A WORLD reimagined: WorldHotels on keeping a competitive edge as we emerge from the pandemic

TD speaks with Olivier Berrivin, managing director – APAC at World Hotels

TD Editor

WorldHotels Collection has celebrated its golden anniversary with a refreshed branding under the theme “A WORLD reimagined” as it gears up for recovery post-COVID.

Olivier Berrivin, managing director – APAC, WorldHotels

Updating its branding, with new logos and vision and mission statements, for the first time, WorldHotels aims to maintain a competitive edge, especially as the hospitality industry emerges from the pandemic.  There is no better time to profess the company’s renewed commitment to the travel sector and guests than now.

TD spoke to Olivier Berrivin, managing director – APAC at World Hotels, about the brand refresh; how the collection navigated the most difficult time for the travel industry; and looking forward to the future.

Travel Daily (TD): Why is it important to refresh the brand?

Olivier Berrivin (OB): “Our brand communication is global and the celebration this year of our 50th anniversary is a significant milestone, providing us with the ideal opportunity to lean into the resources at BWH Hotel Group and reimagine luxury hotel experiences. WorldHotels has always been at the forefront of innovation, and this year we recognized a need to adapt our branding to align with the evolving digital and media landscape. The refreshed branding, which is the first one in several years, will play a critical role in helping the brand and our hoteliers maintain a competitive edge, especially as we emerge from the pandemic.”

“Our president & CEO, David Kong, recently highlighted the importance of brands using their marketing to connect with customers on an emotional level. To identify the best way to evolve, the brand invested in research including interviewing key stakeholders and conducting a global member survey to better understand what motivates today’s luxury and lifestyle traveller. The refresh is designed to enhance WorldHotels’ brand storytelling and ensure each WorldHotels collection has its own identity and personality. This is achieved with the following changes: refreshed Masterbrand logo, new logos for the brand’s four collections (Luxury, Elite, Distinctive and Crafted), as well as updated vision and mission statements that reflect the evolving culture and DNA of WorldHotels.”

TD: How did WorldHotels navigate the most difficult time for the travel industry? What are the measures you took and what can we look forward to from WorldHotels?

OB: “We have tried to help our partners in several ways from the onslaught of the pandemic. We provided relief to our hotels in the form of waivers of fees or reduction in fees and also support in terms of new guidance and cleaning protocols. It has changed a lot of things and timely guidance and support for hotels are really important. Early on in the pandemic, the BWH Group also removed high-touch items, such as pens and directories, from guest rooms and started using QR codes instead of printed menus. It has also doubled down on its Mobile Concierge app, which allows for contactless check-in and checkout. Similar measures have been implemented for the WH portfolio and a constant assessment is made to fine-tune and adjust as new development arises.”

TD: Why should independent operators be looking at companies like WorldHotels, do you feel WorldHotels offers a greater opportunity to help owners post-pandemic?

OB: “Consumer behaviour has significantly changed during the pandemic and some “habits” are definitely here to stay. In this environment, safety, comfort, familiarity and flexibility have all become key elements of the brand identities being communicated to consumers. For this reason, branded safety and cleanliness programs have been a key element of brand messaging throughout the pandemic. And, in light of the challenges hotels continue to face, some independent operators may be seeing the appeal of being part of a larger organization and hotels that are not presently affiliated with any brand finally realize that there is some solid merit in having a brand affiliation because you do get the weight of global brands to come and create policies and procedures in a timely and professional manner on the top of the obvious commercial benefits.”

TD: Looking forward to the future, what are the hospitality trends you think we will see in the coming months or years now that travel is restarting and how WorldHotels plan to capitalise on those for its members?

OB: “This pandemic will be the main factor for a massive hospitality “reset” and it has to be seen as an opportunity as it will also need to address other important concerns (sustainability, green initiatives, etc.).”

“Both investing in the digital future and re-thinking our marketing approach are probably two of the most relevant components. Lastly, innovative operational solutions to differentiate ourselves from the competition will be a mandatory step to achieve success as the guest’s experience must remain at the centre of our strategy.”

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