The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. is working to form The Private Label Company LLC (PLC) in partnership with TRUST International, part of Cendant's Travel Distribution Services (TDS) division. The new company is designed to give a global presence to a hotel group or chain in the luxury marketplace by leveraging the existing infrastructure and reservations volumes of The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd.

The PLC will provide superior technology for distribution; personalized sales representation; and cost-effective private-label services for Leading member and non-member hotel groups and chains. Via TRUST International's sophisticated reservations and distribution services, hotel groups who are customers of the PLC will be able to retain their own GDS codes and have access to worldwide voice reservations services. In addition, customers of the PLC will benefit from direct connectivity to all major on-line channels, as well as from interfaces to front-office and revenue-management systems. The PLC will enable hotel companies to build their unique brand identities by capitalizing on the combined expertise of The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. and TRUST International in the areas of sales, marketing and distribution.

In making the announcement, Paul M. McManus, president and chief executive officer of The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., commented, "This alternative solution will permit Leading to effectively address what has become a chronic problem with group and chain hotels, who feel that they require their own structure and brand identities in an ever increasingly competitive market for management contracts. With this issue resolved, we will be able to concentrate more intensely on our core business, that is the sales, marketing and distribution of independent hotels."

Mr. McManus added, "What makes the PLC such a viable solution is the combined strength of its partners. TRUST International, which provides the highest level of distribution technology, together with Leading Hotels' global marketing reach, offers the best and most comprehensive solution, from both effectiveness and cost standpoints for group hotels in existence today."

Currently, while other companies in this sector offer inexpensive transaction fees, they cannot provide the comprehensive menu of services or the complete global distribution capabilities offered by the PLC. This forces hotels to adopt an ad-hoc distribution approach, resulting in higher costs and missed revenue opportunities.

The PLC is structured to meet the specific needs of groups and chain- affiliated hotels, with numerous bespoke sales representation options within designated markets. Unique to the industry, the PLC will offer the services of either a "card-carrying" dedicated salesperson or shared-sales team, each of whom will be educated on all properties within the portfolio. It will also afford hotels the opportunity to choose select target market regions for both voice centers and sales offices.

Richard Wiegmann, chief operating officer of TRUST International, described the new company concept as ground breaking: "The ability to provide customized white-labeling services, combined with innovative reservation technology, is something which will simply revolutionize the hotel representation sector."