5 February 2015

Group eyes new clientele, with a new website, booking engine and roadshows on the cards, as London office expands.

April Hutchinson

Aman Resorts is keen to grow its client base beyond its “Amanjunkies” – wealthy guests who stay very loyal to the remote and exclusive resorts around the world.

“We are very lucky to have 50% repeat guest levels, and now the children of the Amanjunkies are coming back to us too as adults,” said chief executive Olivier Jolivet. “But we are changing how we go to market now – we never really engaged in marketing before, as it was such a word of mouth idea for Aman and our guests. But we have to put ourselves out there a little more.”

The company’s website will be relaunched in April and the group’s social media presence will also start to grow. Meanwhile, a new booking engine should be live for the trade by the end of March.

“Our regular guests literally just call the general managers and tell them they’re coming,” said Jolivet, “but now we need to create more widely used and modern methods of booking.”

As its resorts develop more outside of its Asia base, the company is building a sizeable office in London, where there is now a team of 16.

“It makes more sense for us to have an office in this part of the world [the headquarters are in Singapore] as we have more hotels in the west coming along and many of our key markets are also closer to here,” said Jolivet.

As part of the growth in London, Christina Deeny has moved from Belmond to join Aman as group head of global sales and will host one of the group’s first sales roadshows at the end of February, bringing over seven general managers to meet with key trade partners in London and the north-west.

A London base also makes sense for the new owner of Aman, Russian property billionaire Vladislav Doronin, self-confessed Amanjunkie and part of a consortium of investors who bought the group last year for £235 million, but controversy has followed the deal. Last year the High Court in London ruled on an interim basis that Doronin was not validly appointed as chief executive following the sale, although Doronin is fighting back.

Jolivet steers the company now and is keen to point out it is “business as usual”, with Aman reaching 30 resorts this year.

New resorts will debut in Playa Grande, Dominican Republic, Lijiang in China and Shima in Mie Prefecture, central Japan. Aman Tokyo also opened in December.

Jolivet said: “We have a busy year ahead, but it’s not part of some aggressive expansion strategy – we will still ensure each hotel is small and personal. But we have to keep growing where our guests want us to, especially in South America and Africa for example.”

Article sourced from Luxury Travel