Why I Really Like GSOs

SOs and Rep firms are different in that they are sales experts within their specific portfolio.

Here’s why… sometimes I have to find answers from a lot of places all at once. A multiple destination search, a large, complicated event… or maybe I have to find something in a destination I have never worked… I turn to my GSO friends and suddenly have an army of helpers who want to help me close a deal.

The “Big Chains” have GSOs and although they are always willing to help or at least steer you in the right direction, sometimes there are minimum yearly requirements in order to have someone assigned to your account. Many planners do not make that minimum threshold… but there are also many smaller chains and/or rep firms that represent a wide range of properties and are eager to help, even with your small or one-off meeting. I am not talking about site search firms… that’s a whole different animal and they definitely have their (commissionable) place… GSOs and Rep firms are different in that they are sales experts within their specific portfolio.

I have listed some of them in previous blogs but here’s a more comprehensive list… or at least one that will help get you started when you have to do that next search… Note… I have put in my contacts e-mails and you are welcome to contact them, although depending on your location they may refer you to a colleague… and remember, there may be some overlap in properties that belong to more than one group (but that is their problem, not yours)… anyway… here goes… and not in any order of preference…

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Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) represents over 250 luxury properties in over 60 countries. ALHI’s portfolio also includes 23 luxury cruise ships and DMCs. One call. Try Myra Howay at mhoway@alhi.com and/or visit www.ALHI.com 

preferred hotels of america

Preferred Hotels & Resorts requires that each of its 650+ member hotels in 85 countries (divided into five categories) conform to the Preferred Standards of Excellence measured yearly by anonymous on-site inspections carried out by professional third-party experts. 650+ may sound like a lot of hotels (not to mention the category thing), but don’t worry about which category of property you need. Instead, just contact Jennifer Collins at jcollins@preferredhotels.com and she will figure it all out for you. And of course, you can visit https://preferredhotels.com

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Historic Hotels of America represents more than 300 full-service properties as part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. What does that mean? A really, really wide variety of cool, historic hotels including some of the most recognized names in the industry as well as really cool places you didn’t even know existed (but should). Contact Michale DiRienzo at mdirienzo@histoichotels.org and/or visit www.historichotels.org


Woodside Hotels operates nine very distinctive hotels in northern California; Bernardus, Monterey Plaza, Dream Inn, Lafayette Park Indian Springs Calistoga… to name a few (and they are all really good). Want to consider them (and the others)? Contact Karen Hudson at khudson@woodsidehotels.com and/or visit www.woodsidehotels.com  


MGM Resorts International. Never heard of them? (haha). The MGM Resorts portfolio encompasses 27 unique hotel offerings including some of the most recognizable resort brands in the industry. Big places that can accommodate your big events (and smaller events and incentives too). The company is expanding throughout the U.S. and around the world… in a big way (because that is how they roll). Need to navigate all of that most efficiently? Contact Gary Murakami… he really knows his stuff… at gmurakami@mgmresorts.com and/or visit www.mgmresorts.com


Rocco Forte Hotels. Now in its fourth generation of hoteliers. I have written about them before but in case you missed it… Eleven distinctly individual hotels in Europe and the Middle East. They are each unique because each destination is unique, but they all have one thing in common… they are all classics. For more detailed info contact Mary Geong at mgeong@roccofortehotels.com and/or visit www.roccofortehotels.com             

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Leading Hotels of the World was established way back in 1928 with 38 independent luxury properties. Now… 375 luxury hotels in 75 countries. And a hotel can’t just join. It has to be one of the world’s best and has to be approved by their Executive Committee whose members only want to be associated with the best of the best. You get the idea. For help finding the best place for your high-end Board Meeting or incentive, contact Lori Harrison at lori.harrison@lhw-offices.com and/or visit www.lhw.com 


House of Kooser. Yes, I didn’t get the name thing at first until I was told this Representation Company was started by a long-time hotel guy named Greg Kooser.. That whole name thing aside, they represent 28 boutique hotels in the US, Canada and Europe. That number will be growing. All of the hotels are very different, some have meeting space, some not… so to sort through that visit www.houseofkooser.com


International Group Sales (IGS)… I have worked with them for years and they are arguably the best of the best reps with whom I have ever worked. They are experts (and I mean experts) in Mexico (24 properties), the Caribbean (13 properties) and Central America (3 properties), and now even have two properties in Alaska and one in Montana. If any of those destinations are under consideration, contact Norma Alberico at norma@igsales.net and/or visit www.internationalgroupsales.com

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Pan Pacific Hotels Group operates one hotel in the US, three in Canada, two in Australia, and sixteen throughout Asia. Great business and meeting hotels. Add them to your list. Contact Alice Cota at alice.cota@pphg.com and/or visit www.pphg.com      


The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group started with one iconic hotel in Hong Kong in 1963 and now has 32 luxury (and I mean luxury) hotels in 20 countries, including six in the USA. I want to stay in all of them, everywhere, and when I am done, go back and start over. For assistance in any or all of them, contact Emily Holbrook at eholbrook@mohg.com and/or visit www.mandarinoriental.com   


Montage Hotels & Resorts targets “affluent travelers”. They deliver the high-end service demanded by their target market. With that in mind, if you want to place a Board Meeting, want to impress your customers, or are planning a small incentive (and you never experience “sticker shock”), check out one (or all) of their five properties in the USA and/or their one in Mexico by contacting Bud Campbell at bcampbell@montagehotels.com and/or visit www.montagehotels.com.


Hotels of Switzerland. I have written about them before. If you need a luxury hotel in Switzerland contact Marius Karrer (he represents 11 of the best and is a really good guy) at marius@hotelsofswitzerland.com and/or visit www.hotelsofswitzerland.com


The Dorchester Collection is comprised of nine of the world’s most iconic hotels (7 in Europe, 2 in Los Angeles). That is not overstating it. They are all legendary… so if you’ve got that high-end stuff going on and want to be in the most amazing place in whichever city you want to be in and you are lucky enough that they are too, contact Marcella Zuniga at marcella.zuniga@dorchestercollection.com and/or visit www.dorchestercollection.com

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Two Roads Hospitality… not sure who that is? Combine Destination Hotels (36 properties), Joie de Vivre (18 properties), Alila Hotels (17 properties), Thompson Hotels (10 properties)… and you have Two Roads Hospitality. Contact Armel Reyes at arreyes@tworoadshotels.com and/or visit www.tworoadshotels.com         


Aman Hotels & Resorts has 31 incredible, small resorts around the world – 21 in Asia, 6 in Europe and 4 in the Americas. We are talking… really nice. J Perfect for high-end meetings or small incentives. I mean… really nice. Their newest announcement is Aman New York opening in 2020 on 57th Street & Fifth Avenue.  In the meantime and for all of their other properties, try Jane Galosic at jgalosic@amanresorts.com and/or visit www.aman.com

And so you know… these are just some of them… I will keep adding as I go.

Comments, recommendations and thoughts always welcome.





Donna Cohen

I have decades of experience creating and producing online marketing. I left the corporate world to work independently with people who need help establishing and maintaining their online presence. Not everyone knows how, has the aptitude, or time to learn how to use online marketing tools, and nor should they have to try. Those people who need help and/or don't want an in-house marketing team work with me. Each client has different needs, goals and expectations. I do custom work for each of my clients. I get to know each person and know their voice, their style, rhythm and budget. 

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