Fourteen deluxe hotels with locations only in Israel and a history that stems back to 1947—that’s Dan Hotels in a nutshell. And these factors were very much on the mind of Rafi Baeri, v.p. of sales and marketing for Dan Hotels, when we asked him what made the hotel company such a success story in the Israel hotel landscape and with North American tour operators (they are the hotel company of choice on many tour company’s Israel itineraries).
“First and foremost is the tradition,” he says. “We started as an Israeli company and we’ve continued to be a core Israeli company. At Dan Hotels we’ve taken the best of the international hospitality standards and combined that with Israeli hospitality—a little bit less formal, a little bit more friendly, more person-to-person—and we’ve been persistent with that. Doing it in a consistent way throughout our 60+ years of existence is the real secret of our success.”
One of the elements that creates this consistency is that Dan Hotels “believes very much in the major hubs of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. In all of these areas we have more than three hotels [more on specifics later]. We concentrate on these destinations rather than spreading ourselves around,” Baeri says, “and we look for proximity to transportation and attractions.”
Without doubt, the most notable property among Dan Hotels—the largest luxury hotel group in Israel with almost 4,000 hotel rooms—is The King David, located in the heart of Jerusalem overlooking the Old City. It has played host to kings, queens, presidents and heads of government, and in 1967, after the Six-Day War, when hundreds of tourists flocked to Jerusalem, The King David—a member of The Leading Hotels of the World—was the only luxury hotel in the capital.
Beyond The King David, however, Dan Hotels offers properties in several categories: Dan, which is deluxe; Dan Panorama, four- to five-star level; and Dan Gardens, which are moderate first-class hotels. The deluxe Dan hotels are located in Tel Aviv; Herzliya; Haifa; Caesarea; Eilat and Jerusalem (the Jerusalem property is the newest one in this category with 505 guestrooms); the Dan Panorama properties are located in Haifa; Tel Aviv; Jerusalem; and Eilat; and the Dan Gardens are located in Ashkelon and Haifa. The company recently added the boutique concept to its hotel category inventory, as well, with the opening of the 129-room Dan Boutique Jerusalem. According to Baeri, they’ll be opening boutique properties in other cities, but it’s only a strategic plan for now, he confirms.
In this way, they offer a variety of hotel categories for their guests, many of whom are repeat guests (the company’s main target are families; they offer seasonal activities for kids and teens). In terms of repeat guests, “We hold one of the world records as a chain, with just under 35 percent of our guests being returning guests. And at some of the hotels within the chain, such as the Dan Accadia in Herzliya, more than 50 percent are returning guests,” says Baeri.
To get that high repeat guest count that Baeri points out or be able to grow and be a consistent—again that word—landmark in the hotel business, Dan Hotels has paid special attention to its customer service. “We are very oriented to customer service and every day we try to fulfill and deliver on our promise of high-class hospitality. Not every hotel has the same standards of service and facilities as, for example, The King David, Dan Tel Aviv or Dan Carmel, but every one will have the same standards of customer care that is so important to Dan.” To gain that seamless service across all categories, the company offers its department team leaders “excellence in service” courses, which they go through on a regular basis. “The focus is on service and customer care,” points out Baeri.
guest loyalty program
Knowing about the fine details that make up the company’s complimentary guest loyalty program, e-dan club, can be a great way for you to secure a Dan Hotel booking because it’s not just about accruing points. “It offers a variety of benefits, including a 12.5 percent discount on F&B, the spa, Internet, and we use our database so we can customize a member’s stay to their likings. For example, if a guest tells us they are interested in history, when they arrive at the hotel they will get references to the historical places, archaeological exhibitions; or if they can’t miss their morning run, we’ll get them a jogging map with marked routes and distances. After they leave, we stay in contact and offer them specific programs according to their preferences.”
Meanwhile, travel agents not only get prompt commission payment, stresses Baeri, but they can also take advantage of special rates in the off season. “The agents can get in contact with Dan Hotels’ NY office,” he says, adding that “we are the only Israeli hotel chain with an office in NY with a dedicated staff.” That number is (800) 223-7773/4.