In most parts of the world there is a Warwick Hotel with MICE facilities ready to welcome every kind of event. ‘We have 53 properties’, says Francis Bertrand, ‘and this time next year that number will be even greater’.
Francis is the Director of Global Sales for Warwick Hotels & Resorts and he was able to allocate some time to talk with ITCM in order to bring us up-to-date on what the group can offer – and where.
The global sales HQ is based in Paris, where specialist personnel can handle enquiries from organisers to identify which location and which property would best host their events. However, the group is also steadily establishing its own offices or representatives in different regions, so that organisers can be in touch closer to hand. They are located in regions such as the USA, Russia, the Middle East and Scandinavia.
‘We see Europe as a MICE market which still has growth potential for us’, comments Francis, ‘and, in particular, the UK. Until recently we handled the UK directly, but we have appointed Hotel Republic of London to offer all our services to the UK market. Kai Schomann and his team are the link between British event organisers and agencies and all the destinations where we have properties.’
The Warwick brand derives from the name of a hotel in New York that was the origin of the group in the 1980s. ‘Since then.’ Says Francis, ‘we have expanded to the most desirable locations around the globe through acquisitions, management contracts and affiliations. We have targeted iconic properties in the very best locations and so, obviously, we have not erased decades of identity by changing the names of the properties which mean so much to their localities. However, in those cases, we have added the name Warwick so that clients can be sure that our standards apply in every instance.’ Examples of this approach are the Westminster Hotel by Warwick in Paris and Royal Windsor Hotel by Warwick in Brussels.
It is no surprise that these are based in the fashionable centres of those capitals. ‘A main plank of our growth has been location, location, location’, Francis adds. ‘Each property has to be in the most desirable place in either a major city or an internationally famous resort. We are not only on 54th Street in New York, on the Sukhumvit in Bangkok and in Knightsbridge London, but we also have the Warwick Paradise Island in Nassau in The Bahamas and the Warwick Ipah Villas in Bali.’
Two of the most recent additions to the Warwick group are The Capital and the Levin. They are both 5-star boutique properties and both in Basil Street in London’s fashionable Knightsbridge.
‘For large or small meetings or for incentives’, Francis sums up, ‘we have iconic facilities to suit. And in every instance, our accent is on very high quality service and also gastronomic excellence. We pay a lot of attention to our cuisine. MICE business is of major importance in our mix of business – and because of the delegates’ good experience, we also derive substantial leisure business as a result.’
Francis doesn’t want the interview to end without making a particular point relevant to MICE agencies and DMCs. ‘In contrast to some other hotel groups’, he points out, ‘we are maintaining our level of commission and also offering it on the f&b content of events’.