by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | August 1, 2017

casIt has been a busy year for Associated Luxury Hotels International, which shows no signs of slowing down. In the past seven months, the Orlando-based hospitality company, which was founded in 1986 with just 14 hotels and has since grown to 250 member properties, has made some serious strategic moves to expand its global footprint to gain more traction in the group business, as well as expand its reach into new market segments.
First in a string of decisive moves, ALHI announced the creation of a new parent company — Associated Luxury Hotels — to serve its members who are more oriented to the leisure market. It's a key strategy, because it allows ALHI to continue to focus its attention squarely on the North American MICE market, where it has grown its presence. That news was quickly followed by the announcement that the company had acquired Frankfurt, Germany-based Worldhotels, which has 350 member hotels and resorts in 65 countries, and whose primary focus is the independent business traveler. Like ALHI, it too will operate as a separate division.
alhi"Together, ALHI and Worldhotels will create a powerful combination to provide guests, members and MICE planners a comprehensive sales and marketing infrastructure and an expanded array of services that will effectively compete with the world's biggest hospitality chains," said David Gabri, chairman of Associated Luxury Hotels in a statement.
ALHI, however, is clearly the frontrunner of the newly restructured company. It recent months it has completely overhauled its website, opened its first European sales office and just days ago announced it had added four new members to boost its convention portfolio. Mark Sergot, chief sales officer for ALHI, told The Hotel Insider that London was the ideal choice for the company's first office in Europe, because the U.K. is a global feeder market.
'We wanted to tap into this exceptional market as our first foray outside of North America to ensure our member hotels have access to this major outbound market," Sergot said. What's more, he anticipates that the company will be adding even more offices abroad in the near future, particularly in Asia Pacific and Europe. "We do expect China specifically to be a market we pursue sooner rather than later," he said. "The outbound opportunities there continue to grow, and the Middle East, India and major European cities are also key growth markets on ALHI's target list."
In Europe, ALHI has identified key cities where inbound group business to the U.S. has grown, and Sergot said they will be taking a hard look at expanding their presence in those destinations. "The U.K., Germany and China are the major in-bound markets for the United States, so we are looking at options to expand our presence in these markets as well as others," he noted.
The four new members joining ALHI's convention portfolio include three Omni hotels — the 1,059-room Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, which has 100,0000 square feet of meeting space; the 612-room Omni Louisville (Ky.) Hotel, which is scheduled to open in in mid-2018 with 65,000 square feet of event space; the newly renovated 834-room Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.; and the 278-room InterContinental Washington, D.C.–The Wharf, with 17,000 square feet of meeting space, scheduled to open later this year.