With exactly one month to go before the opening of the Savoy, the London landmark is close to receiving its first guest in three years. James Stagg spoke to director of sales Simon Gilkes to find out whether there's been a rush on reservations.
Caterer Will everything be ready for the opening on 10 October?
Simon Gilkes It's all coming together, finally. I've been here for the whole restoration and it's been a really interesting experience seeing it all the way through.
Caterer Is the excitement growing and generating sales?
SG It's much better than we anticipated. We saw a lot of interest when we opened reservations on 10 August. It's traditionally a quiet month as people are travelling, so in the next few weeks we're really expecting it to go crazy. In fact, earlier this week, we had a really strong pick up and expect this to continue into the autumn period which is historically very busy for London.
Caterer In terms of marketing, what has the Savoy been doing?
SG We're gaining partnerships with high-end retail partners like Fine Hotels and Resorts from American Express who market to individual clients, but prior to that we've been aiming at the high-end travel industry and travel clients.
Caterer What is occupancy looking like between now and Christmas?
SG We can't tell you exactly what it is but we're definitely running at the pace we feel we have to be to make the budgets that we're working to.
Caterer Where have the bookings come from?
SG The traditional markets for a London hotel are the US and the UK. Over the last two years we've visited the Middle East and Russia to meet potential new clients and create a buzz. We're starting to see that come through but those markets tend to be quite last-minute compared to more traditional markets.
Caterer Are you able to attract back clients that may have established themselves at other five-star London hotels?
SG There are a lot of clients that have been staying at the Savoy for years, generations even, and it's amazing to have those guests back. There are others that we lost in the 10 years prior to closure who now want to return. Many of these people make reservations through third parties and we've really targeted the communication channels through those travel partners.
Caterer How have you kept clients and the public updated?
Caterer Finally, how many times has the £10,000 a night Royal Suite been sold?
SG I can't tell you exactly but we have taken multiple reservations, some for this year and also some in 2011 as well.