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Monday, June 24, 2013

For Many Hotels, Upgrading not Downgrading Will Be Key to Success: Windsor Hotel

The emerging trend towards “no frills” hotels will not threaten the position of leading luxury hotels, according to the CEO of Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel, David Perry.

Commenting on recent announcements in the industry, including the trends towards eliminating room service at four and five star hotels in the USA including the 2000 room Hilton Midtown in New York as well as the arrival of the budget Tune Hotel in Melbourne later this year, Mr Perry said cheaper hotel rooms just like budget airlines were great news for the industry generally and especially for the budget-conscious but  five  star luxury hotels would always be in demand.

CEO of Melbourne’s
Windsor Hotel, David Perry
“For many travellers, on business and leisure, it is the experience of the hotel stay itself that is important,” he said. “They expect, and are happy to pay for, quality room amenities and extras, whether that’s being able to order room service at midnight or enjoy the services of a private butler and the experience and local knowledge of a great concierge. This is and has always been a significant part of the travel experience.

“The issue for all hotels, in all categories, is to match the traveller’s expectations with the price and product. This will continue to be a challenge, particularly for mid-range properties. They are struggling with rising costs but a radical restructuring to reduce overheads while still delivering on the guest experience isn’t feasible. Australian hotels suffer from high costs and moderate prices compared to many destinations overseas and the challenge for everyone in the industry will be matching traveller’s expectations and budgets with the product. For many, that has to mean upgrading and not downgrading the offer. A four or five star hotel cannot offer budget hotel service and should not.”

Mr Perry said the Windsor had no plans to cut exclusive services, such as its private butler service.

“For the guest who is prepared to pay, the best of everything – services, food, in-room amenities, valet parking, technology – has to be available, otherwise the premium product can’t compete.

“We have a private butler who has been with us for thirty seven years. The new butler has been with us for 30 and for many of our regular guests that is part of the unique destination that is the Windsor. Our focus now is on what else we can add, rather than take away, and other five star hotels will have to do the same .”

The Windsor is celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2013.  Built in 1883, the 180-room hotel pre-dates the Savoy in London, which was built in 1889, the Waldorf Astoria in New York which dates back to 1893, and the Ritz Paris which opened in 1898. 

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