Ritz-Carlton pushing harder on growth plans

The Ritz-Carlton
Hotel Company has increased its development pace with 2007 hotel
openings in global capitals including Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, and
Dublin.Its success in meeting consumer demand for exceptional
surroundings, matched by service delivery, has been recognized with a
virtual “sweep” of prestigious number one rankings in recent surveys by
J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, The Market Matrix, and Luxury Institute.

At the same time it has grown its portfolio to 66 hotels and resorts
round the world, the company has plans to add even more locations,
including private residential developments and fractional ownership
projects in some of the most desirable urban and resort destinations.
While the future sites are under construction, with openings planned
through 2010, The Ritz-Carlton and its owners have invested more than a
billion dollars in capital improvements to upgrade properties from St.
Thomas to Palm Beach, and Shanghai to Maui, where a $110 million
renovation will transform the Hawaiian resort into a showcase of
tropical casual elegance. A three-year capital improvement plan for all
hotels will include in-room enhancements from flat screen televisions,
higher thread count bedding, to gourmet coffee makers and wireless
capability.

“The luxury hotel business has never been more competitive than in the
current economic climate. We are experiencing a significant growth in
global travelers from many new markets such as Russia and China. It is
critical for The Ritz-Carlton to retain today’s loyal customer, while
still attracting the next generation of business and leisure travelers.
Their expectations of a hotel experience have helped our brand evolve
from one known for elegant formality to one of more relevant and relaxed
luxury,” said Simon F. Cooper, president and chief operating officer of
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

Recognizing that with a subtle shift in design philosophy towards a more
casually elegant feeling, the delivery of Ritz-Carlton’s legendary
levels of service needed to also embrace some equally understated
changes, the company introduced a new set of “Service Values” in 2006 to
encourage its ladies and gentlemen to offer guest service relying upon
their instincts rather than a more scripted response.

“We listened to our guests and they told us a warm smile and timely
offering of services was their definition of how they wished to be
treated by hotel staff.” As described by The Market Matrix Hospitality
Index, which ranked Ritz-Carlton number one in the luxury category, “For
nearly 25 years, the hotels of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company have been
consistently rated among the best in the world guests most often rave
about the personal treatment they experience.”

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Among the many enhancements planned in most Ritz-Carlton Hotels and
Resorts are world-class spas operated by renowned names including Six
Senses, ESPA, and La Prairie, celebrity chef restaurants created by
culinary legends Eric Ripert, Gordon Ramsay, Dean Fearing, Heinz Winkler
and Wolfgang Puck. “These are the types of features we believe will
continue to position The Ritz-Carlton as an iconic brand preferred by
the sophisticated and affluent travelers of the world,” explained
Cooper.

Commenting on the impressive winning array of top honors, including the
recently recaptured J.D. Power 2007 North America Guest Satisfaction
Index Survey number one ranking, Cooper paid-tribute to the 36,000
ladies and gentlemen serving Ritz-Carlton guests. “It is their
commitment to always exceeding the expectations of our customers which
insures that no matter how large our company may grow around the world,
we will never forget service is what we built our reputation on as a
hotel company, and our commitment is to grow the service quality along
with the portfolio of hotels which should reach 100 by 2010,” said
Cooper.

The Ritz-Carlton Doha was recently named ‘Qatar’s Leading Hotel,’ at the inaugural regional World Travel Awards,  Middle East & Africa ceremony, that took place at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
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