Great Hotels of the World grows its portfolio and reputation as leading soft brand with the addition of The Banyan Tree Phuket

The Power of Soft Brands in 2021

(January 2021): Great Hotels of the World, the renowned international hotel representation group adds a new member hotel to its carefully curated portfolio of hotels: The Banyan Tree Phuket. The third Great Hotel in Asia, alongside The Banyan Tree Bangkok and El Nido Lagen Island Resort in the Philippines, it is a testament to the brand’s ability to grow its portfolio, even during a pandemic.

Pedro Colaco, CEO of Great Hotels of the World, credits this success to the company’s expertise and reputation as a soft brand and the trusted relationship it has built with members:

“We have been able to offer support and guidance to all of our member hotels across the world in a time of crisis and have shown the value of a soft brand, which enables hotels to remain independent, but also to have the reassurance of our expertise and network. Now, with hotels ramping-up marketing efforts to reach prospective guests, it is increasingly likely that significant numbers of independent or boutique hotels and groups will invest in joining a soft brand like ours. In fact, according to research by Hotel News Now. soft brands are expected to rise significantly in popularity over the next 5 years.”

The soft brand movement has continued to gain traction over the last few years with large global corporate brands creating sub-brands to grow collections of independent hotels. The growing popularity of soft brands stems from travellers wanting more authentic, local experiences and owners who are looking to drive customer loyalty. This model has led to a substantial rise in independent hotels associating themselves with a soft brand, such as Great Hotels of the World, that allows them to increase their marketing efforts, and implement brand cohesiveness whilst remaining uniquely independent.

Pedro Colaco predicts that soft brands will continue to see a big interest spike from independent hotels to scale their reach without compromising on their unique vision, so the numbers of conversions may skyrocket in 2021 and beyond.

He continues: “Given the staff and financial limitations, independent and boutique hotels and groups face a substantially bigger hurdle in implementing solid marketing strategies that reach their target guest profiles. Additionally, there is also the challenge of negotiating more flexible terms with suppliers and vendors, something that big brands can do more easily by taking advantage of economies of scale.”

In addition, according to a 2020 Industry report, during times of crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, independent hotels significantly outperform those affiliated with a hard brand. While hard brands push the narrative about the strength of their brand platforms to bolster confidence in stakeholders, the research shows that luxury hotels are better to remain independent if they want to be more profitable.

Great Hotels of the World’s own forward-thinking, flexible and agile operation enabled them to pivot their strategy swiftly in 2020 to support its member hotels and partners navigate through the everchanging business and leisure landscape:

  • Virtual replacing face-to-face: As meeting in person was extremely limited, Great Hotels of the World hosted 44 virtual coffees, attended 4 large-scale virtual sales events (with over 500 new contacts achieved) and organised 70+ virtual sales calls.
  • Regular updates: Great Hotels of the World kept in touch with its members, through regular email and calls, keeping its members and partners updated and engaged and using best practices to combat the pandemic.
  • New partnerships: Great Hotels of the World forged a series of new partnerships including: Customer Alliance, one of the European market leaders for guest experience and online reputation management; IMG Prestige, an elite network of golf courses that features leading golf clubs and resorts across the world, as part of Great Hotels of the World’s strategy to provide member hotels with additional revenue streams and visibility; and PSAV in the EMEA region, global leaders in event experiences worldwide to support and enable its hotels and business partners to come back stronger in 2021. Through this partnership with PSAV, hotel members will benefit from preferential access to PSAV’s extensive experience and advanced technology to facilitate face-to-face meetings with remote delegates and deliver world-class hybrid events – which will likely continue strongly through 2021.

From new partnerships to flexibility, to the high-tech high-touch approach, member hotels continued to have access to a wide range of global distribution and marketing services through Great Hotels of the World – on par with big brands – and yet still preserve their independent identity whilst competing globally.

About The Banyan Tree Phuket

A heavenly secluded resort where every bedroom is a private villa with its own pool (in some cases two pools) and where natural beauty, heathy living and well-being go hand in hand. Set on vast acres of land, closely hugging a calming saltwater lagoon, guests at The Banyan Tree Phuket can make the most of the beach, golf or spa, with yoga lessons, boating picnic and cooking classes on-site. With six restaurants and two bars, guests can enjoy an array of international cuisine.

About Great Hotels of the World (GHOTW)

GHOTW is a renowned hotel representation company which provides global hotel sales and marketing services, as well as innovative technology solutions for an exclusive portfolio of some 60 primarily independent hotels and resorts worldwide. Just as each hotel is unique, so are the tailored sales and marketing products and services that GHOTW provides to each one. This highly personal approach ensures that each hotel retains its personality and authenticity while accessing state-of-the-art technology, distribution channels, and new source markets. GHOTW has operations in London, New York, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid and Lisbon.

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