Headquartered in London, the Red Carnation Hotel Collection is comprised of boutique properties spread across the U.K., Europe, U.S. and South Africa. This is a brand that, rather than emulate luxury, defines it. In fact, the brand's President and Founder Beatrice Tollman was recognized earlier this spring when she was inducted into the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame.
But accolades aren't the only reason guests are booking RCH properties. Here, Managing Director Jonathan Raggett describes the brand's signature luxury style and why it attracts well-heeled travelers.
TravelPulse (TP): What defines the hotels in the RCH portfolio?
Jonathan Raggett (JR): As a family owned and ran collection, a genuine passion for generous hospitality is at the heart of each and every Red Carnation Hotel experience. This ethos stems down from our President and Founder Bea Tollman, who embodies the attention to detail and warm and personal service for which Red Carnation is renowned.
Just last week Mrs Tollman was inducted into the prestigious British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame, recognizing her momentous contribution to the hospitality industry, the success of our hotels (which are consistently ranked as number one by TripAdvisor in the areas in which we operate) and the care she extends to all members of staff.
We are so fortunate to have such a talented, caring and inspirational leader at the helm of our company, and our teams take great pride in embodying Mrs. Tollman's pursuit of excellence through delivering exemplary personal service to guests.
TP: How would you describe the RCH guest?
JR: Our guests are discerning travelers who seek genuinely friendly service from staff that clearly care about making each stay with us the best that it can possibly be. They are looking for delicious dining experiences, from meticulously crafted fine dining menus to much-loved comfort food. Mrs. Tollman's signature dishes, for example, her Chicken Noodle Soup and famous Baked Cheesecake, remain the most popular dishes on our menus. This relaxed luxury keeps our guests coming back time and time again.
Each hotel in our unique collection is individually designed and situated in incredible locations, so there really is something to suit all guest needs and the guest profile can vary from property to property. Some hotels offer a complete resort experience, like Ashford Castle with its award-winning spa, a cinema, several dining venues and plethora of outdoor pursuits, so the guest here might be looking for plenty to do in luxurious surroundings.
Alternatively, Hotel 41 has just 28 bedrooms alongside a welcoming Executive Lounge with honesty bar and Plunder the Pantry dining concept, so here our guests are looking for more intimate luxury. But all the properties share various hallmarks such as artworks and antiques, all carefully selected to reflect the destination, and as such our properties aim to create a sense of place for our guests.
TP: What are some of the unique experiences that your guests can enjoy on property?
JR: We have longstanding relationships with the most important venues and establishments in all the locations in which we operate that allow us to offer our guests extraordinary experiences. The Milestone Hotel in Kensington can arrange center court Wimbledon debenture tickets or a behind-the-scenes tour of the neighboring Royal Albert Hall, while the Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge can offer guests VIP access to the V&A Museum and also arrange a once-in-a-lifetime personal shopping experience at Harrods.
We also have a relationship with the prestigious London Philharmonic Orchestra, so we can even arrange private recitals in our bedrooms or suites, which is something really special for a proposal or anniversary for example.
Unique experiences and services aren't just about the destination-our teams are challenged to be as creative as possible to surprise and delight guests within the hotel. This involves everything from helping to arrange romantic proposals, personalized turndown treats and playing soccer in the park with a young sports-mad guest.
TP: Could you talk about some of the company's efforts to bring sustainability to the RCH brand of luxury?
In line with the goals of the TreadRight Foundation, the not-for-profit organization created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation's (TTC) family of brands, Red Carnation Hotels is committed to making travel matter. Our mission is to have a positive impact on the people and communities in the areas where we have properties, to protect the wildlife and marine life in our localities and to care for the planet we call home.
This month we achieved our goal of eliminating 15 every day single-use plastics from our operations across the entire collection, from pens, water bottles and dental kits to dry cleaning packaging. This is part of a wider goal to eradicate all SUPs across TTC's entire operation by 2022, and it comes directly from our passionate leader and CEO Brett Tollman.
We have a number of partnerships and initiatives underway, which vary from individual hotel-based projects such as the introduction of Anatolian dogs as a humane and sustainable method of predator control to collection wide endeavours such as the reduction in food waste across all properties, offering volunteer days to all our staff members and having Belu water as a supplier in our hotels, directly transforming the lives of over 2,000 people in Madagascar who didn't have access to clean water.
These examples represent just a snapshot of our activities in this area, but it's something that we believe passionately about and is intrinsic in everything we do. We have a sustainability committee that leads our efforts, but every staff member is empowered and challenged to come up with their own ideas and together we hope that we are at the forefront of what our industry is doing to make a change in the world.
TP: How does the company work with retail travel agents?
JR: Strong relationships with our valued retail travel agents are essential to the success of our business in the crucial U.S. market. We have a dedicated team of sales representatives on the road meeting with agents along the east and west coast, and we work closely with the major luxury travel consortia including Virtuoso and Ensemble, and we fully appreciate the value that comes with the knowledge and expertise of an experienced travel agent.
We're committed to educating our agent partners on what sets Red Carnation apart in the luxury sector and so we have created dedicated agent webinars via our parent company's agent portal, TTC Academy. Webinar sessions will illustrate to agents the heartwarming story of how our hotel collection came to be, the unique destinations we're located and our Unique Selling Points which communicates our philosophy and what truly sets us apart.
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