Travellers searching for authenticity and experiential travel is driving a massive demand and growth in boutique hotels. They want hotels to be part of their experience at the destination.
This calls for authenticity and personalisation to a far higher degree than that typically offered by a hotel chain. It also calls for some consistency and alignment working with the sharing economy.
So what makes a boutique hotel?
Size matters – authenticity and personalised services that contribute to experiential travel cannot be created en-masse. The number of rooms is usually in the 20 to 80 range. Fewer than 20 and it becomes harder to market and promote. Higher than 80 makes it a slightly routine experience.
Authenticity – No two boutique hotels are alike. Whether a hotel is independent or part of a larger hotel company, it impresses with an independent approach and a quirky but effective way of meeting traveller expectations.
Contemporary – Boutique hotels do not always have to be modern, but they do need to reflect contemporary design, thinking and approach. Thoughtful and stylish interior design with excellent rooms that cater to the modern traveller are critical.
Local experience and flavour – Hotels which are able to incorporate local culture and ethnic vibes into a customer’s stay will stand out by conveying a strong sense of place and pride in its location’s heritage.
High-quality food – This is an often underlooked aspect. Great food contributes to the overall experience and drives reputation. It does not have to mistaken with a Michelin star experience; however, the authenticity of the food, personalised service and presentation style is a key element.
Connected stay experience – One of the biggest pain points for larger hotels is the rather disconnected experience that guests receive. So they may have a great welcome on arrival but the dining experience may not match. Boutique hotels need to and can offer a seamless experience for their guests by carefully planning and connecting each element of a guest stay.
People – Happy people make happy customers. Owners of boutique hotels need to provide a great workplace so that their team can deliver authentic, seamless and happy experiences.