A Boutique Hotel Cannot Afford An ‘Almost Experience’.
When you think of a boutique hotel, what exactly springs to mind?
- Jetting off for a romantic weekend in a trendy corner of NYC, or Cape Town, Berlin, or London?
- maybe sipping sundowners by your own private pool, looking out on the city skyline?
- or seeking the meaning of life, and challenging your own culture in your very own hometown?
For sure, you are not thinking about any kind of standard vacation-based activity.
The boutique space is where dreams, expectation and reality align, providing the guest with the über-experience, guaranteed.
Boutique and lifestyle offerings have been carefully curated to attract demand from specific millenials and style-conscious travellers. Price-conscious travellers will have a hard time here – even budget luxury does not fit in to the concept; as this is the real deal.
If you want to ooze luxury, feel special, and optionally hang out with the A-Listers, then you will be staying at boutique hotels more often than not.
That’s the general idea behind the business model: combine opulence with individual taste, the highest quality and a seamless, five-star service, all in a luxurious and sometimes quirky setting, and you’re set to go. But then again, thank God, it’s not actually quite as easy as that to do properly – or everyone would be doing it – what a ghastly thought!
“With a restaurant, you need hope and a dream and a credit card. In hospitality it’s a significant capital investment, so it’s a much slower process
– Ben Weprin, CEO Graduate Hotels / NYT Interview
But you still do need that dream.
Additionally, to be successful, you also need powerful visionaries, who along with their proven business backgrounds and life experience, can really get behind the task in hand, keeping it on track.
According to JF Capital Advisors, trust-fund and private equity has been making significant investments in this independent hotel space over the last seven years. The real significance in these figures, to me, shows that investment in the branded hotel space is not as popular as for the independents. Even more interestingly, the “price per key” paid for these investments is also significantly higher for the independents, as this article from the Boutique Hotel Investment Conference 2016 shows.
A higher spend, done correctly, can only mean a higher investment in quality.
Quality that the boutique hotel guest feels – and demands.
To sum up: the greater flexibilty in both the design and the management of these very select lifestyle spaces allows for a higher operating margin, which in turn makes the boutique hotel a very real investment choice for those operators having the perfect teams in place.
And it’s no big surpise to learn that this modern team is not only made up of the investors, core management and site staff, but also – increasingly – the technology suppliers entrusted with the vital ongoing task of the property and guest management itself.
As, according to a survey conducted by the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association, some 59% of independent hotelliers say bookings come mostly over the hotel’s own website or via the phone, with an additional 18% via the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). All of this activity has to be mastered from the get-go, reaffirming the bespoke experience that the luxury independent is trying so hard to perfect.
There is zero tolerance here for “almost” or “nearly-rans”.
Only when the technological – or digital – experience, truly matches that of the physical one, can we begin to speak of a successful partnership. While it is true to say that the guest-experience makes or breaks the deal in any hotel type, it is especially acute in this luxury segment.
This is why we, at protel, are especially proud of the collaboration with The Exhibitionist Hotel, South Kensington – the luxury boutique hotel in London. Described as “a monochrome canvas for cool artists and trendy designers to splash with extraordinary works”, guests are invited to curate their own experience, from the scent in their room to a choice of private pools and secret balconies.
We are delighted to welcome The Exhibitionist Hotel to the #protelfamily.
Our partner, Xn protel Systems, were chosen specifically to supply the technology “because of their track record in the London boutique market” – as stated by Manhad Narula, the founder of The Exhibitionist Hotel.
Read on for the full story, over on the Xn protel website.
Jeremy Armes runs protel hotelsoftware’s marketing department.
He regularly demands cool beers and internet access, as well as great ideas for shaping positive user experiences.
He firmly believes in the power of change!