Le Meridien seeks agencies for global expansion push

Luxury hotel chain Le Meridien is reviewing its global agency roster and looking to appoint UK agencies for a range of different projects.

Luxury hotel chain Le Meridien is reviewing its global agency roster and looking to appoint UK agencies for a range of different projects.

The company - the luxury arm of the UK's largest hotel group, Forte - has promoted the head of PR for UK and Ireland to a global role. Phoebe Hamilton, who has been in the post since January (PR Week, 21 January) will now report jointly to regional MD John Bamsey and group marketing director Alain Briere.

Following a budget review in March, Le Meridien dropped Hill and Knowlton from its books everywhere apart from Japan. In April Hamilton hired two firms on local and regional PR briefs. These were Strategic Solutions in Dubai to cover the middle-east and Media Services in Paris to handle the key French market. In all other markets around the world, PR has been handled in-house by Hamilton or her staff.

Hamilton is now set to hire agencies for several major UK projects. One is the Excelsior hotel at Heathrow, which is to be rebranded next year as Le Meridien Heathrow after a pounds 9 million refurbishment. 'My first job is to conduct a thorough audit of both our PR requirements and resources around the world. I will be taking on outside help where needed, including the UK,' Hamilton said.

Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts rolled out a global brand awareness campaign this summer to reposition itself as a 'lifestyle' hotel group. It will unveil its new corporate identity at the end of this month.

The company had a turnover of over pounds 1 billion last year. It currently runs 125 hotels in 55 countries but hopes by the end of the year to have opened a further 20 in locations ranging from Australia to Lithuania.

The chain has plans to open a further 16 in 2001.



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