What did SLH achieve in 2015 – how did the company perform?
2015 was a good year for SLH – we report in US$ so although revenue was officially down by 6% if you take into account currency fluctuations we were actually up by 10% for our European hotels compared with 2014. 63% of the collection is in the EMEA region so this puts it into perspective. 2015 and 2016 are all about ensuring the highest levels of quality across the entire collection – the fact that we closed the year with 526 hotels, ten less than in 2014, shows that we are committed to growing the quality of the collection and not just the number of hotels.
What new hotels joined the group and what do they add to the SLH portfolio?
40 new hotels joined SLH in 2015 in destinations from Guangzhou to Losinj. We are always keen to respond to guest demand and seek out hotels in new destinations for the brand and last year added hotels in Tokyo, Perth, Prague, Malta and Seychelles. All our new members allow our guests to get an authentic experience of their destination and enjoy new neighbourhoods knowing that they have been hand-picked to be part of the SLH collection.
Hotel Nimb in Copenhagen won our SLH Hotel of the Year 2015 award – why did the property deserve this accolade?
The SLH Hotel of the Year Award is awarded based on overall performance of the hotel with SLH and with our guests. Factors such as reservations and quality of service are taken into account, as well as customer reviews, its Mystery Inspection score and how they interact with the brand through participation in SLH events, initiatives and partnerships. Nimb Hotel had a fantastic year in 2015 and is a valued member of the SLH brand. Their new initiatives for 2016 including new rooms and a rooftop pool overlooking Tivoli Gardens promise another exciting year ahead.
You’ve launched the new Small Luxury Heroes agent programme – what does that entail?
Small Luxury Heroes is our first recognition programme for travel agents. Agents can sign up through our website (agents.slh.com) and can then log any reservations made through our GDS, LX for Luxury, to be eligible for rewards that can either be redeemed on a short term basis or can be saved up for larger rewards, such as complimentary nights at SLH hotels.
Why is the agent community important to SLH?
Travel agents account for over two thirds of our reservations globally and so are vital to our business. As our front line ambassadors and champions of SLH we were keen to recognise them for their loyalty to our hotels. Already, over 600 agents have joined the programme and the insight it gives us into an agents individual performance allows us the opportunity to celebrate high performers in ways that go above and beyond the Small Luxury Heroes programme.
What’s new for SLH in 2016?
In 2016 we will continue to look to complement our existing collection with new destinations, especially in key cities in the USA. Our commitment to quality is ongoing as is our investment in technology. We have just launched a new iPhone app which is now available on the App Store and will be launching new language websites over the next 18 months. We will also be launching a brand new consumer loyalty programme later this year. Providing our hotels with the opportunity to meet with travel agents remains a key part of our activity and we will be hosting our popular SLH Showcase in London again this May.