Beyond the Lobby x Amanda Frasier

Posted by Team LATHER on

Beyond the Lobby x Amanda Frasier

Welcome to Beyond the Lobby, where we delve into the captivating narratives that shape the world of luxury hospitality. 

Today, we're privileged to host Amanda Frasier, Forbes Travel Guide's President of Ratings. At the helm of FTG’s prestigious ratings system, Amanda plays a pivotal role in shaping the standards that define luxury hospitality worldwide, refining benchmarks with an unwavering dedication to perfection.

With a foundation rooted in luxury boutique hotels and her current pivotal role shaping the industry's future, Amanda's expertise and leadership have been instrumental in elevating the standards of excellence worldwide.

LATHER was proud to unveil our groundbreaking Landscapes Collection at the Forbes Summit, organized under Amanda's leadership and expertise. This eco-conscious line, crafted from ocean-bound plastic, marks a significant step towards environmental stewardship within the luxury hospitality sphere.

Join us as we explore Amanda's remarkable story, filled with insight, inspiration, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in luxury travel.

 Man and woman sitting on sofas at a speaking event

Can you highlight key moments that shaped your career, ultimately leading to your current role as President of Ratings at Forbes Travel Guide?

I have tremendous gratitude for always having been influenced and encouraged by those around me, both professionally and personally. From an early age, my love of travel and appreciation of a memorable experience started with the impression our family holidays and outings would leave with me. Something was always booked—there were always plans to see somewhere new, whether near or far. We were always going somewhere.

Fast forward to the significant influence that some of the most highly respected individuals in our industry have had in my career. I have been fortunate to watch, listen and learn from the very best, whether industry icons and legends or some of the most talented colleagues one can hope to have—you never stop growing and seizing the opportunities. 

How did your experiences working within luxury boutique hotels shape your approach to evaluating standards within the hospitality industry?

Ultimately, over the years I have not come to think of the standards as “standards.” Rather, they are the hopes and desires of any discerning traveler who wants to feel they made a smart investment of their time and money into an experience. Whether that be for a 90-minute dining experience or a weeklong vacation, the fundamental takeaway feeling from the guest should be the same: That they felt valued, and their time was well spent.

From having worked in operations for some 13 years prior to joining FTG, I certainly appreciate how hard those who work in hospitality labor to create these extra-special environments for their guests. In boutique hotels, your title may be one thing, but you wear several hats, several times a day. Everyone pitches in, and I fell in love with the excitement of not knowing if one moment I'd be hosting a cocktail party or delivering luggage to a room. I quickly learned that each task had to be done exceptionally well and with equal enthusiasm. It is not easy, some days it isn't always rewarding, and worst of all, sometimes you get it wrong and never understand why. My hope is that FTG standards are seen as helpful guidance, a framework, to help improve the overall hospitality experience of guests and staff alike without dictating specifically how any one property should execute its own guest experience, as that is very personal.

 People on Stage at Forbes Event

Can you highlight some of the key factors that contribute to a property receiving a Forbes Travel Guide Star Award?

Consistency is key. We say this all the time at FTG, but it can never be overstated. And it is not isolated to being Five-Star, it's critical at any level. The magical ability to deliver consistently no matter your Star Award level, this is the key to guests knowing they are experiencing one of the very best properties in the world. And it is not just the consistency of their SOPs and standards. Their formula is obvious from the outset: They have a harmonious alignment between owner, operator and leadership, and the staff members are clear in what is expected of them. This all fosters a positive unspoken energy, which translates down to the floor and in turn, a strong guest experience. Consistency fosters confidence and when staff and guests alike have confidence in the product, everyone wins.

What role do partnerships with brands like LATHER play in Forbes Travel Guide's efforts to elevate the guest experience and maintain its reputation for excellence?

As we continue to build and grow our community of experts at FTG, looking not only within at the incredible wealth of talent in our own team and that of the tremendous insights we receive from our Standards Advisory Committee, it was only natural we would develop a strategy to work more closely with some of the best luxury brands. Our Brand Official program began almost 10 years ago when we knew we wanted to inspire and elevate opportunities to work more closely with more like-minded influencers in our space. We don't just work with any brands, though; becoming a Brand Official is by invitation. When I learned of Emilie’s story I was not only intrigued by her authenticity and extraordinary entrepreneurship but LATHER’s commitment to modern-day luxuries such as well-being and sustainability without compromising traditional luxury.

2 women at event posing in front of a brand set on bathtub. 

How do you see the luxury hospitality industry evolving in the coming years, and how does Forbes Travel Guide adapt to these changes? 

I think the real wins for everyone who touches the guest experience come in any business from strategic partnerships. Great partnerships are born out of a common goal, because when there is a genuine desire to continue to elevate and inspire, only good things can happen. While there will always be the staples that are the framework of traditional luxury hospitality—be courteous, be thoughtful, smile—I think we will continue to see the cultural shift evolve. It has already begun with a focus on living longer, happier and more healthy lives. In 10 years from now, the conversations we are having today will be reflected in new designs and architecture, new ways to meet and engage, new ways to relax, and I think the hospitality industry will evolve to be more flexible and appealing. Today, it is still a fairly uncommon concept that a hospitality business has a chief of well-being or health to champion these efforts. I think that role will eventually become equally critical as we see a CFO or CEO, because of the shift we see already on what employees value the most: their health and happiness.

What advice would you give to young professionals aspiring to leadership roles in the hospitality or business sectors?

If you are doing what you are passionate about, you will rise naturally in whatever sector you choose because those opportunities will present themselves to you. The key is to have your eyes open to seize those moments. I think as with most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Luxury hospitality is more than a job, it's a lifestyle—but it's not for the faint of heart. While on the surface it can look very glamorous, it's deceivingly tough. But if you can pick yourself up when things do get tough, brush it off and move forward, you will come out on top.

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