Interview with Michael Hobson, CMO of the Mandarin Oriental Group


This week we sit down with the Mandarin Oriental’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Hobson to discuss future hotels, the iconic I’m a Fan campaign, and what makes this East meets West hotel chain unique. Enjoy!

A message from Michael Hobson 

We are delighted to partner with Grand Luxury Hotels, which is a well-established company in the travel industry.

Over the past 52 years, since the opening of our Hong Kong flagship, our Group has grown from a small but respectable Asian based company, into a global luxury brand. We now have 46 hotels and over 11,000 rooms in 25 countries across four continents today, and are moving closer to our vision – which is to be widely recognized as the world’s best luxury hotel group.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group prides itself on creating bespoke, unforgettable experiences for each and every guest, whether travelling for business or pleasure. Grand Luxury Hotels understands and shares our vision, and we look forward to welcoming their clients to experience the warmth of Mandarin Oriental soon.

Michael Hobson

Chief Marketing Officer

Michael Hobson (1)


 1. Bodrum, Milan, Barcelona, Paris… all are hotels with a very intimate feel and contemporary designs. In other words very modern. Is this a response to the direction that you perceive European luxury hotels are taking or the result of opportunities?

The properties in our portfolio range in size from 60 to over 500 rooms.  Our hotels in Europe are generally located in historic buildings that have been reconfigured, which in part dictates the number of rooms and suites available. In terms of design, we pride ourselves that whether in London, Paris, New York or Hong Kong, guests are made to feel that they are truly a part of the city they are visiting. Each hotel has its own individual charm with oriental touches that are reflective of Mandarin Oriental’s heritage, and the Group works with some of the most respected architects and designers in the world, and is proud that no two projects are the same.

2What are the future areas for development of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group on an international level?

We currently have 17 hotels under development, and are continuously seeking opportunities to grow our brand in new and exciting destinations.

In 2014 we welcomed two new properties to our portfolio. The 300-room Mandarin Oriental, Taipei opened in a prime location in the city, and was followed by a beautiful resort property on the Turkish Riviera – Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum .

In May of this year, we announced a joint venture to acquire the legendary Hotel Ritz, Madrid in Spain This iconic property will undergo a comprehensive renovation in 2017. We also opened Mandarin Oriental, Milan this summer, with a wonderful location in the heart of the city, just steps from the famous La Scala Opera House. Our latest opening was in September, in Morocco. Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech set in 20 hectares of landscaped gardens and olive groves, has 54 individual villas and 9 suites and is located just minutes away from the bustling medina.

Looking ahead we will open two hotels in Beijing, China over the next 18 months, and we are also on track to open other hotels in China over the next few years, in Chengdu and Shenzhen.

Outside of China Mandarin Oriental, Doha, our first project in the Middle East, will open in 2016. We have also announced new hotel developments in Bali, Manila, Beirut and Dubai, with more to come. In addition to our portfolio of hotels, we manage or have under development 16 Residences, which further extends our brand reach. Owners of these residences have all the comforts of a private home combined with amenities and services by Mandarin Oriental.

3. Can you describe the DNA of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in a few words?

With a strong history, heritage and service ethic that comes from our Asian heartland, our mission is to provide a selection of unique and legendary hotels that offer a combination of 21st century luxury with oriental charm.

4. You’ve created the “She is/he is a fan” campaign. What prompted you to start associating the Mandarin Oriental with philanthropic activities?

Mandarin Oriental’s US$ multi-million global print advertising campaign, launched in 2000, and continues to gather ‘fans’ from around the world. The campaign simply and elegantly connects the Group’s well-recognized symbol – the fan – with international celebrities who are photographed in a location of their choice which, for them, best represents the feeling of well-being.

As well as giving back to society, we wanted the campaign to be truly authentic, and with a 15 year legacy, I think we have undoubtedly achieved this.  The international celebrities we work with regularly choose to stay at our hotels and are true fans of the Group. In appreciation of their support, the Group makes a donation to each celebrity’s individual choice of charity.



About Nimah Koussa

The best part about being a travel writer is bringing cities and destinations to life: their stories, secret addresses, luxurious gems and unique holiday moments. And I have been one for a little more than 10 years. From the best bars and restaurants in different cities of the world to hotels where you can check-in to get away from it all, this Magazine is all about making every trip just a bit more meaningful.

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