companies have changed hands in the darkness of night—some willingly, others by force. By force, I mean that law enforcement officials were put in place to ensure a smooth turnover, or exit of a building. In addition, many hotel brands are being swapped for others. Guests can find themselves checking into a Rosewood at night and out of a Mandarin Oriental the next morning without ever leaving the premises. Why is this happening? The answer is two fold.
First, the luxury market is performing well above other segments of the travel industry. Owners of these high-end hotels want to see that success translate into higher revenue. If other hotels in their comp set are performing better, it is a problem. Hoteliers are using this “underperformance” as a way to break a contract. But there is a problem here: “Underperformance” is subjective.
The second reason for these covert switches is that most hotels would prefer a new-build over a reflag. The new-build market has saturated the U.S. and Europe. Asia and South America are where you can find the new construction.
On the agency side, the action has started again. Over-performing agencies are swallowing up the underperforming ones. If your business is not doing well, you can’t blame the market.
I recently was at the St. Regis Aspen (formerly the Ritz-Carlton Aspen) with Ann Scully from McCabe World Travel (pictured here). Ann prides her success on keeping up with all these changes and personally visiting the hotels she recommends, especially after a takeover.
Here at Luxury Travel Advisor, we are sure to be out there as well, checking in and checking out the ever-changing landscape of the luxury market.