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London’s TripAdvisor #1: the final analysis.

by Rajul on October 2, 2009

Completing the jigsaw at the TripAdvisor top-rated Milestone Hotel Completing the jigsaw at the TripAdvisor top-rated Milestone Hotel

In recent articles we’ve looked closely at the Milestone – a luxury hotel near Kensington – to see how it has become the current number 1 London hotel (at the time of writing) on TripAdvisor.  Factors behind its rise include:

1. Its well-executed top 12 Service Standards (shared across the Red Carnation Collection of luxury London hotels).

2. Its “Tiny Noticeable Touches” – the way staff are empowered to engage with guests and “go the extra mile”.

So we’ve already put much of the jigsaw together.

Check rates at Milestone Hotel

The Milestone has a slightly dotty refined elegance and a homely, country mansion feel The Milestone has a slightly dotty, refined elegance and a homely, country mansion feel to it

In my recent meeting with the Milestone’s General Manager, he also shared other reasons why the hotel gets such good reviews, listed below:

  • Tranquil location.  The Milestone is opposite Kensington Gardens, one of London’s most underrated and nicest green spaces.  Many rooms have park views and make it hard to imagine that you’re still in central London, with easy access to all the city’s sights and attractions.
  • Manageable size and high staff/guest ratio.  The Milestone only has 57 rooms and 6 apartments but almost 100 staff.  This allows for an engaging, attentive service style and no sense of feeling rushed.  The staff are able to remember and greet guests personally.
  • Data collection.  Although the smooth service at the Milestone looks effortless, the reality is that a lot of perspiration goes behind making it work.  For example, they collect pre-stay guest preferences e.g. your favourite drink, newspaper, etc.  Staff then track what guests actually do during their stay (which can be different to what was stated) and constantly update this data.  This helps deliver those amazing “TNTs”.

Check rates at Milestone Hotel

  • Staff retention and team spirit.  There is great stability in the hotel’s staff, with key team members working there for decades.  As was explored in our feature on staff retention at various London hotels, this helps to create consistency and trust.  There is also a “trading places” scheme to build team spirit – even the Group’s CEO (whom I met at its sister Egerton House hotel) once found himself doing the breakfast shift!
  • Unique, “non-standard” product.  When I recently visited the Milestone, it was the antithesis of a chain hotel.  It looks like a luxurious mansion and each public area feels distinct.  All rooms are also individually furnished with eclectic fixtures and fittings and items that don’t always “match”.  It’s slightly eccentric but that is part of its homely appeal.
  • “Celebrations”.  The Milestone is not particularly “corporate”, though it does get some business guests.  It has instead developed a reputation for special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, honeymoons, etc.  This guest profile obviously wants to be delighted and “wowed”: the perfect platform for staff to perform their magical TNTs.  There’s a great match between the guest profile and the staff profile.
The Milestone specialises in special occasions The Milestone specialises in special occasions

There are of course other hotels striving to offer extremely personal service which also have high staff/guest ratios – the Lanesborough (run by arguably London’s best hotelier) and Claridge’s also spring to mind.

Check rates rates at Claridge’s

Check the best rate for The Lanesborough from 30+ hotel booking sites

However, the Milestone has an advantage both by virtue of its small size and the fact that expectations are lower since you’ll usually pay a bit less than you would in the above ultra-deluxe hotels (though we’d always suggest you do a price comparison to check).

Check rates at Milestone Hotel

The biggest challenge for the Milestone Hotel from now on will be to meet the higher expectations it has created, but that’s a nice problem to have!

If you enjoyed this article, you may also wish to check out a similar analysis of the group which runs 4 of the top 10 New York hotels on TripAdvisor at the excellent Hotel Marketing Strategies blog.

Search for a London hotel – Book Now, Pay When you Stay

Photo credits: Red Carnation Hotel Collection.

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Interview with the GM of the Milestone Hotel | London Hotel News | Official daily news on London hotels |
November 16, 2010 at 9:48 am
The Milestone Creates True Royal Occasion | London Hotel News | Official daily news on London hotels |
February 18, 2011 at 6:18 am

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