Parent company Associated Luxury Hotels has significantly expanded its global footprint, its collection of member hotels and resorts, and its worldwide sales, marketing, distribution and hospitality services with the acquisition of Worldhotels, which has a large presence in Asia Pacific.
The acquisition adds to Associated Luxury Hotels’ growing portfolio of Global Sales Organisation (GSO) and hospitality services providers – the company already owns and operates Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), the leading independent GSO serving the North American meetings and incentive marketplace for over 30 years. Like Associated Luxury Hotels’ ALHI, Worldhotels is a highly respected, leading global group consisting primarily of independent upper-upscale and luxury-level hotels and resorts and independent hotel brands around the world. Worldhotels’ primary focus is on the transient travel sectors, meetings and loyalty solutions. Associated Luxury Hotels and ALHI are headquartered in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., and Worldhotels will remain headquartered and based in Frankfurt, Germany. As private operating companies, the terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
The acquisition represents a timely and unique opportunity to increase Associated Luxury Hotels’ competitiveness and profile with the addition of remarkably complementary, membership-based service offerings and a geographically diverse network. Worldhotels will remain focused on the individual business traveller (IBT), leisure and meeting sector solutions and expertise for its 75,000 rooms among 350 member hotels and resorts around the world. ALHI will continue focusing on the North American meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (M.I.C.E.) marketplace for its membership of more than 250 luxury-level independent hotels and resorts totaling 138,500 rooms, plus their Global Luxury Alliance members across the globe. ALHI had already announced to its members that it plans to establish “ALHI boots on the ground,” augmenting its ALHI GSO sales team into Europe in 2017. Both ALHI and Worldhotels have been exploring means of expanding their geographic reach, talent pool, market penetration, and tactical deployment, making this strategic combination beneficial to both organisations and their memberships.
According to Associated Luxury Hotels Chairman, David Gabri, the company will operate ALHI and Worldhotels as separate divisions, initially keeping the memberships and operations of each organisation separate as it drives incremental benefits and synergy to each. Based on the unique market positioning of individual hotels and resorts within Worldhotels, some select member hotels and resorts may be invited into the ALHI membership portfolio for the benefit of the customers and accounts around the world. Worldhotels’ portfolio, like ALHI’s, features city centre business hotels, historic grand landmark hotels, lifestyle hotels, boutique hotels and exquisite resorts. Most of Worldhotels’ member hotels and resorts are outside of America, with major concentrations in Europe and Asia Pacific regions.
Strategic Hotel-Centric Combination Benefits Both Brands & Customers
“Bringing together these two highly respected and established companies enables us to better serve the evolving needs of our member hotels, resorts and emerging brands, plus their management and ownership groups,” said Gabri. “I believe the members will appreciate our hotel-centric, hotel-experienced approach in supporting their properties. Additionally, this combination will eventually greatly benefit the broad base of customers we serve in the meetings, convention and incentive, as well as the business travel and leisure travel sectors. Member hotels of both companies and their guests will benefit from the expanded access, markets, and global sales and marketing capabilities of a proven and passionate client service approach with a broader global footprint.”
“With this strategic acquisition, Associated Luxury Hotels is preparing to become more valuable to hotel owners and operating companies as a significant, full-service ‘soft brand’ that provides GSO sales with broad-reaching reservations connectivity solutions to market their distinctive, unique and independent properties to transient segments and M.I.C.E. planners worldwide,” said Gabri. “Since we formed our company in 1986, we have been focused on being the very best GSO resource for our exclusive member hotels and resorts, as well as serving valued clients and organisations with such an amazing portfolio of distinctive, quality-focused properties and services. The addition of Worldhotels to our organisation is an exciting and logical expansion of that mission.”
Gabri added, “Together, ALHI and Worldhotels will create a powerful combination to provide guests, members, and M.I.C.E. planners a comprehensive sales and marketing infrastructure and an expanded array of services that will effectively compete with the world’s biggest hospitality chains. These two companies have very common and complementary characteristics. Both serve independent brands and properties across the globe. Worldhotels are known for their distinct ability to penetrate corporate travel accounts, transient sales and consortia, while ALHI has built a reputation as experts in the M.I.C.E. arena. Worldhotels’ portfolio is mostly outside of North America while ALHI’s is currently predominantly within North America. We believe this is a formidable combination where 1+1 = 3; for the benefit of members and accounts we serve.”
Associated Luxury Hotels Chief Commercial Officer Adds Role as Executive Chairman of Worldhotels
In conjunction with the acquisition, Gabri announced that Associated Luxury Hotels’ Chief Commercial Officer Tom Santora will assume the additional role of Executive Chairman of Worldhotels, where he will oversee the strategic direction for Worldhotels. Worldhotels’ highly respected and talented Chief Executive Officer Geoff Andrew, who is continuing as CEO, will lead Worldhotels and its organisation of 140 sales professionals and expert staff globally, from the headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.
According to Santora, the acquisition accelerates the path for both companies to lead the market in providing clients and members a powerful sales and marketing infrastructure and expanded array of services that effectively competes with the world’s biggest hospitality chains. “In contrast to the mega-brand conglomerates, the ALHI and Worldhotels’ portfolios consist primarily of authentic and unique independent hotels and resorts that are prized for their distinctiveness, individuality and character, which are highly sought after by today’s travellers,” he said. “As the M.I.C.E., business travel and leisure markets demand extraordinary localised experiences over accommodation and sameness, the two portfolios stand prepared to provide comprehensive sales, marketing, distribution and hospitality services for independent hotels and resorts worldwide, and are ideally positioned to serve this need.”
Andrew added, “We are very enthusiastic about this new partnership with Associated Luxury Hotels. Our mission is to Empower True Independence and we see tremendous opportunities to deliver against that goal and drive more business to our members. Together we will undoubtedly be the premier provider of hospitality services to independent hotels around the world.”