Brian Williams, Managing Director of Swire Hotels has recently spoken to CPP-LUXURY.COM about the success of ‘The House Collective”, one of the finest global luxury hotel projects.
What motivated the launch of ‘The House Collective’ brand?
Our goal was to create a series of highly individualized hotels which house a range of dynamic restaurants and uniquely designed facilities for seasoned travelers who seek a different, intimate and personalized experience in luxury travel. The House Collective is a group of refined, highly individual hotels that defy comparison. The Upper House, The Opposite House and The Temple House have their own distinctive character and sense of style in which each of the hotels is a sophisticated, singular piece of design, created by talented architects and designers, that enjoy a sense of place by reflecting the unique qualities of their surroundings.
The House Collective appeals to individual travellers who want a very personal experience and very big attention to detail. We are positioned to be a small-scale unique hotel experience. All of these properties are small-scale luxury hotels designed for clients who seek individualized luxury.
They are more than hotels, they are a place for inspiration, a place for creativity, a place for ideas.
Each of your existing properties is highly individual. What unites them from a DNA point of view?
We collaborate with talented architects and designers to create contrasting, boldly different hotels at each location. However, every House shares the same philosophy – impeccable modern luxury with warm, friendly and efficient service. Individuality and spontaneity are at the very heart of everything we do.
Experience the Houses tells the story of three individuals as they journey through the hotels in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chengdu. Though not together they are connected through their experiences of the hotels and the cities they are in.
A hotel may be the world’s tallest, or most expensive, or perhaps even the most beautiful, but if it does not connect with the guest on a personal level, it can never be considered great.
The House Collective is also well known for the independent restaurants, bars and lounges that add so much energy to our hotels.
How does The House Collective relate to luxury lifestyle?
The House Collective is a collection of small luxury boutique hotels providing a characterful experience for travellers who seek individuality, style and personalized service. We are smaller scale in the luxury market. Now people want more exclusivity in terms of luxury lifestyle.
We believed there was a discerning group of customers searching for something luxurious but different, unique and intriguing. What we’ve done with the House hotels is a sort of miniaturization, so there are not many rooms, and the restaurants are in tune with the local market. It means that if you are one of our guests you’re not staying with a whole bunch of other travellers but instead you are delving into the lifestyle scene of that city.
What is the profile of your most loyal guest?
We appeal to well-travelled, independently minded people who are on the lookout for adventurous, stimulating and unpredictable experiences that offer both depth and authenticity.
How would you define the importance of digital in shaping your brand?
People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, tablets and desktops etc. It gets information to our target audience faster, making our brand more accessible and user-friendly. We are extremely active on social media platforms for example Facebook, Instagram and Weibo, interacting with our followers on a daily basis.
We are also very committed to being a sustainable and socially responsible hotel group, making a positive difference to the environment by remaining as paperless as possible, such as digitizing the Check-in/out process, replacing the printed hotel directories in every room with iPad or iPod.
What is your present business operations model? – ownership and operations versus third party management
We are not seeking for traditional third party management model. As opposed to other brands, we own, develop and operate our hotels.
Do you see an opportunity in partnering with other luxury sectors? i.e. First Class of airlines, luxury fashion etc.
Absolutely. We have already done a few collaborations with international luxury brands such as The Upper House’s partnership with Harvey Nichols and Net-A-Porter.com to offer exclusive room packages and shopping experiences to guests. Also, The Opposite House’s inflight menu collaboration with Dragonair for passengers travelling in the First and Business Classes last year. Recently, The Upper House has launched a collaboration with the renowned French luxury fashion house, Christian Louboutin, to offer exclusive room package to guests.
We very much look forward to collaborating with more upscale brands in the luxury sector where we have a large synergy to offer guests a journey full of surprising and memorable experiences.
What are you current expansion plans? Which countries / region do you predominantly target?
We focus our current expansion plan in Greater China and Miami. We recently opened The Temple House in Chengdu and EAST Miami will be coming up in Winter 2015 as the first property in the United States as well as the third hotel under the EAST brand.
For us it is not a matter of how many hotels we open, it is how well we open. I’m confident it will be successful and we’ll look at other opportunities after that.
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