YPB and Leading Hotels of the World form New Venture

Leading Hotels of the World has announced the creation of Leading Marketing Services, a joint venture with Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown -- one of the most recognized marketing companies in the travel industry.

Leading Marketing Services is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations firm specializing in the development of communications programs targeted at the affluent customer with a highly disposable income.

Lori Sachs, Managing Director of Leading Marketing Services, says the new company combines the brand equity of Leading Hotels of the World with the services of YP&B. It offers a long menu of services, including: market research, media services, public relations, direct marketing, sales promotion, Web design and maintenance and strategic planning.

She said the new company's uniqueness is that it specializes in marketing to the affluent traveler.

'The profile of today's affluent consumer is markedly different than it was just a few years ago,' Sachs said. 'Never before have so many people made so much money; therefore many providers of luxury goods and services are at a loss as to how to reach this 'new ' money.'

The new company, as is the case with other Leading spin-offs, will provide services to both the 340 members of Leading Hotels of the world and non members; however, it will not work with direct competitors of Leading Hotels of the World. Other previously announced Leading spin-offs have included: Leading Financial Services, Leading Quality Assurance and Leading Group Sales. Leading spokespeople said the company hopes to quadruple its number of joint ventures in the next few years.

Yesawich states in a recent presentation that the "new affluent" group overwhelmingly agrees that vacations are important to their well being. They are interested in trying new and different things. Travel no longer has the snob appeal it once did, with only 56% identifying travel abroad as a contemporary symbol of success and accomplishment. A huge majority have a personal computer at home, and 84% subscribe to an online service; more than half used the Internet to plan some aspect of a recent trip, and 21% have used the Internet to actually make reservations.

Affluent travelers are far more likely to use the services of travel agents, according to Yesawich. Their most preferred destination is the Caribbean, followed by Hawaii. The most popular destinations internationally after the Caribbean were Italy, France, Mexico and England; and the most popular domestically after Hawaii were Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York.