Home' Hotel Management : HM AUG 2015 Contents • EXTRA ELEMENTS: The QT in Sydney has a barber shop and a
screening room, the Miami Beach Edition has a bowling alley and mini
ice rink and at the Hotel El Ganzo at Los Cabos in Mexico, there’s a
recording studio and guest artist sessions are played on the hotel’s TVs.
It’s these extra special elements that are making hotels unique and
giving them a true x-factor.
This new breed of hotels is encouraging owners and developers to get even
more creative and the result is properties that carry an individual personality.
“Everyone needs to have some form of ‘local’ and not copy other
experiences,” Pomeranc said.
He said it’s not simply about a booming nightclub, designer restaurant
or cabana-laden rooftop pool.
“It’s important to remember people create cool,” he said. “ There’s an
opportunity to fill in the ‘why’ rather than the ‘who’ and the ‘where’.
“And this is where a lot of brands are falling short,” Pomeranc said.
Edition Hotels’ Vice President of Brand Experience, Ben Pundole,
said having the right crowd engaging with your brand was of significant
importance – and it’s not simply a case of hundreds of thousands of followers.
“ We need to make sure we have the right people in the right places
talking about us,” he said. “If someone has a lot of followers it’s not
necessarily right for your brand.”
Virgin Hotels’ first property recently debuted in Chicago and the
company ’s CEO, Raul Leal, said the company was careful to refine its
offering before launching into the creative space.
“ There are a lot of pretenders out there [in the lifestyle hotel space],”
he said. “Properties need to be curated every step of the way.”
Leal said it was the staff behind the scenes that were the keys to
“Sometimes standard operating procedures aren’t worth the paper they
are written on... staff need to put themselves in the customers’ shoes in
their own way,” he said.
“If a guest asks them to sing and dance to their favourite song in the
middle of the lobby, then that ’s what they need to do.”
Salt Hotels’ founder and formerly Morgans Hotel Group’s head of
Europe, David Dowd, said it is imperative hotels are designed to fit in to
“Guests are looking for a design that is totally appropriate for the local
area,” he said. “You need to be very true to the location and hotels need to
have a design that allows guests to feel they ’re in the location that they are in.
Dowd recently founded Salt, which is a burgeoning collection of
boutique properties in the Easten United States (Provincetown and
Shelter Island) that Dowd said “redefine the concept of a classic bed and
breakfast with a fresh, contemporary approach”.
He said the concept of the boutique hotel in the 1980s, when he
started in the industry, hasn’t changed dramatically.
“Boutique hotels were not about the size [of the property], but the
experience,” he said. “Nowadays it’s about the guest and what they are
Leal said the vision for Virgin Hotels was along those lines.
“It’s about comfortable rooms opposed to a bar with a hotel attached,”
he said. “And locally curated artworks.”
Commune Hotels’ CEO, Niki Leondakis, said hotels also need to
look at their value proposition.
“It’s going above and beyond and creating a unique experience for
the guest,” she said. “But people will stay at something more unique and
original that ’s also good value for price.”
Ace Hotels President, Brad Wilson, said guests want an experience
that ’s also a neighbourhood integration, something the company does
“ We’re independent and we’re changemakers,” he said. “Every
property is an opportunity to evolve. Each step in the growth is a new
opportunity for discovery and if you’re a creative force then you need to
be creating.” ■
“Sometimes standard operating procedures aren’t
worth the paper they are written on... staff need to put
themselves in the customers’ shoes in their own way.”
Virgin Hotels CEO, Raul Leal
HM flew to Miami with United Airlines, which flies three times daily from
Australia (Melbourne and Sydney) to Los Angeles and onwards to Miami.
HM recommends flying in Business Class, which features flatbed seats,
inflight WiFi, premium Australian and American wines, hundreds of hours of
entertainment on demand and excellent service. Visit www.united.com
The Miami Beach Edition’s bowling alley
LE Miami delegates in
trademark pink sunnies
In the LE Miami ideas lab
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