The dangereous precedent of boycotting businesses based on ownership

For the past week, the Dorchester Collection has been under a virulent boycott by a group of celebrities over the Sharia law which the company owner the Sultan of Brunei plans to introduce. Instead of addressing the issue through diplomatic and political channels, to investigate the matter an all out media war has been started against the luxury hotel chain.

I am not sure how many of those who joined this boycott are aware of the performances and achievements of Dorchester Collection, one of the leading luxury hoteliers worldwide. Thanks to an exceptional team of hotel professionals, the Dorchester Collection has grown in less than a decade in one of the top global luxury hotel chains, competing directly with long time established chains such as Peninsula. Few luxury hotel chains own and operate their properties, most of them being operators.

With almost no exception, in each of the cities Dorchester Collection is present, its property ranks among the top three luxury properties in the respective city. The success ingredient has been an exceptional product, outstanding service levels and iconic locations. Unlike other owners in luxury hospitality, the Dorchester Collection has been constantly investing in its properties.

To stay ahead of competition, Dorchester Collection has embarked on a major renovation plan of its properties – already completed at Principe di Savoia in Milan, Bel-Air Los Angeles, The Dorchester in London. Renovations are underway at The Plaza Athenee in Paris and will be implemented gradually. Rooms and suites in the newly renovated properties are probably among the most luxurious in the world, the group having implemented latest technologies such as Intelity’s ICE.

The ongoing investment in human resources at Dorchester Collection has been evident, hence the consistency of the group in providing exceptional levels of service at all its hotels. Innovation has been key to the group’s success, whether it is their Food&Beverage concepts or its Spas.

I am certain that until now the majority of the public was not even aware of the ownership of some, if not all, the Dorchester Collection hotels, this being totally irrelevant. Most of the properties have exceeded their reputation and have proven their leadership through facts.

Boycotting a business over its ownership can set a dangereous precedents, especially in luxury. Shall we investigate who the owner of the hotel is before making a reservation? Shall we investigate the provenance of a diamond before buying a piece of jewellery?…

Oliver Petcu

Park Suite at The Dorchester London