Luxury hotel group eyes agents

LONDON -- The Dorchester hotel is serving as a model for an emerging group of luxury properties owned by the government of Brunei.

The 3-year-old Audley Group is the U.K.-based management firm representing the sultanate's hotel portfolio, which includes the Dorchester, the Hotel Meurice in Paris, the Beverly Hills Hotel in California and the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

The four are striving to work in tandem.

For example, last fall, the Dorchester raised commissions from 8% to 10% to match the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Meurice will boost its agent pay from 8% to 10% after it completes a renovation in December. (The Nusa Dua pays 10%.)

The group plans to add hotels in gateway cities, according to director of operations Ricci Obertelli. It also will launch its own reservations system but currently is represented by Utell and the Leading Hotels of the World. Agent road shows are on tap for next fall, when the Audley Group visits New York and Los Angeles.

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