Four Seasons London looks forward to 2006

London has had its fair share of challenges during 2005, but business seemed to have bounced back to its normal high levels in time for World Travel Market last month. Hotels across the city were full, as properties recorded their highest occupancies for months.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  December 22, 2005

London has had its fair share of challenges during 2005, but business seemed to have bounced back to its normal high levels in time for World Travel Market last month. Hotels across the city were full, as properties recorded their highest occupancies for months. “London is such a strong market and has always been so,” John Stauss, regional vice president and general manager, Four Seasons Hotel London, told Hotelier Middle East. “When set backs come along, whether economical or something like the bombs in July, the city just pulls its sock up and keeps going. Yes, there was a down turn in July and August. September saw the turning point. October showed recovery and November has been a great month, with occupancies in the mid 80%s and RevPAR and average room rates both higher than last year,” he said. In the end, the July events will not affect the final year end figures for the Four Seasons London. The hotel has seen a dramatic recovery in Q4, and Stauss is confident for the year ahead. "Certainly, 2006 looks to be exciting. The global economy is stronger so corporate business should be good. We already have a number of advanced bookings for meetings and conferences, and the leisure market looks good too," he said. Visitors from the Middle East are increasing, thanks to the brand's growing portfolio of regional properties. "Awareness in the Middle East is perfect. It has brought in a lot of business for us. International travellers who may not have know the brand [before Four Seasons entered the Middle East] are coming," Stauss said. Four Seasons as a global hotel brand commands a lot of guest loyalty. However, the London property seems to have guest loyalty all sewn up. Over 70% of the hotel's guests have stayed at the property more than 20 times, a figure Stauss is unashamedly proud of. "The depth of that loyalty is impressive," he admitted. However, the hotel, and the company in general, is now beginning to focus on the next generation of Four Seasons guests. The London property was one of two hotels to pilot a new 'teen concierge' system this summer. Following a number of focus groups, where the hotel brought in teenagers to find out what they liked doing in the city, the property hired 16-year-old Claudia as teen concierge for the summer. She provided teenage guests with tips, information on places to go, and advice on travelling around the city. "There has been such a growth in family travel in the past five years, so there was a need for this service enhancement, but it has taken on a life of its own, and is definitely here to stay," Stauss said. "We got the right person for the job. Claudia knows what is cool, but she is also level headed. It was a summer initiative, but she is back by popular demand to work Saturdays," he added. The events of July appear to be firmly in the past, as Stauss looks to the future, a successful 2006, and to enrolling a number of new Four Seasons stalwarts through the teen concierge program.

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