Get Us in Your Inbox
Forbes Travel Guide — the hotel inspection service known for its coveted Five-Star luxury ratings for spas, restaurants and hotels —celebrated its 2019 awards with festivities at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 26-27.
The event also served as a coming out for FTG’s new CEO, Filip Boyen, who most recently served as CEO of Small Luxury Hotels and COO of Belmond before that.
Boyen enters FTG at a time of major expansion: The 2019 Star Rating Awards includes 14 newly added destinations and 76 countries throughout the world (versus 50 countries in 2018).
In addition to continuing the international growth of FTG inspections, Boyen hopes to clear up prevalent misconceptions.
“We are not the mafia,” he said at FTG’s Luxury Symposium event. “Pay to play does not exist.”
Indeed, FTG foots the bill for its anonymous inspectors’ visits that typically last three days. (Check out our breakdown of how Forbes Travel Guide's complex rating system works.)
“If you come to Forbes Travel Guide, you get the truth,” he said. “These ratings are not for sale. It’s not because an FTG board member likes a certain hotel. Hotels can’t buy a rating; they have to earn it.”
Boyen hopes to grow the prestige of FTG’s brand around the world.
“I want to do events in our Five-Star and Four-Star properties, and celebrate the awards and the hotel staff,” he said.
Among the invitees would be the travel trade — especially travel advisors, who Boyen acknowledges are responsible for lucrative bookings to luxury hotels.
“I intend to grow awareness with the travel trade,” he said. “Travel advisors drive business to FTG’s rated hotels and that’s what this is all about.”
Boyen, who is currently in conversation with Virtuoso, hopes that travel advisors will use FTG as a main resource.
“We should be the world’s only trustworthy platform,” he said. “What are advisors doing now when they get an inquiry for a luxury hotel in Budapest, and they haven’t been to it? They go to the GDS. I want them to go to Forbes Travel Guide. If you come to FTG, you get the truth.”
The DetailsForbes Travel Guide www.forbestravelguide.com