Rosebuds Blog

The next big thing for the hotel business

January 05, 2011

Big changes in the hotel business started many years ago. Travelers wanted something more interesting, more personal, more stylized.

That brought about the rise of boutique hotels, as embodied by properties like The Rose Hotel and those operated by the Kimpton and Joie de Virve hotel groups.

Now the trend is toward the “lifestyle brand” or “lifestyle hotel” – a niche within the boutique niche. And it’s a hot trend.

Let’s first be clear about what a lifestyle hotel is. They are hotels that focus on a specific experience, style or image, rather than simply functionality. All hotels have rooms and beds and a garrison of pillows to bury oneself under for a night of sleep. Many have room service. In the end, what actually differentiates them?

A lifestyle brand might appeal to a person with artistic sensibilities, or adventure in their blood, or those who fancy a certain era or motif.

In the case of The Rose Hotel, our brand is small, personal, European-style lodging.

Those who frequent the lifestyle hotels are the more discriminating travelers. Demographically they tend to be business people who travel often and are between the ages of 30 and 45. They are looking for a heightened lodging experience, not just a room with a bed, table and lamp.

This isn’t just a U.S. trend, it’s global. Lifestyle brands are popping up in places as far flung as the Gulf States of the Middle East.

There are reports on this trend from firms such as Deloitte, the accounting and consulting giant. Deloitte reports rapid growth of lifestyle hotels during the past five years.

Major hotel chains have entered the fray. The bigs decided some time ago they weren’t going to simply cede territory and market share to boutique hotel operators. To compete on that footing Starwood created the W Hotels and Aloft brands, Hilton introduced Denizen, and Marriott rolled out its Edition properties.

Simon Wan, CEO and managing director of StayWell Hospitality Group, was quoted about this lifestyle hotel trend in the publication Gulf News. “More people are opting for lifestyle, boutique hotels that are smaller and more personal, of maybe 100 rooms,” Wan said. “In the next five to 10 years you will see a lot of these hotels come up that bring a more personalized service.”

We at The Rose welcome this trend and are glad to be out in front of it.

Written by Mike Consol

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