Name: Paul Kerr
Company, city: Small Luxury Hotels of the World; London, England
Number of employees: 70
Recent project: The March 2013 launch of our Chinese website to improve communication and meet the needs of this emerging outbound market
First job: I began as an accountant with Deloitte Haskins & Sells (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), but a passion for the luxury market led to my first travel position with Forte Hotels. I then combined both passions as financial director of Cunard Hotels & Resorts.
Little-known fact about you: I am an avid sailor and feel most relaxed on the water. My sailboat is named Rum Truffle.
Essential business philosophy: Keep it simple for the customer, especially on your website. Create a great team that is motivated to work hard. We motivate our people by setting goals; anything can be accomplished if you have a goal.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Continuous reinvention of the brand. If you don’t change, you die.
Yardstick of success: Numbers do not lie; 2012 marked SLH’s best year in terms of room nights and revenue. The business plan I created more than 20 years ago has not changed, and the figures are proof it continues to work.
Paul Kerr as a Traveler
What is the most important item you take when traveling? My iPad and my gym bag. Also, since I suffer from sleep apnea, my sleep machine assures I get a good night’s sleep.
How do you spend your time on board? I sleep so that when I land I am rested and alert.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? One of my favorites is the Don Juan, a luxury boat that cruises the Seine in Paris as the sun goes down and serves a delicious four-course meal.
What is your favorite destination in the world? I travel 150 days per year on average, so I visit a number of places with different experiences. As a sailor, I’m a big fan of Greece and Thailand.
About Small Luxury Hotels of the World
What can travelers expect from Small Luxury Hotels? We are all about small hotels and big experiences. SLH offers small, luxury, independent hoteliers the opportunity to belong to a well-known and trusted brand while keeping their unique identity. The average size of our hotels is 50 rooms and has remained so for more than 20 years. This allows for the highest levels of personalized service resulting in the most rewarding and memorable experiences. With SLH, travelers know they will never fall victim to a cookie-cutter vacation and will always encounter the highest standards of excellence.
What makes Small Luxury Hotels unique? Simply put, freedom of choice. With more than 520 hotels in more than 70 countries, SLH offers a variety of options, from cutting-edge design hotels to palatial 17th-century mansions to wilderness lodges to remote private islands, as well as multiple means of booking. As independent hotels, the owners’ passion translates into the atmosphere on property and is reflected in the personal attention.
You added 63 hotels to the brand in 2012. What do you look for when adding a hotel? We have a strict selection process — we accept only 5 percent of the hotels that apply. First, the hotel must be the best of the best in the area and be independent. In addition, it must offer the highest standards of excellence across all areas of operation as well as reflect the local culture and surroundings. Last but certainly not least, the hotel must offer authentic experiences and service from the heart.
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