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SPOTLIGHT ON Gregory Habeeb, President, North America, WorldHotels

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
21 April 2021
6 min read
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A glimpse to the future as WorldHotels creates unique and meaningful experiences for their guests, identifying seven different types of travelers where every individual’s story is heard.

Can you tell us about WorldHotels’ newly launched Crafted Collection and the concept behind the brand?
Gregory HabeebWorldHotels Crafted Collection is a portfolio of specially curated and immersive independent hotels and resorts across the globe. The collection is not just another lifestyle brand, rather it is a new generation of lifestyle hotels made for a new generation of travelers that crave creativity, immersive experiences, great design, and ingenuity. Each property has its own soul and its own story to tell – from design and architecture to art and gastronomy.

During the conceptualization of the Crafted Collection, we conducted extensive research into the new generation of travelers and identified seven types of travelers:

  1. The conscious traveler
  2. The wellness traveler
  3. The purpose-led traveler
  4. The traveler seeking personalization
  5. The authentic traveler
  6. The traveler seeking the unexpected and untouristed
  7. The traveler looking to learn from locals

Crafted was designed with these travelers in mind, so we onboard hotels with a special integration process that helps them tap into their niche within this set of travelers. WorldHotels ensures each hotel’s individual story is brought to life through sales, marketing, public relations and social media.

What trends are you seeing for the near future and do you believe any influences from the pandemic will linger?
For too long we have been told to stay away and keep apart, and now people want to come together, and we crave connection more than ever. We believe this lingering desire to reconnect will last beyond the pandemic as people seek to reunite with friends and family, reconnect with themselves and rediscover the world around them. In the wake of the pandemic travelers are looking for soul-enriching experiences that are authentic and meaningful. This includes the purpose-led traveler, the conscious traveler, and the wellness traveler who seeks more than just physical wellness, but psychological wellness as well. WorldHotels has been in the business of bringing people and places together for 50 years.

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How is design interwoven with the luxury travel experience?
When seeking a luxury travel experience, people are looking for a truly unique hotel that will touch their sensibilities and design is critical to that experience. Design can be found in the architecture, the wallpaper, the furniture and fabrics, the stylized bar or restaurant, and it should travel with the guest through each touchpoint in the hotel, including the guestroom. When a guest walks through the door they should immediately feel immersed in the moment – whether that’s an indulgent wellness retreat, an adventurous nature getaway or a luxurious experience.

Each Crafted property delivers on luxurious design on their own terms, shaped by the destination that they serve. Just look at the Vault Hotel in Sweden, it is built on an authentic bank vault from the beginning of the last century. The hotel is steeped in great design, perfectly marrying rich history with modern design and amenities that shape the luxury experience.

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What do you believe luxury travelers are looking for right now?
Everyone defines luxury in their own way, and it can be interpreted in a variety of ways by different travelers.

Some luxury travelers seek the unexpected and they want a fresh sense of discovery. They might be looking for a hotel that can deliver on something truly unique that is untouched and unspoiled by the everyday tourist. This could be an experience that captures the destination’s culture or an “off the map” restaurant that sources only local ingredients. While others may seek a familiar luxury experience and they want to go back to a favorite place or hotel that is filled with warm memories from their previous visits.

No matter how someone defines luxury travel, they are all looking for the important seal of safety and cleanliness. That is why we launched the industry leading We Care Clean program which delivers an enhanced commitment to keeping guests safe and healthy when staying at WorldHotels properties around the globe.

What is ahead for WorldHotels in 2021 and beyond?
At WorldHotels we will be focused on selectively growing our portfolio in premier destinations around the globe. Any hotel that joins WorldHotels, whether they are part of Crafted or one of our three other collections, must deliver on an experience for their guests. We recognize that each traveler has different wants and needs – not every guest seeks a Crafted hotel – so we are continuing to grow our portfolio with offerings that appeal to the different types of travelers today.

Our mission for the traveler is not to be the largest, but to be the best: deliver the best experience, the best service, a curated collection of the finest hotels and resorts in the world. We aim to give the traveler an experience that will create incredible memories. For the Hotelier, we want to be the most trusted partner and provide a stronger return on investment. For an independent hotel or resort to accomplish this, they must have access to a modern and powerful toolbox of resources that allows them to keep their independence while also competing with larger chains. The landscape is ever-changing, and we have innovated to stay ahead of those changes for our hoteliers. WorldHotels has now positioned itself to be that most trusted and innovative partner.

WorldHotels hoteliers gain access to a wealth of offerings, including global marketing, sales, strategic partnerships, training services, quality experience measurements, hotel business consultancy, operational support, scalable e-commerce services and state-of-the-art distribution and technology. As a true luxury and lifestyle soft brand, WorldHotels aims to retain the uniqueness of each of its properties and highlight its inherent qualities.

We also plan to continue enhancing WorldHotels Rewards (WHR), the third largest hotel loyalty program in the world, to ensure our hotels have access to a global audience of loyal travelers. Even travelers who seek boutique experiences still want to be rewarded for their stay.

What makes WorldHotels unique from other luxury hotel brands?
Founded for hoteliers by hoteliers, WorldHotels has always been at the forefront of innovation and we have stayed one step ahead of the rest of the industry for independents. We know that resources matter for independent hoteliers, and we offer one of the largest global resource footprints for an independent hotel or resort. We also own and operate our own proprietary CRS technology that many other brands do not, which allows us to deliver greater services levels, cost savings, and the ability to innovate.

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, we will be focused on build on our existing foundation to deliver resources that enable continued innovation. We are committed to driving superior revenue to our hoteliers, expanding our portfolio of offerings in premier global destinations, and providing exceptional travel experiences to our guests.

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