Boutique Hotels: Quality Before Quantity

By Vladik Rikhter

The reason why the smartphone selfie-stick was invented is the same reason why more boutique hotels are popping up across the nation. The hospitality industry is all about having a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience. It’s the age of Facebook and Instagram where consumers basically say, “Look at me and this cool hotel where I’m staying!”

According to Best Western CEO David Kong, the Internet has driven people to more niches, and everything is more segmented. “Our six brands are actually six different needs,” Kong told the Associated Press.

A boutique hotel may appeal to young travelers aged 18 to 34 who prefer unique designs and décor; more affluent guests who are willing to pay more for special amenities; and business travelers.

Some typical boutique hotel amenities include:

  • beer/wine happy hour
  • cookies in the lobby at night
  • guest pantry with coffee and tea
  • concierge
  • breakfast buffet
  • plush bedding
  • state-of-the-art fitness center
  • club or lounge
  • shoe shine

A boutique hotel doesn’t need to be the Versailles of architecture to still offer amenities that are a notch above your standard hotel.

Maintaining a Consistent Brand

Did You Know? The world’s 10 largest hotel chains offer a combined 113 brands, and 31 of these brands didn’t exist 10 years ago.;

– Associated Press report, April 2015

Opening a boutique hotel can require a lot of investment, so that’s why many major hotel chains are in this segment of the industry. While boutique hotels allow for a good amount of creativity while building, renovating or decorating, the management, staff and overall quality of a guest’s stay must meet – and preferably exceed — the brand’s overall standards.

See Also: How Hotel Night Auditors Should Spend Their Time

Currently, there are almost 129,000 hotel rooms under construction, up 32 percent from last year, with more than 306,000 rooms in development stages, the AP reported.

Some experts believe that the boutique hotel market will eventually reach saturation. While this remains to be seen, a hotel’s survival depends on its ability to adapt to changing market trends and visitor preferences while delivering consistent quality.

“It’s not a question of how many brands. It is a question of the right brands… We may need more.” Anthony Capuano
Global Chief Development Officer
Marriott

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