Global Traveler: Tell us about your career before and including your affiliation with The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd.
Paul McManus: I have been with The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd. since 1992. Before being appointed president and chief executive officer in 1998, I served as vice president of marketing and executive vice president. Before joining the company, I was president and managing partner of Reservation Systems Inc., a company with 150 hotel accounts. During my career, I have held sales and marketing positions with Regent International Hotels, Rock Resorts and Princess Hotels International, in addition to on-property positions at the St. Regis and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
GT: What makes The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd. unique? How does it compare with other hotel brands and associations?
PM: The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd. began in 1928 as a group of hoteliers who referred clients to each other’s hotels. It expanded over the years, but essentially remained an association of a clublike nature, with a not-for-profit business model.
Eight years ago we developed and implemented a strategic business plan designed to more clearly define and establish The Leading Hotels of the World as a full-service luxury hotel brand. Moving to a for-profit model, we expanded on our core competencies and created 11 joint ventures and ancillary businesses to generate new revenue streams and to provide added value and services to our member hotels.
One of the most successful of these is Leading Quality Assurance, a full-service inspection and evaluation business that provides hotels with quality assessments to help them maximize revenue through improved service and to retain competitive advantage in their markets. More recently, we entered into an initiative with Cendant to create The Leading Residences of the World, an innovative destination club giving its members exclusive access to some of the most exclusive private villas and luxury hotel suites in the world.
During our recent evolution, we launched The Leading Small Hotels of the World to address the needs of a growing segment of the traveling public seeking smaller-scale, more-intimate luxury travel experiences. Just last year we inaugurated Leading Spas, the first global inspection and certification program for luxury spas. Each Leading Spa must be reinspected every year to maintain its accreditation.
GT: What makes a hotel a “Leading Hotel of the World”?
PM: Unmatched levels of quality, product and service. Regardless of size or destination, our members must measure up to a very exacting set of standards in order to gain and retain the imprimatur of The Leading Hotels of the World. Every hotel that aspires to be a member must apply for membership, and undergo a rigorous, anonymous inspection process, involving more than 1,500 individual criteria. Each of our more than 430 hotels is reinspected during its three-year contract — again on an anonymous basis — to ensure it is maintaining adherence to our standards.
If a hotel fails to do so, it is given notice and an opportunity to make the appropriate changes. If the changes are not adequately effected, the hotel’s contract will be terminated.
GT: Who is your typical client? What percentage of travelers are prospects for The Leading Hotels of the World?
PM: More than 35 percent are executives or owners of their companies, with a median age of 47.5, a median annual income of approximately $250,000 and a median net worth of $1.68 million. Eight-four percent are college graduates, with many holding advanced degrees. Our guests are among the most sophisticated and discriminating travelers in the world. They are willing to pay a premium price, but they have an eye for value and demand the finest quality and service. They also are inclined to select hotels that reflect the culture of the destination they are visiting, and they tend to eschew the homogeneous brands that replicate their products from one location to the next. Approximately half of our customers come from North America and the balance from Europe, with growing sectors from Latin America and Asia.
Celebrate World Vegan Day Nov. 1, with these vegan dishes from around the world.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
The Hotel AMERON Zurich Bellerive au Lac, forged from the collaborative efforts of interior design firm Monoplan AG and other cutting-edge design firms, bills itself as a celebration of the 1920s and ‘30s aesthetic. The story behind it is compelling as the building dates to 1928 and has connections with the early days of Switzerland's movie industry. However, there are several fun Mid-Century Modern and late 20th-century design touches in the public and private areas. Clearly, it's going for the "modern luxury" vibe Millennial and Gen-X business and leisure travelers look for when seeking a quality smaller property with a great location.
InterContinental New York Barclay is the perfect spot for luxury in the heart of Manhattan. With the 1946 Package, enjoy a two-night stay in the Penthouse Suite, an exclusive InterContinental75 cocktail lesson with a mixologist, 75-minute couples massage with Zeel, a movie screening on the Penthouse Suite terrace with classic films from the year of InterContinental’s birth with a premium 1946 vintage wine to enjoy.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
One of the many fallouts from the turbulent past 1.5 years of pandemic-related travel restrictions and lockdowns has been the rethinking and imminent restructuring of loyalty programs throughout the travel industry, from airline and hotel brands to cruise and rental car companies. Loyalty programs are more than a perk for customers; they can be worth more than the brand itself for the program owners and operators. For example, the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, is valued at roughly $6 billion, whereas its passenger loyalty program, AAdvantage, boasts an estimated worth of $24 billion according to a recent analysis by Financial Times.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Ayutthaya, Thailand, with us.