The hotel and lodging sector now offers a wide range of exciting hotel brands as trends and consumer tastes change...we take a look at some recent themes in our article...
From A to Z: Trends & choice in hotel brands
Whether it’s Andaz, Centric, Even, Moxy, Mama Shelter, Virgin, Yotel or Z Hotels, the hotel industry is in a new and exciting phase as it evolves further from its traditional roots. Gone is standardisation and in has come flexibility and choice. The emphasis is on varied experiences targeted at different audiences.
These are the key issues and trends which we predict will continue to be prevalent during 2019:
Location and Market
Some traditional prime locations for hotels (city centre, near commercial businesses) are being replaced by customer centric choices.
As cities expand and older run-down areas become trendy, their character and profile change as do tourist visitor profiles. Lisbon, Dubai and Amsterdam are all examples of cities that have new office, residential, retail and leisure areas.
Owners are (sometimes) choosing new locations outside of the traditional centres of gravity of a city that more closely identify with the aspirations and vibe sought by their target clients and reflect their brand.
Differentiation has become the watchword. An owner or investor will determine the strategy to be adopted and can often achieve this differentiation simply through design or concept but the approach can vary widely as set out below.
In secondary underdeveloped hotel markets outside city centres, the standardised homogenous solution may still remain best and a Holiday Inn, Ibis or Travelodge may suit the bill for a project.
In prime high value locations with good year round demand from mixed markets (e.g. Paris, London, New York) owners have rejected the comfort of a brand to create an individualised offering coupled with a niche or quirky name to stand out from the crowd such as the Ampersand hotel or the initial concept behind the first Hoxton Hotel.
Teaming up with established names in ancillary sectors can also work: at one end of the market easyhotels is a brand extension of the airline, at another, Armani and Bulgari hotels extend the luxury offer.
Newer trends in leisure destinations include taking a ‘theme’ or lifestyle route to clearly position a hotel product. Examples include:
Daddy Long Legs,Art Hotel,Cape Town
Nothing escapes the impact of technology. Owners obviously want to limit payroll costs by introducing technology based solutions allowing guests ‘to help themselves’.e.g. self-service check in via Apps or lobby terminals.
These innovations need to be tailored to individual properties, as implementing them fully may not fit certain clientele for whom a higher service levels remain important.
Encouraging Local Communities
Hotels are opening up to the local community: private space has become public. Newer concepts openly encourage local communities into hotels and blur the boundaries between work, pleasure and lifestyle in a way that would be unthinkable years ago.
These are embodied in concepts such as the US businesses We Work and We Live (‘a new way of living based on community’) that have impacted on the sector and required hospitality brands to adopt similar changes to keep up with the market.
Accor’s Jo & Joe is an example of this trend as is ‘Live Zoku’ in Amsterdam, Holland, where local community events are regularly hosted at the venue and merge with the traditional hospitality offering.
A general trend towards less formality has also affected style of service. Casual has replaced formal out goes the formal uniform and in comes jeans and casual attire.
This simply reflects the differences already experienced by the consumer in many other retail and leisure offerings such as cafes and restaurants.
Design & Construction
Design and construction have seen greater efficiencies as tastes have changed and improved methods have evolved.
Traditional layouts of a reception, front desk and lobby area have been transformed into casual and unstructured open flexible spaces with casual food offerings and plenty of laptop plugs. W Hotels started the trend, but it is widely replicated by major brands including Citizen M, Motel 1 and many others at all levels of the market.
Modular, pod and prefabricated hotel bedroom techniques in the construction processes are more common as epitomised by Bloc Hotels, QBic, Zip,Sleepbox,inBox Capsule and Yotel.
We discussed this trend with the construction specialists of a major brand and its clear that after initial scepticism of modular techniques their benefits of efficiency (time saving) and standardised quality against more traditional methods are increasingly recognised.
Mediocre hotel food and beverage offerings are becoming a thing of the past. To maximise asset value and minimise risk, owners have teamed up with specialist operators and included hotels in mixed use developments incorporating office, retail, sports and leisure space.
Established specialist restaurant partners include the ONE Group, Soho House, Red Rooster and individual high profile chefs such as Marcus Wareing…the Ned hotel in London for example provides nine different restaurant outlets. These involve external specialists.
We have also seen a hotel owner combining a rooms-only operation alongside their own restaurant concept but run as a totally independent business.
Where do we go from here?
We expect these trends to continue.
We look forward to being part of that exciting future.
Arc Consulting Partners is based at the specialist industry advisory firm located in London. Arc assists owners and investors to identify, appraise and maximise the performance of businesses, development and project opportunities in hotels, resorts and hospitality throughout Europe.