Exec meets one-on-one with top-producing retailers By Gay Nagle Myers / June 20, 2003 Share 1 -- NEW YORK -- John Scott, the new president and CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, is no stranger to the hotel business. He's worked on and in hotels in the Pacific, the Far East and the U.S.; has firsthand experience with assets and acquisitions; and knows a lot about what high-end travelers want, require and are accustomed to getting.All in all, Scott seems a perfect fit for Rosewood, whose 12 luxury properties consistently rank in the top 10 of reader surveys and consumer research.Scott took the helm as president and CEO of Dallas-based Rosewood in April after seven years with St. Louis-based Maritz Wolff & Co., a private equity real-estate investment group.At Maritz, he handled acquisitions and assets for a portfolio of 17 hotels and resorts in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Caribbean, some of which operated under the Rosewood brand name."My second week at Rosewood coincided with our annual Collection Preview," Scott said. "The timing couldn't have been better for me."The managing directors and executive staff of each Rosewood property met with the company's top-producing leisure and corporate agents in key markets, such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York."We had one-on-one contact with agents -- we listened to their comments, heard what their clients were saying about our properties and got to tell them about Rosewood's plans," he said.Agents account for most of Rosewood's bookings, according to Scott."Our guests -- many of whom are repeat visitors -- are leisure, transient, FIT and corporate travelers who are most comfortable working with a travel agent they have used before," he said. "We nurture those relationships and endeavor to drive business to agents."A small percentage of guests do book direct or via Rosewood's Web site, although Scott said the site is used more as an "awareness-generating tool than as a booking engine." Also coinciding with Scott's arrival at Rosewood was the launch of a $2 million ad campaign entitled "Something Extraordinary Happens.""The idea had been in the works a while," Scott said. "Hotels have suffered along with all market segments for the past two years. This campaign supports our properties during a specific time frame -- the summer getaway season -- with incentives and a message that focuses on family reconnection."Many of Rosewood's guests first visited the resorts as children and later returned with their own families in tow, he said.Scott described Rosewood as "a small company with unique products.""We are not a hotel chain," he said, "but a collection of intimate hotels and resorts."Components of the "Something Extraordinary" campaign include special rates and packages, which, according to Scott, "dramatically" boosted summer bookings to its three Caribbean resorts -- Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; Little Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands; and Jumby Bay, Antigua -- in the past month."The increase is due to the exposure from the ad campaign plus the fact that people are beginning to travel again, especially to the Caribbean," Scott said.If future Caribbean expansion for Rosewood takes place, it will "probably be in a north-south direction, such as Turks and Caicos in the north and Barbados and Costa Rica in the south," according to Scott."We do not want to be over-represented in the Caribbean, nor do we have a stated strategy of owning the Caribbean," he said. "If the property and location fit, we will consider it. We have a strong franchise in the Caribbean and are good at managing and marketing specific destinations to a specific client group."Rosewood launched Jumby Bay, its newest Caribbean resort, last December, a project Scott described as "restoring a classic hotel to its original grandeur."That restoration carried a $6 million price tag.Jumby is the only all-inclusive property in Rosewood's portfolio, and the concept apparently is a hit with the resort's clientele, Scott said."Guests view the property as their own private island. We offer different menu options and a variety of locales where food and drink are served."The all-inclusive plan will be in effect for next winter, as well. Caribbean rates, which have held steady during a two-year period of flat bookings, may be seasonally adjusted "if demand continues," Scott said.Sales pitch• Make copies of the readers' hotel survey in the May/June 2003 issue of Departures magazine (published by American Express for Platinum Card and Centurion members) in which three Rosewood properties ranked No. 1 in their respective categories and three others placed in the top 10. Send the surveys, along with a handwritten note about Rosewood's summer packages, to affluent clients in your database.• Arrange a fam visit to Rosewood's new properties or those not visited before, such as Jumby Bay in Antigua or Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico.• Send a goodie basket of kids' beach toys to clients with grandchildren to remind them of Rosewood's family packages to the Caribbean this summer.Get More!For more details on this article, see Firm offers opportunity for 'Escape'.