The Future of Luxury Boutique Hotels

By Roger G. Hill Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, The Gettys Group Inc. | April 24, 2010

Boutique hotels are a continually evolving segment in the industry. Defying our definitions, boutiques can be historic or modern, adult or family-oriented, heavily themed, or eclectic. Once clearly identified as independent hotels with less than 100 rooms, well-known brands are adopting their characteristics in an attempt to capitalize on growing demand among travelers for a differentiated travel or lifestyle experience.

Likewise, our sense of luxury is constantly changing. A luxury isn't absolutely necessary to survival - but whose standards apply? In the hospitality industry, in-room Wi-Fi, flat screen televisions, and high thread counts are no longer considered luxurious. As technology evolves, guests become savvier, and hotels step up their services, many hoteliers are struggling to stand out in the crowded luxury market.

These forces present both a challenge and an opportunity for luxury boutique hotels. On one hand, they are faced with innovative competitors and always-increasing standards of service, design, and amenities. But on the other, they encourage experimentation, being bold and setting new standards of excellence.

It's all too easy for hoteliers to fall back on tried-and-true formulas in designing the next crop of boutique hotels. Today's formula is working, as evidenced by the growing popularity of boutiques. However, the segment's hallmarks are innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. As we move into the future, boutique owners need to embrace the same fresh thinking that earned boutiques their reputation 20 years ago.

Inspiration can come from virtually anywhere - if you know where to find it.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.