The hospitality industry is still the most dynamic segment of the luxury industry, continuously adapting to the needs of consumers everywhere. Innovation and quality of service is essential to any luxury hotel’s strategy, be it boutique or belonging to an international chain.
During the last five years, the luxury hotel chains have intensely counteracted the competition coming from the boutique hotels. Fights were taken over the segment represented by luxury apartments, as select travellers usually preferred the suites in the boutique hotels. Apparently things are on the brink of change, as boutique hotels recently entered in a cone of shadow and started to lose the “war”.
Having superior financial power, the international hotel chains have the opportunity to exercise change more quickly and introduce new goods and services at a faster rate, even if this means modifying the hotel structurally and operationally. This means the introduction of more comfortable beds, aromatherapy, home entertainment, organic concepts at the mini bar as well as in room service, increasing humidity in the air, salts and mud baths, fresh flowers every day. Through this, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Taj, Ritz Carlton and Dorchester recreate the atmosphere found at home. The emphasis falls on comfort and well-being. Also, during the last two years Mandarin Oriental has successfully introduced the butler service for standard rooms, in the form of a floor manager, available 24/24 for almost any kind of solicitation. These hotels have also realized how important it is to renovate and update the hotels technologically, once in three or four years.
Discerning clientele has started to notice these differences. Boutique hotels feel the need for these improvements, but most of them cannot sustain the same investments and at the same pace as the chain hotels. Boutique hotels are forced to fight on their own terms, meaning they’ll keep superior personalized services, individual inside decorations for the rooms and quality for the restoration services.
It is obvious that there’ll always be a market for boutique hotels but the only one that will survive are the ones that will adapt faster to these new challenges.
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