This week we chat with the incredibly funny Annalisa from Park Plaza who picked Carlos as her rising star and answered most of the ‘Love it or hate it’ round with the phrase, “I’m Italian!”
With 2012 coming to an end, can you give us some highlights on how this year has been for you?
It has been a funny year because of the Olympics; all the business patterns we’ve had in the past completely changed this year. The summer, which historically is a very busy period for us from certain segments, was unusually quiet. The overall trend for 2012 was that we had low periods where we were normally busy and busy periods when it should be quiet. Some markets like the Arab segment (which usually peaks in the summer) never came because Ramadan coincided with the Olympics and rates were very high then. Most of our bookings during that period came from sites like Expedia and Lastminute.com. This last quarter has also been very quiet so I’m hopeful things will pick up and return to normal in 2013.
Do you have any projections for 2013?
The beginning of 2013 is going to be quiet, but that’s normal and how it’s supposed to be. But we are preparing for that with plenty of promotions during that period. In general we can’t really anticipate what’s going to happen in 2013, but I’m hopeful it will be back to how it was in 2011.
Can you tell us a little about each of your London properties?
We have eight properties in the UK, six in London. They are all four star properties with the Plaza on the River being the only five star property. This property offers additional services such as room service, where clients can have a butler and/or a chef cooking for them. We also offer a personalised shopping service for our clients, so that a client can give us a list of what they’d like their fridge to be stocked with, from which shops to which brands. We do the shopping for them and have it ready upon their arrival. For example, if a client wants a certain type of ham from Harrods, then we get it in advance so that when they arrive, their ham is ready in the refrigerator. Our apartments are all very private and homely which we feel makes our guests feel as at home and comfortable as possible.
Looking back, what’s the strangest request you have ever received from a client?
Ummm… The Arab market is quite unique in that more often than not, they call from the airport, without having booked or anything but telling us that they are on their way, expecting us to be ready. It’s funny because they come with the whole entourage so now, in anticipation of this, we block off rooms for them during peak periods.
What is your market segment like?
In different times of the year we have different segments. So in summer it’s the Arab market which is usually very strong but this year was hit due to Ramadan and the Olympics. [Engi: I would anticipate that for the next four years you’re not going to see the Arab market during the summer because of Ramadan! I’m sorry] How horrible Engi! But yes, however, this year was tricky and we couldn’t tell if it was only because of Ramadan or if it was combined with the Olympics that they didn’t come.
To put you on the spot, who is your favourite SilverDoorian? (And you can’t say Alice or Ramona because they are both sitting right here…)
[With no hesitation at all] Carlos, of course. [Engi: that didn’t take much thought!] Look at the figures!! He is our rising star – bookings have more than doubled since he came along! It’s very difficult to beat that.
Finally, what does SilverDoor do for your business?
You bring us many many bookings. We are really very grateful for all your help, it’s really appreciated.
Now for the love it or hate it round…
X Factor or I’m a Celebrity: [Shrugs] I’m Italian!
Mince pies or Christmas pudding: I’m Italian – I’ll say panettone.
Made in Chelsea or The Only Way is Essex: I’m Italian!
[Engi: This obviously isn’t working – wait, I have better ones]
Cosmopolitans or mojitos: Mojitos
Football players or rugby players: Football players
Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds: I’m Italian. [Engi: Damn, I was getting better.] I’ll say Antonio Banderas…
[Engi: I’ll just stop at that.]