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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GREEN SHOOTS OF RECOVERY NOW IN FULL BLOOM ACCORDING TO SURVEY BY SMALL LUXURY HOTELS OF THE WORLD™


Luxury travel in both the business and leisure segments is set to increase over the next 12 months according to the results of a survey* released today by Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The survey was targeted at members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the luxury brand’s customer recognition programme. 41 per cent of respondents said they expected to have more disposable income in the next year with 11 per cent saying they expect to see a significant increase.

Members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World are high net worth, frequent travellers and are well placed to offer insights into the behaviour of affluent consumers. Over half of respondents have a household income of over USD$100,000 (58 per cent) and, overall, one third have an income of over USD$200,000. 31 per cent of Club Members who responded to the survey spend over three weeks staying at hotels every year and 10 per cent stay at hotels over 30 nights every year on holiday. 13 per cent of respondents said they stay at hotels on business over 30 nights every year.

The survey was co-ordinated by PricewaterhouseCoopers and was initiated to assess current consumer sentiment and to gain insights into travel plans for the next 12 months following the recent global economic downturn. Over 7,500 members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World responded to the survey.

Frequency of travel, a key sign of recovery, is increasing with 41 per cent of respondents revealing that they are planning to go on holiday four times or more this year and nearly half (45 per cent) saying that they will travel four times or more for business. Nearly one quarter (23 per cent) said this will mean an increase in their business travel over the next 12 months.

In terms of researching hotels, even the most discerning travellers are jumping online with over 84 per cent of respondents choosing www.slh.com over any other option. Even the most affluent and discerning travellers are looking for value for money with over two thirds (67 per cent) saying that they search for the best hotel rates on the internet.

Paul Kerr, CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World said: “Travel behaviour has changed dramatically in the last 10 years and this has been affected by the global financial crisis, the cost of air travel, world events – both natural and man-made. There is no such thing as ‘normal behaviour’ any more. What we can say is that travel patterns are settling down and that we are seeing positive indicators such as a resurgence in long-haul travel, longer lead times and increased frequency and length of stay. 20 per cent of Club Members say they plan to travel to overseas destinations in the next 12 months and that they will be taking more holidays in the next year and 14 per cent said they will go on longer main holidays. To cater for the increased demand and to offer even more value to our guests, we have just launched a tactical promotion ‘Summer Savings by SLH’ featuring a range of special offers at our hotels around the world. ”

Mr Kerr continued: “We have invested heavily in our website, www.slh.com, and alternative channels such as our iPhone application which is free to download from iTunes. The new app has been downloaded by nearly 27,000 iPhone users, including a quarter of those who responded to our survey, which highlights the popularity of mobile applications for our guests – and potential guests. The positive attitude and travel plans of the Club Members who responded to our survey reflect the upward trend we are experiencing across all areas of the business. Reservations have increased by 18 per cent year to date compared to the same period last year. We are well positioned to meet the increased demand we anticipate with over 500 hotels in 70 countries worldwide.”

The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World has over 80,000 members worldwide and was relaunched recently to offer members a range of additional benefits including a complimentary continental breakfast, upgrade on arrival subject to availability and late check-out. Membership is complimentary and travellers can sign up online at www.clubslh.com. Room upgrades are seen as a major benefit for Club Members with nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of respondents saying that this is the perk they most value.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World offers a Lowest Rate Guarantee programme so that guests can be assured that they are getting value for money when making a reservation through any of the brand’s reservation channels. Reservations can be made online at www.slh.com, by calling +44 800 525 48000 or through a travel agent.

*The survey was conducted by Small Luxury Hotels of the World in June 2010. The survey sample included 7,572 members of The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

About Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) brand is an unrivalled portfolio of some of the world’s finest small independent hotels. Comprising over 500 hotels in more than 70 countries, the diversity of the individual hotels, and the experiences that they offer, is exceptional. From cutting-edge design hotels to palatial 17th century mansions, city centre sanctuaries to remote private islands, historic country houses to idyllic resorts, Small Luxury Hotels of the World offers only the very best. Reservations can be made at any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property by calling +44 800 525 48000 or via www.slh.com. Travel agents need only remember the GDS code LX for LuXury.
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