Boutique Hotel Trends 2011

By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | February 06, 2011

Another year for hotels has passed where little has happened in terms of the economy, but a lot has evolved in the spheres of marketing, communication, and the world of social media. Much has been learned during this time, and 2010 marked the year of digital media in hospitality. While the industry was fairly late in adopting social media, hotels thankfully realized its potential and caught up relatively quickly. While I am unsure of specific numbers and statistics, hotels keep joining Facebook and Twitter everyday. And as they learn how to feed these monsters the right information that can make a difference in the guest experience, it's important to keep in mind what trends are forming as the economy picks up, albeit at a slow pace.

Rethink marketing completely

With the economy as it has been the past two years, hotels will need to not only prioritize in terms of marketing strategy, but also implement creative tactics. Guests are inundated with promotions and information everywhere these days – from Sunday paper to last minute specials via text - and rethinking your marketing approach will be key. Hotel marketing is currently shifting dramatically; many components affect this change and its important to hire professionals to get your property's brand ahead.

Digital crowd-sourcing may not work for you

We've all seen the hype about Foursquare and Gowalla, currently the two giants in the geosocial market. There are hotels who are embracing digital crowd sourcing via promotions (i.e., check in via Foursquare and get a free spa treatment, etc.) Large hotel chains have started some promotions, but we're not sure where this is going. While digital crowd sourcing has excellent marketing potential, such as competing for mayorship at a property, it has some serious drawbacks like privacy and security that keep the lines a bit blurred right now. It makes more sense to study your existing digital media channels and how well those are working for you before leaping into something completely new.

Embrace hyperlocal on a global scale

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.