Relationship-building, brand integrity, appreciation for quality, and taking that extra effort to truly understand a client — these are the traits which seem to be disappearing in today's social-media hyper-driven world. From big chains, we expect it, but when boutique properties started to automate their outreach, it caused many a luxury traveler to sigh.
And if you're one of the ones who wonder why email offers and database-driven "loyalty programs" had to replace travel specialists who actually know you and value your business, well, guess what? There's a new and thriving luxe lodging collection with two industry veterans behind it, and these two are standard-bearers for the relationship-driven approach to travel services.
Take a minute and get to know (or reacquaint yourself) with Greg Kooser and Suzanne Goldberg. If your business requires you or your staff to spend time in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris or a handful of other cosmopolitan hubs where House of Kooser manages luxury boutique lodgings, you may want to give this duo a call. And if you're a boutique hotel owner who isn't quite sure how to carve out a place between the W’s and the Thompsons of the world — or isn't sure which marketing consortium is worth the membership fees — then maybe House of Kooser is for you.
JustLuxe: First off, introduce us to yourselves! What is House of Kooser?
House of Kooser: House of Kooser is simply a grassroots sales duo that has become the voice behind one of the most interesting collections of hotels and residences, where our names are trusted in the world of hospitality.
JL: How would you describe your business style, as opposed to other, similar lodging collections (i.e. Black Tomato or Mr. & Mrs. Smith)?
HoK: Our style of representation goes beyond the ‘hotel directory’ and plaque on the front desk. Suzanne and Greg act as an extension of their collection’s sales’ teams and pride themselves on being a part of the booking process. Whether it is uncovering a new account for a hotel, VIPing the honeymoon couple, or strengthening relationships, we are a part of the process. Knowing the staff behind the scenes of a hotel or residence is only part of the reason why we are successful at taking care of our customers.
JL: Since you prefer to do much of your brand-building in-person, by word of mouth, how do you tap into potential new business sources and get your name out to a wider audience?
HoK: Word-of-mouth has been very good to us, in adding to our collection and client list. We have a strong presence in Los Angeles and New York City, where we are forever hosting creative and different types of client events that allow our industry friends to mix in a more casual way. Examples include intimate dinners in a Brooklyn Carriage House, with Greg and Suzanne cooking dinner for 25 people, or at a Bel Air home overlooking a canyon, while their guests take dance lessons under the stars from famed Willem de Vries of the television show So You Think You Can Dance, to racing around a staged warehouse for a production of Sleep No More. Combine all of this with a very active social media life, and our following is growing and self-propagating.
Photo Courtesy of Refinery Hotel
JL: For a guest, what distinguishes the experience at a House of Kooser property?
HoK: Our properties deliver personalized service, so that guests feel as if they are in a home, rather than the latest one in a queue. Whereas many luxury properties dole out extras to people who have earned the most points, or who are members of a certain paid club (i.e. Virtuoso), House of Kooser properties provide those thoughtful touches and customer service extras to all guests.
JL: Please tell us about three properties in your portfolio that you feel are most indicative of your overall offering.
HoK: Loden Vancouver — Catering to entertainment, production, corporate and leisure travelers, the Loden sits in one of the most sought-after neighborhoods of Vancouver, with breathtaking views of Coal Harbor and the city. Exceptional service is the standard for all guests.
Photo Courtesy of Cheval Residences
HoK: The Refinery Hotel New York City — Preserving its rich history as a prosperous turn-of-the-century hat factory, The Refinery is located in the heart of the city’s Fashion District. The design combines custom-furnished guest rooms with all the modern amenities for the world traveler with elements of its past, like Winnie’s — a Prohibition-style ‘tea’ lounge — and signature restaurant Parker & Quinn that hearkens to a bygone era. Last but not least, there's a spectacular rooftop lounge.
Cheval Residences of London — With residences located in six posh London neighborhoods, Cheval Residences lead the way in world-class serviced apartments. Whether you are in a townhouse, grand penthouse, Georgian Mansion or pied-á-terre, each residence has its own individual style. This is a lodging for celebrities and top-echelon business executives who require discretion, the best location, perfectly trained staff, and a home-away-from-home, for as long as their business keeps them in the city.
JL: Thanks for letting us chat with you, we look forward to watching your company grow!