Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH), the luxury brand of small, exclusive, independent hotels has much to celebrate as it closes out a year of exciting announcements and growth. The brand’s 25th year of business was a year of transition as it introduced new leadership, new initiatives and welcomed hotels in key strategic locations while keeping reservations steady and increasing visitors to its website .
While official company reporting in US Dollars shows revenue to be slightly down year on year, revenue in Euros is up by 10% and with 63% of the luxury brand’s hotels in the EMEA region this is not insignificant. Traffic to the website (slh.com) increased by 3% during 2015 which equates to a total of over 4.4 million visitors. The real shift for SLH in 2015, however, was the jump in mobile visits and actual reservations which have increased by 35% (nearly 1 million) and 54% respectively from 2014. In response, earlier this month SLH released a new app for iPhone which has a new booking engine and increased functionality to enhance the user experience and capitalise on the trend for making reservations on the move.
Curating the collection has always been very important to the brand. In 2015 this took a more strategic turn and as a result SLH ended the year with 526 hotels, 10 less than in 2014. This confirms SLH’s commitment to growing the quality of the collection and not just the number of hotels, as demonstrated by a new Quality Assurance programme that makes it harder for hotels to join, and harder for them to remain a member. Forty new member hotels were added to the collection in 2015 in new locations in established markets including Guangzhou in China and Losinj in Croatia. Several brand new destinations were also added to the collection such as Tokyo, Malta, Prague, Perth and the Seychelles. Additional new destinations that guests will be able to experience with SLH in early 2016 will include Mozambique, Vietnam and Anguilla.
The luxury brand expects another year of good news and prominent announcements as it moves ahead with Boyen at the helm. “SLH is offering more and more specialised services and benefits to the hotels that are chosen to join the brand. We’ve spent the last few months laying the foundations for 2016, including a dynamic new brand identity, the reintroduction of the SLH Directory and improved technical infrastructure both for our guests and hotels – now it’s time to really bring it to life. It’s a crowded market, but we’re not worried – in matching independently-minded guests with our independently-spirited hotels we thrive at what we do. We are, however, always looking at the long game and feel we are now well placed to drive SLH forward and continue to carve our place in today’s competitive landscape.”