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  SRS-WORLDHOTELS Grows Portfolio by 56 Independent
Hotels in 2003; Seeks to Increase Internet Bookings
by 20% in 2004

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NEW YORK – (February 11, 2004) – Frankfurt, Germany-based SRS-WORLDHOTELS held its 2004 Hotelier Conference at the Ria Park Hotel in the Portuguese town of Almancil, near Faro, January 31 to February 2. A record 300 delegates from over 38 countries, representing more than 75 percent of the hotel group’s 450 members, gathered for the three-day conference. 

Under the conference theme Be Connected, SRS-WORLDHOTELS unveiled its 2003 results, as well as its goals and strategies for 2004. CEO Michael Ball announced a 9 percent increase in room nights over the previous year, together with increases in yield, and an 11 percent increase in revenues delivered by its reservation systems for the organization’s hotel portfolio.
 

In addition, the organization’s portfolio grew by a record 56 independent hotels in 2003, among them the Lotte Hotel Seoul, Rocco Forte’s Browns Hotel in London, the Dai-ichi in Tokyo and major landmark hotels in The People’s Republic of China. In addition, a number of new member hotels represent new destinations for the company, including Detroit, Mich., Las Vegas, Nev., Krakow, Poland, and Vilnius, Lithuania. 

For 2004, Michael Ball commented that the background business landscape had improved significantly in most major markets. He added that SRS-WORLDHOTELS was targeting 

NEW YORK – (February 11, 2004) – SRS-WORLDHOTELS, the Americas, has added two new member hotels in Detroit, Mich., raising its total U.S. portfolio to 39. Both the Hotel Pontchartrain and the Hamilton Hotel seamlessly blend a sense of history and tradition with every modern technological amenity.

The 413-room Hotel Pontchartrain features 20 upscale suites, and is renowned for its superior services. The hotel is part of SRS-WORLDHOTELS’ First Class Collection, and is located near Fort Pontchartrain in an historic building reminiscent of Detroit's French heritage. 

The Hamilton Hotel, located in nearby Birmingham, caters to business travelers and is conveniently located in the heart of a thriving shopping district. As part of the Comfort Collection, the hotel’s 64 rooms feature the latest technology, providing an ideal, stress-free work environment and all amenities for a comfortable stay. 

double-digit growth in room nights and system-delivered revenues. Under its newly defined “Create and Capture Demand Strategy,” the company outlined its plans to grow business across a range of market segments. These include the new industry standard WORLDEVENTS product for meeting planners, as well as a range of initiatives focused on corporations (including a new self-booking tool called WORLDLINK) and the retail agency community.

Roland Jegge, vice president for Asia/Pacific, announced the successful opening of a new office in Shanghai to spearhead SRS-WORLDHOTELS’ expansion in that region. His counterpart in the Americas, Tom Griffiths, reported that the company will open a new office in Miami and that new marketing partnerships have been formed with American Airlines and other partners in the U.S. 

Unveiling the company’s new “Capturing Demand” strategy, Claudia Hammerstein, vice president of operations, also highlighted several new technology-based “firsts” for the company. These include: a new web site that incorporates a booking engine in English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Japanese; increased connections to worldwide online retailers; a suite of new CRM customer tracking and reporting capabilities for both internal and hotel customers; and new group and corporate RFP products from the company-owned subsidiary Nexus World Services. 

Hammerstein said that SRS-WORLDHOTELS has set a goal to increase the number of room nights booked via the Internet by more than 20 percent by the end of 2004. She added that while the company was committed to rapidly expanding its distribution, and had signed a range of new agreements with online retailers in the past few months, hoteliers must nevertheless remain watchful that yield does not suffer by over-reliance on the specialized “Internet discounters.” 

The theme of managing yield effectively was also taken up by one of the conference’s guest speakers, David Scwosill, CEO of Opodo, the Pan-European online travel company. Other guest speakers included Per Lydmar, founder of the famous Lydmar Hotel in Stockholm, who encouraged the audience to incorporate ideas of innovation and branding from other industries into the hotel sector in an inspiring presentation. The conference’s workshops, seminars and exhibition Tech Tank also included featured presentations from Sabre/Travel Network Galileo, Amadeus, iHamms and CNN. Vodafone also provided delegates with full wireless Internet connections throughout the hotel. 

In his closing remarks, Michael Ball commented again on the positive outlook for the industry and the company, and in particular how international hotel sales, marketing and distribution industries were increasing both in complexity and scope. He pointed out that this works to the advantage of independent hotels who increasingly can -- and should --“celebrate their character, individuality and independence,” harnessing an ever-widening number of channels and opportunities offered by SRS-WORLDHOTELS. 

SRS-WORLDHOTELS represents over 450 member properties in 65 countries spanning all continents. Unique in its approach, SRS-WORLDHOTELS meets the requirements of business travelers and vacationers alike by providing three different hotel categories: the exclusive Deluxe Collection, the First Class Collection, ideal for the discerning guest, and the Comfort Collection, renowned for offering excellent value for money. 


 
Contact:

Visit SRS-WORLDHOTELS
http://www.srs-worldhotels.com

Also See: Tom Griffiths, Former Carlson Hotels Executive, Brings New Vision, Infrastructure to SRS-WORLDHOTELS / January 2004


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