Business & Finance

Kiwi Collection Welcomes Erik Wachtmeister to Advisory Board

JANUARY 18, 2008. The newest addition to the esteemed Kiwi Collection Advisory Board is Erik Wachtmeister, Chairman and Founder of aSmallWorld.net - the increasingly popular private online community that allows members to network more effectively with like-minded individuals. Wachtmeister joins the ranks of other prominent Kiwi Collection Advisory Board members, including Gamal Aziz (MGM Grand Hospitality), Sonu Shivdasani (Six Senses Group) and Matthew Upchurch (Virtuoso) to name a few. Kiwi Collection, a Web-based luxury travel resource (www.kiwicollection.com), is where discerning travelers go to find the world's best accommodations and insider travel advice.

"The Kiwi Collection welcomes Erik Wachtmeister to our Advisory Board with open arms," said Philippe Kjellgren, President of Kiwi Collection, Inc. and Mary Gostelow, Editor-in-Chief of WOW Travel. "His networking vision has garnered an impressive community of individuals who are keyed in to the best in world travel and who have their finger on the pulse of the next best destinations. We look forward to gaining insight with their membership base - and Erik's own travel expertise."

An invitation-only online community, aSmallWorld.net was created in 2004 by Wachtmeister and his wife Louise in order to establish a forum for wealthy individuals to share trusted opinions and information. Frequently described as "myspace for millionaires," the site offers travel suggestions, feedback, lively forum discussions, listings of events around the world, a personal messaging service, suggestions and user ratings for travel and restaurants, and city-based resources. Prior to establishing aSmallWorld, Wachtmeister founded Viking Internet, a UK-listed investment vehicle and served as the Web site's CEO after holding senior corporate finance positions with Ladenburg, Thalmann in New York and Los Angeles, Rothschild in New York, and Lehman Brothers in London and New York. He received his MBA from INSEAD in 1983, and his BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1977.

Coming Up In The April Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Guest Service: Customer Service is a Key Business Differentiator
In today's hyper-competitive, hyper-connected global marketplace, customer experience has assumed a major role as a key business differentiator. There is a growing understanding that competition based on products or price alone is no longer a viable strategy. Since feature or function advantages can be quickly duplicated and/or enhanced, product innovation is no longer the differentiator it once was. And competition based on price impairs profitability. On the other hand, research indicates that 86 percent of consumers said they would be willing to pay more for a better customer experience. To protect both market share and margins, hotel companies must provide customers with consistent, compelling experiences - before, during, and after their purchases - across all major channels. There are many things organizations can do to deliver a superior customer experience. Management must align everything a company does with the customer service experience in mind. They must assign high value to anticipation of customers' real needs and desires, and they must incentivize and reward personal initiative in the pursuit of customer satisfaction. They must respond quickly to customer requests. They must ensure that customer interactions are highly personalized, and they must deliver the right information to the right place at the right time. And perhaps most importantly, upper management must create a culture where customer service is valued and esteemed, taught and rewarded. Customer experience leaders who can drive this kind of cultural change will radically affect their companies? competitive position and business performance. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.