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Paul McManus, President And CEO, Leading Hotels Of The World

Nov 1, 2005
2005 / November 2005

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.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


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