THE BIG INTERVIEW: ADA Pacific Direct sees market shift as demand soars for British guest room amenities

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Sylvia Jensch, managing director of ADA Pacific Direct, talks about the trends that are driving the luxury amenities market in the UK hotel market and explains how ADA is growing to meet and match this demand.

 Can you tell us a bit of background about the company?

ADA International is one of the leading global hotel cosmetics provider operating as ADA Pacific Direct in the British market. The well-established German manufacturer is market leader in Europe and specialist for customised products and sustainable solutions as well as dispenser expert with more than 1.6 million holders installed. The portfolio combines designer brands, private labels as well as ecological and eco-certified products. In 2015, ADA strengthened its international presence by acquiring the British company Pacific Direct, the international leader in luxury brands, and Scanamenities, Scandinavia’s leading provider of hotel cosmetics and, in particular, of dispenser systems for hotels. The luxury brands of the British Pacific Direct and the exclusively designed products of Scanamities are a perfect enhancement to ADA’s established product portfolio. These two strategic acquisitions have significantly broadened the global reach of the company and have laid the best foundations to drive the expansion of the business with responsibility and vision. Today ADA has two development centers: One in London responsible for luxury brands and one in Kehl, Germany, taking care of lifestyle brands. The global distribution network includes 13 sales and distribution subsidiaries and guarantees proximity to the current approximately 15,000 customers.

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How have you grown your sales over the past five years?

Especially the year 2015, due to the acquisitions of Scanamenities and Pacific Direct, was characterised by growth. The merger of the three market leaders was an important opportunity to profit from marketing synergies as well as share information and knowledge to exponentiate competencies together. At the same time it provides access to markets, customers and contacts to generate sustainable growth. International hotel chains, especially, but also independent luxury hotels and resorts benefit from the pooling of our market know-how as well as from optimisations in service and sales.

But we have also undergone some significant organic growth in both the luxury as well as the midscale hotel market by securing deals with international and/ or regional hotel groups, such as the Ritz Carlton Hotels, the UK based David Lloyd Group or the upcoming design budget group Motel One.

What are some of the biggest trends you have noticed for guest room amenities in hotels?

In Great Britain we have noticed three main trends: first, the ongoing trend for luxury retail brands available in hotel amenities; second the preference for British products; third the growing popularity of green hotel cosmetics. ADA Pacific Direct is able to meet all three trends.

Of significant importance for us as hotel cosmetics manufacturer and supplier is the desire for prestigious retails brands enhancing the individuality and identity of the hotel and giving guests a superior experience. ADA Pacific Direct offers a broad range of renowned brands like Asprey, Amouage, Lalique or our new Chopard hotel collection.

A second trend is the preference for local products. Independent boutique hotels or small boutique hotel chains often choose hotel amenities brands from Britain as a commitment to the British culture and nationality. Our extensive luxury brand portfolio includes outstanding British brand such as ELEMIS, The White Company, Floris, Penhaligon’s and the Irish brand Orla Kiely.

Increasingly we recognise a growing interest in dispenser systems combining luxury with environmental aspects. They are gaining a foothold even in upscale hotels, since they offer substantial advantages. Dispensers like the modern ‘Smart care System’ have an attractive design, can be handled with a slight touch, nothing drips and everything stays clean and hygienic. It takes housekeeping mere seconds to change the cartridge. And, last but by no means least, dispensers are very economical. They save between 30% and 40% compared with ‘normal’ small bottles, and are available in many shapes and colors, plus are 100% recyclable.

What are some of the trends you’ve noticed in boutique hotels for guest room amenities?

In the boutique hotel segment individuality is trend number one. Boutique hotels prefer quirky brands and niche products that reflect the hotels unique identity. This can be anything from a niche brand to a customised design/ concept that stands out.

What are some of your best selling ranges for hotels?

Some of our best selling ranges are Asprey with its very prestigious and high-end positioning for only the most exclusive hotels, Elemis – one of the leading Spa brands in the UK featuring results driven skin care ranges and the White Company with it compelling sleek and pure design. Floris and Penhaligon’s are our classics and well appreciated for their strong British identity and heritage.

What should hoteliers consider when choosing their amenities ranges?

Each property has a different positioning and guest profile, hence there’s a need for unique amenity solutions with differentiating positioning and offers, whether it’s a classic, heritage, quirky-contemporary, spa-therapeutic, eco-natural or a designer brand.

Our advice: Choose an amenities line that reflects your identity, be lifestyle or luxury.

A luxury brand can increase the perceived value of the guest experience and can support the hotel’s marketing strategy. It can equally offer a fragrance journey from arrival in the lobby with candles and diffusers, to room sprays for the house attendants to fragranced corridors and sleep sprays as well as the spa treatment. Elemis and TWC are just two examples of such a comprehensive experience possible.

A lifestyle brand can support the hotel’s choice for eco-consciousness or for example a design/ quirkiness of the hotel itself. Our Fair Cosmethics range for example can offer the hotelier the chance to voice his support for high quality and fair traded amenities in his hotel.

On the other hand a customised product can bring out the true beauty and identity of the hotel. Actually, ADA is the inventor of personalized hotel cosmetics catering prestigious clients like Brenner’s Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden or just recently the tune hotels in the UK. Our inhouse-development team (a combination of cosmetologists, chemists, product designers and marketing experts) creates and puts together customized solutions in close cooperation with the client. We offer manifold options to the client to choose from with regard to formulation, fragrance, flacon and packaging design.

Based on more than 35 years of experience in the market our portfolio of products and services addresses the real needs and individual desires of our customers. Our value chain is focused on being a single-source provider so that customer feel at ease with us and know that they are in good hands. Our dense sales network guarantees close proximity to hoteliers to advise them and their housekeeping teams to choose the perfect range for their needs and target groups.

Where would you like to grow the business further in terms of across the UK?

Great Britain is one the most important European markets for us with substantial future potential for our products and services. We are committed to growing nationwide with focus on groups as well as independent boutique hotels, but also luxury serviced apartments and private members clubs. E.g. we currently supply The Arts Club and The Devonshire Club.

What are your future plans?

We are well on our way from being Europe’s leading hotel cosmetics provider to becoming one of the world’s leading providers. With the acquisition of Pacific Direct and Scanamenities we strengthened ADA’s position in Europe, our traditional home market and took a big step into the Middle East, Asia as well as the USA

While continuing to grow in the EU, we plan to significantly expand our international growth overseas. We have future investments and support in the USA and Asia planned that will continue to drive our goal of international expansion. A solid international key accounting as well as further build of the local subsidiaries and sales teams will be part of our overall strategy.

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