Though already operating the Fairmont St Andrews in Scotland and managing the iconic Savoy hotel in London under the same name, FRHI would like to increase its brand awareness in the country.
Jennifer Fox, president of the company, told BigHospitality: “We want to have a bigger presence in the UK. We currently manage The Savoy in London but it was wiser to play on the hotel’s name rather than the Fairmont name, so we have a bit of a brand awareness issue in the UK. We would really like to have a Fairmont London.”
She added that the firm is “aggressively” looking for a UK Swissôtel site. “Ideally we would like a conversion so we could be on the market as soon as possible.”
For the firm’s most luxury brand Raffles though, things are a little more complicated.
Raffles president Peter French explained: “The issue with international capital cities is the entry cost – we looked at one or two sites to potentially open a Raffles in London, but the property market is not an easy one. And we don’t even lose out to other hotels – we lose out to residential. But the wish is there.”
He added that because of its luxury offering, Raffles hotels could only be located in city destinations that could sustain prices. In comparison, the company’s upper-upscale Swissôtel brand, which trades on efficiency and modern designs, can be rolled out in a lot more places.
However, FRHI confirmed that it had no intention of entering the mid-market segment, and that its strategy was to stay in the luxury sector.
On the staffing side though, the firm is slowly relaxing its conservative approach, allowing employees to have tattoos and putting more focus on personality-driven recruitment.
“All staff go through a very rigorous assessment and recruitment process, which has helped us achieve lower turnover percentages than average,” added Fox.