Below are some of the key points and comments from the breakout discussion that took place at yesterday’s Lifestyle & Boutique Hotel Development Conference in Miami. Many topics were covered and provided interesting insight into the on-going and topical discussion regarding what is a boutique and a lifestyle hotel.
We’d welcome your own personal views and comments on this very topical debate, so please feel free to post them!
The headline points were:
– Branded environments are becoming more restrictive.
– It may come down to numbers.
– Guests want experiences, which is why boutique & lifestyle properties succeed.
And here are some of the key comments:
Steve Brandman, Co-owner Thompson Hotels: “ We find that many times the owner has an idea in his head of what he wants in this building. We work with owners that have emotions and who have a vested interest in the building. Thompson has an intimate relationship with owners; we’re there for them and with them every step of the way. We’re more passionate about boutique & lifestyle properties and don’t put the Thompson name on a property unless it fits; this on assets we own which could or could not hang another brand on the door; it’s our decision. You pay for it if you’re going with a bigger brand.”
Steve Miller: “Wyndham brings cash and muscle to a deal with an owner and helps ward off the wolves from their door; bringing their dreams to reality. As it relates to points, Wyndham now has a place to use earned points; loyalty is a good thing right now as clients use them in our more upgraded products.”
Brian Quinn, Hotel Indigo: “Owners have pride and excitement and channel it through the Indigo brand. Powers of branding are pretty clear. Over 70% of the guests come through channels we own. You want faith, ramp up security, then you want us. In hyper urban communities, you can do better unbranded.”
Concerning Loyalty Programs. Steve Thompson does not use points. Their properties run 90% occupancy in New York; so they don’t need them. “It’s about our customer and what niche client is our client. Points have a cost, just like branding does. This has not been an issue for their type of customer; they have amazing restaurants and bars that our clients want to come to and points have nothing to do with it. Our customer median age is over 43; they want experience and choose this over points.”