Luxury South Action Group Members Interview
Debbie Parsons-Randle tells us why Southampton Harbour Hotel is involved in the Luxury South Action Group
Tell us about your company/organisation and its history
Southampton Harbour Hotel opened in October 2017 to much fanfare and excitement. Being the city’s only 5* hotel, the hotel has positioned itself as a premier destination hotel on the south coast; fulfilling the need for a high-calibre accommodation and hospitality offering in the city. The hotel is part of the luxury lifestyle group, Harbour Hotels; an expanding portfolio of award-winning properties across the South. The brand has a portfolio of 13 hotels in city destinations such as Brighton, Bristol, Richmond and Guildford and coastal properties such St Ives, Salcombe, Padstow and Fowey.
How is Southampton Harbour Hotel involved in Luxury?
With an AA 5* accreditation, there is an expectation from guests which comes with the accolade. Luxury is part of the experience, whether it is service or product. Both elements are crucial to the luxury experience and need to deliver every time, regardless of the guest and how much they have paid. The nature of our business is very transient, however the Harbour Hotels brand has a loyal clientele, often visiting their favourite every year or trying out our new additions to the portfolio. We are very careful to align ourselves with luxury brands. This is showcased in our bedroom products such as The White Company and Green & Black chocolate. When it comes to business partners at the hotel we work with the likes of Cunard and Sunseeker, who are at the top of their respective markets, and we aim to be a partner of choice where the brands can add value to each other.
Why is Southampton Harbour Hotel a Champion of Business South and involved in the Luxury South Action Group?
We became a Champion prior to the hotel being finished. It was key for us to be involved with an organisation that would provide us with insights to the Southampton business marketplace and trends whilst also providing a platform and opportunity for us to be in the company and presence of like-minded and influential individuals. As soon as I heard about the Luxury South Action Group it was important for me to be involved to gain an insight into how Southampton and luxury are linked and how we as a luxury offering can make in impact to encourage more high-end brands and partnerships to enter the market.
Luxury means different things to different people, but how do you define luxury?
I define luxury as something that is an indulgence rather than a necessity. It offers great ease and comfort or feels sumptuous. I want a luxury experience or service to be easy, stress-free and something that can add value to my life, perhaps a one-off or something unique. I would not necessarily judge something as luxury based on cost, it would be what value it can add to my life or experience that I would not be able to have day-to-day.
Why is the South a great place to have a luxury business?
The South has a wealth of natural beauty and is easily accessible from London, so it is already an attractive region for pleasure or business. The quality of workforce and expertise in the South is improving, with the investments coming in. With big brands already operating in the area, it is a natural fit for luxury business to consider the South for their new or next location to do business.