How can boutique hotels cater to the desires of today’s travelers?
What We Did
One way that boutique hotels often become neighborhood fixtures is through repurposing of old iconic buildings. Whether within an old theater, factory, or apartment building, a hotel that operates inside a historic landmark creates a unique sense of place and authenticity. These hotels also often strive for a residential look-and-feel, with design schemes and decor varying among rooms. In line with the growing popularity of Airbnb, these hotels make guests feel as if they have their very own apartment in the neighborhood, not just a hotel room.
The inclusion of social and community spaces in the building is also a key strategy, with the ultimate goal of creating a place where locals, not just travelers, want to be. Many hotels work with artists, designers, and chefs to integrate custom features into their design and experience—whether an art piece or a menu inspired by regional cuisine. And to entice the locals to visit, these hotels focus on creating a sense of community with vibrant social experiences, serving as ideal hangout spots for their neighborhoods, and mixing visitors and regulars for a feeling that’s more neighborhood coffee shop than hotel lobby.
What This Means
Experience-based lodging. In exchange for smaller rooms, these properties will cater to younger, more active travelers with larger, well-designed common areas and events within the hotel to encourage interaction and socializing among guests.
Unique services.Many boutique hotels may be too small to deliver the services of a traditional four- or five-star property. Instead, they can compete with unexpected services, often delivered via staff who wear multiple hats to keep costs down.
Beyond eclectic.Boutique hotels have achieved success by forgoing generic travel experiences in favor of contemporary, eclectic design elements. Maintaining a unique nature in a market increasingly filled with properties billing a one-of-a-kind experience will be the key challenge for the boutiques of the future.
Tom Ito, Darlene Urgola Brown, Stephanie Oca, Noga Smerkowitz, Carolina Tombolesi, Elizabeth Wendell, Kelly Wong