You must travel incessantly, what makes a hotel great for you?
If I’m on vacation, a calm atmosphere in a hotel is essential, I like staff to be discreet and quiet. On business, an efficient concierge desk is a must.
Targeting the grown up teenager is one of our 2017 trends. You travel with your son Damien frequently, what does someone of his age look for whilst staying at a hotel?
My son loves a good music system and fast room service. And free Wi-Fi to which it’s easy to connect.
When you travel, what disappoints you in a hotel?
The most important thing is the staff. I can put up with anything as long as the staff are charming and efficient. Multi-lingual staff are obviously a huge asset, but at the very least they should have good English. I like a good hairdryer, decent shampoo, an espresso machine and plug adapters in the rooms. Plenty of water on the bedside tables and a pencil and pad.
In your view how important do you think digital and social media is in terms of promoting your business?
Well, it’s important if the customers you wish to attract use social media, so you need to analyse your clientele. It wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference if you’re huge on Instagram to my mother for example! But we recently began an Instagram account for my swimwear line, Elizabeth Hurley Beach, and I think it’s been a valuable platform for us to let our followers know about special offers and new lines.
Many hoteliers are still nervous when it comes to social media, could you share with us how you use it for your swimwear business?
We have a growing Instagram account that we started last year. I think it’s key to give the responsibility of social media to someone with a passion for it. My fourteen year old son loves social media and runs our account. He’s greatly increased our followers.
How can hoteliers make their hotels more social media friendly for that perfect shareable photograph/post?
Again, it depends on your clientele. If it’s an older crowd, probably don’t torment them with photographs of extreme sports and teenagers frolicking in bikinis. I guess if you attract a lot of couples, emphasise romance and candle lit dinners. Waiters offering to take pictures of couples is good – most people are too embarrassed to ask and can go through a whole holiday never having a picture taken together.
You always seem to court favourable press, how would you recommend hoteliers to do the same?
Hoteliers need to be able to pick up vibes from their guests; some guests love to be talked to and some crave being left alone. It’s the same with waiting staff – there’s a difference between being attentive and hovering around being annoying and interrupting. It’s quite an art to get it right. I think if hoteliers really look after their guests and send fruit to the room and other small things it makes a real difference to feedback given to friends and encourages repeat business.
What are your top travel tips?
Flying is very dehydrating so I drink as much water as I can bear to and slather on lots of moisturiser and lip balm. I sleep as much as possible on the flight and try not to eat anything salty. I’m pretty good at packing as I travel so much and the trick is layers. Blasts of air conditioning and then blasts of hot air are inevitable and I hate shivering or sweating.
You must get asked this all the time, but where is your favourite hotel and why?
I love the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India which is home to the Maharajah of Jodhpur and exquisite in every way: beautiful, serene and brimming with history.