Associated Luxury Hotels International That the high-end hotel market, like the rest of the hospitality industry, is recovering from the worst of the Great Recession is especially welcome news for Stacy Lucherini, Chicago-based regional vice president of Associated Luxury Hotels International (aka ALHI), a national sales organization representing more than 125 properties worldwide that have earned four- or five-diamond status from AAA. M&C recently chatted with Lucherini about the luxury segment and its appeal to planners.
How is business these days? We've definitely seen a shift in the market where the pendulum is swinging back toward luxury. For example, we survey our member hotels every year, and 53 percent of the properties have more business on the books going into 2011 than they did a year ago. Another indicator is that a year ago, fully 100 percent of our planner clients felt it was a buyer's market, while now 64 percent see it that way.
Is the perception problem still an issue? Based on reporting from our members, I can tell you that perception is not a problem anymore. For one thing, luxury properties learned to provide more value to meeting planners, even as planners cut back on elements in the agenda that were deemed too frivolous. And I do believe hotels will continue to be more willing to work with planners than they were before the recession.
Where do you see rates going in the new year? They will go up, which means right now is a good time to book, while there are still deals out there.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I love spending time with my family. I have an 11-year-old son who keeps me very busy. And I love to go boating on Lauderdale Lake in Wisconsin -- it's a beautiful body of water and so relaxing.