Brand Disruptors, the New Normal
By Trish Donnally Regional PR Director, Gensler | September 09, 2018
We live in disruptive times-and not just in terms of politics, trade and the economy. Things are being turned upside down and inside out, even in the world of hospitality. "Shake it up, stir it 'round," seems to be the motto for brand disruptors who are challenging the status quo.
"All the brands are trying to disrupt each other," said Steven Upchurch, Managing Director/Principal and a Firmwide Practice Area Leader in Hospitality at Gensler.
What's causing this? Lots of factors. Non-hospitality firms tossing their hats into the ring. Think Baccarat, Karl Lagerfeld and CuisinArt. The sharing economy. Think Airbnb and its upstart emulators. Another disruptor is the emergence of the "boutique hostel," which provides social culture and innovative design at affordable prices. Consider Marriott's Moxy, Hilton Worldwide's Tru and AccorHotel's Jo&Joe brands. Hotel mergers are also causing upheavals. Think Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. And the rise of uber-personalized, micro-boutique hotels - such as The Pioneer Woman's Boarding House and Hotel San Cristóbal are part of the mix.
Hotel accommodations these days had better have verve. Whether that manifests itself as an unforgettable experience, an Instagrammable environment or an authentic sense of place, the hospitality industry is experiencing a sea change. Free, fast Wi-Fi is a given. Smaller guestrooms and larger lobbies are a trend. Brand disruptors have hutzpah and are creating hotel hybrids and new configurations, starting from the top.
Fashionable Brands Extend Their Reach
"The new Baccarat hotels are disrupting luxury markets. They're creating something that immerses someone in the product. They're taking crystal into architecture. Someone who might have stayed at and appreciates the luxury of the Ritz-Carlton, but loves crystal, may prefer to stay at a Baccarat hotel," Upchurch said. The Baccarat Hotel in Manhattan, a Forbes Five-Star Hotel designed by Gilles & Boissier, was meant to emulate "private Parisian pied-à-terre living in the heart of New York City," according to the website. Recognized among the Best Hotels in the World by Conde Nast Traveler (CNT), named to the 2018 CNT Gold List and offering "the World's Most Extravagant Afternoon Tea," according to the Robb Report, Baccarat takes the luxury hotel to a whole new level. Who expected a revered French company, founded in 1764 and renowned for its fine jewelry and exquisite gifts, to enter the hospitality arena?
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