With the recent launch of toll-free reservations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Leading Hotels of the World has introduced a concierge-style operation for travel bookers in the Middle East, offering not only access to 420 premium hotels worldwide, but also transfers, restaurants, tours and other travel requirements.
According to Michael Lutze, director of sales Middle East for the group, the new service aims to be more than a call centre for room reservations. He said, “Our members of staff are all experienced travel professionals whose knowledge of the industry goes far beyond the name and location of our 400-plus properties.
“Anything a concierge can do in a hotel, we can do for groups as well as individual travellers. Our staff can offer pre-booking of airport transfers, spa treatments, dinner reservations, golf tee times and excursions too.”Ê
Providing both consumer and travel trade services, Lutze explained the operation had been designed to suit the particular requirements of the GCC region.
“Here, we have seen such a high level of business that we tailored our services to VIP levels to meet the demand and expectations of the market - average room rates, for instance, are up to three times our global average, indicating the level of travel.”
While travel bookings via the Internet were growing worldwide, he said the personal contact would remain important, particularly at the premium end of the market.Ê
“Travel is not always a simple process, and when a potential guest requires advice, suggestions of the suitability of a location or hotel for their particular requirements, and a customised package that fulfils all their needs, there is no substitute for the human touch.