What is the World’s Best Luxury Hotel Brand?

For most, it’s purely aspirational; for some, it is a once in a lifetime experience; for a select few, it is a quest – discerning the subtly nuanced variations in service levels that separate the great from the exemplary.

Every frequent traveler has had the conversation with friends or colleagues, what hotel chain is really the best? It’s a personal decision and its often a tough call. There may be favorite hotels for business, with other resorts considered for romantic getaways. To make the decision even harder, this poll is designed to provide only a single selection.

The best hotel chain is not measured solely by the beauty of its views from suite balconies, the thread-count of its sheets, or the price of its rooms. The secret sauce for these properties comes down to service – the magical ability to anticipate guest needs and provide personal service in an efficient, yet understated manner.

The top hotel groups recognize that the guest experience is the key focal point – that creatively and consistently exceeding guest expectations is the greatest challenge that they face. The best also realized that negatively impacting the guest experience was not an option, despite an economic downturn.

Below is a list of the best luxury hotel chains in the world. If you are interested in following these properties, I have created a Twitter list: Luxury Hotel Brands for the 16 groups with Twitter accounts.

Remember, you may only vote once and only one brand may be selected. So, if there can only be one, which luxury hotel chain deserves the title of “Best in the World?”

Try this link if you do not see the poll embedded above.

To keep things simple, this poll only targets multi-unit hotel brands. In many cases there is a balancing act of providing service levels that are consistent across the brand with services that are unique to the property and appropriate for the destination. Creating great, yet differentiated experiences between properties becomes more of a challenge than running a single property location.

This list was vetted by some leading travel journalists and luxury travel agents – it is a fairly select group. If a favorite hotel chain was excluded from the initial list, send me a message using this link and I will consider adding it to the list.

Voting will remain open until Friday morning, April 30, 2010 at 7:00am US Central time. Sorry, only one vote per person, so alert your social network to campaign for your favorite.

Many challenges face the global travel industry. New business models, competitive marketing strategies, emerging mobile technologies, interactive customer engagement and the constant need to drive profitability create complexities that were never previously imagined by hotels, destinations, airlines or online travel companies.

Each week, RockCheetah and the Views from a Corner Suite blog will present a new poll to gauge the sentiment of the travel industry, and of course, allow respondents to comment on the issues at hand.

About Robert Cole

Robert Cole is the founder of RockCheetah, a hotel marketing strategy and travel technology consulting practice. He also authors the Views from a Corner Suite Blog and publishes the Travel Quote of the Day. Robert speaks regularly at major travel industry conferences, authors articles for leading travel industry publications, advises travel-related startups and the equity investment community. He is an evangelist for the global travel industry.