Membership demand continues for Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Since its inception in 1991, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has grown ten fold and now boasts a current membership of over 360 of the best, small, luxury properties in 60 countries. Although growth has been consistent over the last 14 years, the current additions represent nearly a 10% growth over 2005 and that growth is expected to double for 2007 bringing the brand to over 400 properties. The ongoing increased demand is visible as SLH has added a further six hotels to membership in January 2006 alone, with several more to be confirmed shortly.
Despite the growth in size of the portfolio, the standards of quality and excellence on which SLH has built its reputation have not wavered. A team of Development Executives and Mystery Inspectors ensure that each property exceeds the expectations of the most discerning guests. It is this reputation of the brand that leads literally thousands to apply. However, the strict selection criteria means that only a small percentage of those wishing to join actually become members.
In the last 18 months, SLH has received over 1100 enquiries for membership. In 2005 alone, the brand received over 650 membership enquiries via its website slh.com, of which only 17 hotels met the standards and earned membership for 2006. The majority of new members come as a result of referrals from existing member hotels, in addition to serious approaches made to SLH at industry trade shows such as WTM and ITB.
The ratio of enquiries to successful membership is further illustrated regionally. SLH received 23 requests for membership from hotels in Thailand but only 5 became members for 2006. 91 requests were received from the USA but only 6 became members. 55 requests from Italian hoteliers lead to the biggest grouping of 11 new members; finally, 30 requests from the UK and 26 from France both only delivering two members each.
Although Small Luxury Hotels of the World continues to receive requests for membership in the traditional markets, the brand is making a concerted effort to expand into newer, emerging markets. This effort has already paid off for 2006 with the addition of hotels in Laos, China, South Korea and Russia. Areas of interest for future growth in 2007 are Dubai, South America, Eastern Europe, China and Japan where the brand is already in serious discussion with the best boutique properties.