What would be the top 3 biggest trends in hospitality?
The biggest and most influential factor for the near future is sustainability. It is often mistaken as only the ecological impact. In our industry it is just as much about social attitude. We have to be good companies or brands to attract good people – both in front and behind the counter. The second trend I would like to mention to do with the experiences we had over the last 18 months. Let’s call it the neighborhood thing. We have become a lot more interested in our direct neighborhood and, when travelling, are interested not only in the place we stay, but also in its surroundings. One more? Maybe I want to add transparency to the list. We live in times of fast and (so called) social media. Don’t f**k the customer. They have long stopped falling for our marketing stories.
How has the definition of desirability changed? To what extent a certain brand can achieve and maintain a WOW factor?
Desirability has become something very individual and personal. There are no one-fits-all wow factors anymore. This makes it more difficult to create brand experiences. At the same time it is more rewarding if the WOW is achieved.
Which are the key pillars which define consistency in a hotel brand?
This is very much depending on the brand values and promises. Apart from the magic three – friendliness, cleanliness and safety – a hotel brand can be built on virtually any pillar. But once communicated the pilar, remember the transparency trend – better be consistent.
What about relevance? And how does relevance of a certain concept change in time?
Compared to the 90ies and millennial years, I see a lot more quality and timelessness on the hotel but also restaurant & bar market. I have a feeling that things are not so try-hard-fashionable anymore and therefore longer relevant. But then again, I am Gen X, a Gen Alpha might strongly disagree and question the relevance of what I do and say.
How has the pandemic changed (if in any way) the perception of lifestyle / premium / upscale / luxury when it comes to hospitality?
The importance of segmentation according to price has been deteriorating long before the pandemic. What we see now: people travel less and investigate more into their routes, destinations, methods of transport and accommodation. This gives a slight advantage to more individual, boutique and lifestyle brands.
Some argue that the success of a luxury hotel brand is very much reliant on both operating and owning the assets of the property. What is your view?
I live in Switzerland where still a large part of the luxury hospitality is privately owned and managed. The overall quality I experience would prove your point. On the other hand, some chain brands have become real game changers in this segment. I will not drop names now – but it’s usually the ones with smaller portfolio and slower growth.
What are the biggest changes which the Covid-19 pandemic has generate? Which are the challenges still persisting? What about opportunities?
First things first: The pandemic as such has not generated changes in our industry. The travel restrictions and other regulations have. Don’t misunderstand me, I fully understand that by limiting and complicating travelling, we also hinder a virus from spreading. But we are now in a situation – at least in the European areas I represent – where we know how to handle the virus but have unlearned how to travel. It will take some time until the volume and fun is back.
How do you scale expectations when it comes to the balance between product and service?
The product one markets is always a mix of hardware and service. One cannot do without the other. But then again it’s a question of messaging and brand promises. Looking at my to brand babies I have 2 good examples: Both 25hours Hotels and TRIBE have a certain emphasis on the hardware and want to deliver best of class. When it comes to service, 25hours is more inspired by re-thinking luxury service while TRIBE focusses on the functionality and the necessary. Both is successful.
What are your company’s short to mid term priorities? Tell us more about the two brands you are now overseeing?
I am not in the position to comment on the global strategies of Ennismore. This is all very new for all of us. For me personally and for the 25hours team I can definitely say that the short term priorities are continuity of business and the integration with all the new colleagues from around the globe. It’s super exciting but also confusing at times. It feels like a start-up, even if it’s far from it.
The two brands I work on could not be more different but still, both 25hours and TRIBE, are very lifestyle. 25hours is an elaborate and quirky neighbourhood brand with lots of local connections and long grown cooperations. TRIBE is a more polished design edit with focus on functionality. It’s for everyone, every day.
Within the Ennismore collective, 25hours is currently one of the larger brands with 12 hotels in operation including a brand new property in Florence, TRIBE is still small and just about to start the roll-out. There are three hotels up and running in Paris, Carcassonne and Perth. In less then two years, the roles could change, as TRIBE has an extensive pipeline ahead while 25hours will need more time to grow. The next exiting opening is 25hours Hotel One Central in Dubai in December 2021.
Tell us more about the business model? Are you targeting certain destinations?
25hours Hotels are operated under management contracts, the usual model for TRIBE is franchise. I said earlier, TRIBE is for everyone, every day. I would of course not say, it can be everywhere, but the brand attitude is universal and adaptable to many locations. Given the fact that 25hours cannot grow as fast as TRIBE, we are a bit more picky when it comes to that brand. A 25hours destination needs a certain relevance within a culturally interested crowd. If I had three free destination wishes, I would love to see a 25hours Hotel in Tokyo, a TRIBE in the Middle East and both brands in New York.
More from LEADERS
Jordan’s steady recovery – Sebastien Mariette, Area General Manager Levant at Kempinski Hotels (Exclusive Interview)
CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed Sebastien Mariette, General Manager Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea & Area General Manager Levant Kempinski Hotels How …
Dubai is back! Why did you choose Dubai and what makes the Shangri-La in Dubai the ideal choice to experience …
Behind the continued success of Anantara the Palm, with James Hewitson, General Manager (Exclusive Interview)
Dubai is back ! Why Dubai and why the Anantara The Palm Resort as the ideal choice to stay and …