President of Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts, Alexander Schneider recently confirmed that the division is on track to achieve its strategic vision, which includes doubling the hotels and resorts portfolio by 2022. In an exclusive interview with CPP-LUXURY.COM he shares insights on how the family owned company has built a coherent and most desirable luxury hotel brands.
How would you define the DNA of Nikki Beach Resorts & Clubs brand?
When our beach club business started 20 years ago, we changed the way people party all around the world and we’re still “Celebrating Life” this way with our guests each and every day.
Whether we’re welcoming celebrity guests, locals, tourists or jet setters, we make sure that everybody feels special. We have six pillars of marketing; these are Nikki Beach’s signature elements: music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film and art. By combining these six elements, Nikki Beach creates its magic. Each one of these elements is present daily in the way we run our business at all of our locations. It keeps our guests coming back for more.
The Nikki Beach lifestyle DNA is embedded in every hotel property. We are able to cater to a discerning crowd and guests of any mood. This is a differentiating factor for our brand. You can experience any one of the brands 6 elements in a serene resort setting or in a livelier atmosphere.
Nikki Beach is also disrupting the classic hotel brand ecosystem by offering a new experience through lifestyle and food and beverage concepts versus the typical hardware and amenity-driven interpretation of hotel rankings. Our founder Jack Penrod has been successful in this arena his whole life.
Our food and beverage concepts are both profitable and brand shaping. Furthermore, to our successful food and beverage concept, we have expanded our lifestyle appeal through our gym and specialty spa services. We have put a lot of time and energy into these concepts because we understand that a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle is at the forefront of importance to our target group. Our Tone Gym goes beyond the typical hotel fitness arena with a concept that is strong enough to attract local memberships. We have a 360-degree philosophy including coaching, nutritional advice and support, and, of course, gym amenities. This well-rounded concept is enhancing revenues and ensuring that this area of the hotel is utilized during our lower occupancy times.
We also looked more closely at hotel spa concepts and realized that spas are often too small to accommodate enough guests during weekend hours but oversized for weekdays. As a result, our spa business model is heavily directed toward a destination spa and, like our Tone Gym, the concept appeals to local clients. Our spas combine the best of two worlds – an urban day spa and a resort destination spa. We have created a mix of treatments and touch points in the spa journey that allow guests to choose services ranging from a quick fix to a full pampering day. As with every experience at our properties, we give guests choices.
Our fresh spa concept approach has already received regular attention for our hotel portfolio. We’ve also noticed that we’re attracting a high amount of male customers, a new trend within the spa industry. It used to be customary to host about 80% female hotel-spa goers and now the mix is about 50/50.
Which are your competitive advantages?
As mentioned above, most hospitality brands have decided to concentrate on one part of the energy scale, which created a market that provides either party brands or zen-driven products. We believe that our clientele demands choice in ambiances and energy levels. Secondly, the hospitality world has lost its connection to food and beverage. Many brands sublet their restaurants to secondary operators in order to avoid failure. This can be a good choice in isolated cases, but it will always create a disconnection in the guest experience. Hence, we are proud to create our own concepts under our brand umbrella, which has led to us having one of the highest f&b revenue shares in the industry.
What is the positioning of Nikki Beach Resorts / Hotels? What is your global comp set?
The latest developments in the hospitality markets have opened up a very interesting field for us. A lot of the smaller to mid-sized brands have joined larger corporate brands, so the competitive fields for more individual and privately-owned brands have narrowed. We’re finding that travelers are looking for more meaningful experiences with brands that aren’t driven by big corporate approaches. We’ve had a global following for the past 20 years, and now our beach club clients are traveling to be a part of our hotels.
We also realized that our clientele wants to see and meet each other. They are like a big family traveling the world and we are there to provide a canvas for them to meet each other. Our brand was built around the message “Tell Only Your Best Friends” and this formula has worked great for us.
We are successful because we are a smaller brand, and big hotels with over 1,000 properties in their portfolio cannot connect with their clients in the same manner we can.
Which is the business model you are employing for your expansion? (manage\ment / franchise)
Our model is management and our management services are extremely competitive due to the fact that the brand already has an international reach. We have also mastered the field of social media and online communication, which provides us with the opportunity to have an instant conversation with our global and loyal client base.
What has been the secret to maintaining desirability of your concept?
We believe that our success is focused on the fact that we’re a personalized lifestyle-driven concept that doesn’t try to please everyone but instead communicates to a specific audience. It’s about creating brand loyalist relationships and nurturing those. It’s more important to speak directly to a group of Nikki Beach loyalists who have experienced our brand and fallen in love with us versus targeting everyone. The one-size-fits-all concept is worn out.
Besides an impeccable product, a successful project is inherently depending on consistent high standards of service. Tell us more about your approach to recruiting and nurturing talent.
We work with a very strong mix of talent that we recruit through our global footprint. Our property in Dubai for example employees people from more than 60 nationalities. As an aspirational brand, young talent seeks to work with us.
Your resorts / hotels also welcome families with children. How do you manage the mix with guests seeking an active vacation?
Our locations offer so many different points of escape that you can easily find what you’re looking for while on property.
The clubs within your resorts can also be accessed by non-hotel guests. Isn’t this a potential negative impact in the future in maintaining a certain mix of guests?
It’s only a positive. We’ve built such a successful beach club brand over the past twenty years that our name and lifestyle driven concept has made our hotel division a success from launch. Our clients very much overlap across our beach clubs and hotels. We developed an architectural formula that allows for not only a perfect coexistence, but very strong synergies on service, payroll and cost management.
To what extent do you consider expanding with a hotel within hotel concept i.e. taking over a certain number of floors within an established hotel / resort? (i.e. resort or destinations such as Las Vegas)
We think it’s very important that the hotels that we’re managing are only ours. We attract a lifestyle-driven, ultra high net worth crowd looking for unique experiences and a taste for entertainment that also enjoys a bit of tranquility. Our resorts always cater to both: the zen seeker and the more excitable guest. We need to operate the entire property to ensure that our guests have the ability to enjoy a range of experiences on site.
Are there any particular destinations you are targeting for your future expansion? What novelties should we expect from Nikki Beach Worldwide in the near future?
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Montenegro is slated to open in 2021 and Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Sri Lanka in 2023.
We also have a very strong pipeline of new projects that are in the final phase. We see our brand as a global player, however, we only want to go to places where our brand is a good fit. We will always grow more on a linear than exponential note as we are a mid-sized company. We are therefore very much aware that every execution of our brand needs to be extremely cohesive and consistent because our clients have very specific expectations. We want to grow, but in the right way and right places
Most recently, CPP-LUXURY.COM reviewed Nikki Beach Resort & Club Bodrum, positioned as one of the top luxury resorts on the Turkish Riviera.
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