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Statement solutions for the hotel bathroom

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Statement solutions for the hotel bathroom

Continuing this month’s theme putting bathrooms under the spotlight, Bisque Radiator’s brand leader, Ellie Sawdy, explains how hotel designers can add statement and personality in the bathroom… 

A stylish bathroom is at the heart of every chic hotel room. There are a number of elements which have become so synonymous with hotel bathroom design – a freestanding tub, a waterfall shower, marble surfaces and, of course, a gorgeous bathroom towel rail. After all, where else do you plan to dry your towels after a long day in the spa?

Often overlooked in interior design, towel radiators are a key element of glamorous bathrooms. If you have the space, try placing two either side of the bath or basin to create an uber-luxurious effect. For smaller bathrooms, try a tall, slim towel rad that will save valuable wall space.

Here at Bisque we offer a wide selection of towel rails to suit all bathroom styles. There’s the Chime – always a crowd pleaser – which offers a modern take on the traditional towel rail. With a highly polished finish, it’s perfect for providing that extra-special finishing touch – while its chunky rails make it practical, too. For more traditional hotels, there’s the Classic or Tetro radiators, both available for bathrooms with an additional towel rail attached. We’ve recently introduced our first ever traditional collection, too, comprising three timeless designs – the Buckingham, Balmoral and Osborne – for use in these spaces. Finally there’s the Archibald too – a real design statement for contemporary hotels.

Image credit: Bique Radiators

Colour plays an important part, too. Chrome and brass finishes will never go out of style, but it may be worth considering something a little different, such as a sophisticated matt black, dove grey or anthracite. A monochrome scheme has long been favoured by designers and architects for its ability provide balance in a space – plus the opportunity to add a pop of colour through accessories and brighter accents.

Another consideration may be a bathroom-come-bedroom design. Fast becoming more and more popular, many of the most luxurious hotels are merging these two rooms to create one super open-plan suite. Finally, it’s always worth investing in luxe accessories. Whether it’s the finest Egyptian cotton bedding, gold brassware or miniature toiletries, it’s these little touches which make a big difference.

Ellie Sawdy recently sat down with Hotel Designs’ editor, Hamish Kilburn, to discuss key bathroom trends. Bisque Radiators is one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Main image credit: Bisque Radiators

Editor checks in: February ’19

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It’s in with the new…

This month has been about discovery over on the editorial desk at Hotel Designs HQ. At the beginning of February we opened entries and nominations for our 30 Under 30 initiative, which was the start of our global search for the industry’s rising stars. Make no bones about it, this is Hotel Designs’ pledge to help and really support young designers who are proving themselves to be leaders in the making on the vast international hotel design scene.

“With the aim to do more than just list 30 incredible names, Hotel Designs is also inviting all 40 shortlisted candidates to our Q1 networking event, Meet Up London.”

Whittling down the hundreds of entries and nominations has allowed us to really unearth raw potential and realise that the future of our industry is in good and capable hands. As a 26-year-old design editor myself, I can relate to individuals in our field who deserve to be defined and judged not by their date of birth, but by the work they produce. The time has come to change the perception of young designers form being junior to being superior by showcasing to the world some of the spectacular projects that are being worked on by designers and architects 30 years old or younger.

With the aim to do more than just list 30 incredible names, Hotel Designs is also inviting all 40 shortlisted candidates to our Q1 networking event, Meet Up London, which takes place on March 28 at Minotti London’s fabulous Fitzrovia showroom. There are still tickets available if you would like to join us in bridging the age gap between designers, hoteliers, architects and key-industry suppliers.

If you are a designer, architect or hotelier, please purchase your tickets here
If you are a supplier, please purchase your tickets here. 

February is over almost as soon as it began, but what a month it has been! Marching on, we have some exciting brand news to reveal to you shortly…

Editor, Hotel Designs

How hotels can utilise this year’s bathroom trends

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With the bathroom trends for 2019 well and truly forecasted, interior designer Charlie Willaims from Heritage Bathrooms explains how hotels can inject these into the modern hotel…  

Luxurious, modern bathrooms are right at the top of the wishlist for homeowners right now, with many of these individuals now increasingly expecting to see this design-led approach when they book a hotel stay.

We have taken a look at this year’s five of key trends and how you can incorporate them to ensure your bathrooms remain at the cutting edge.

Mixed metallics

Metallics have been in vogue for a number of years now, and this trend is showing no sign of slowing down. The key to making it work in 2019 will be to vary the use of metals to create a standout look that will impress your guests.

Choose a distinctive metallic bath or statement copper brassware. Also consider using accent textures and shade with a traditional chrome mirror frame like Heritage’s arched mirror for a classic finish.

Biophilia

Pink bath in front of a floral wallpaper

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

For the uninitiated, biophilia involves bringing a little bit of the outside in – creating warm and welcoming spaces combining plants with natural woods and neutral tones.

A key way to bring this into a hotel space is to maximise natural light. Minimise blinds and curtains to allow the sunlight to pour in and then build a bit of colour on top of the neutral tones by adding an array of low-maintenance plants, or some nature inspired wallpaper.

Memphis Design

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

The 1980s is alive again and experiencing a bit of a renaissance thanks to the Memphis Design movement.

It doesn’t need to be difficult to incorporate this trend, which makes the most of primary colours and geometry, in a subtle way. Pair a colourful roll top tub, like the Buckingham from Heritage, with some funky towel designs for a bit of pattern and intrigue.

Colour layering

Layered tiles in the bathroom

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

Bringing a range of colours and shades into a bathroom space can make it feel warm and welcoming, while adding a little bit of interest and intrigue.

Make sure that you include a common thread which ties the room together if you’re going to implement this trend. A good example would be to layer a range of accessories in soft hues on top of a monochrome bathroom suite. This will also enable you to alter your colour scheme according to the different seasons.

Bold black bathrooms

Croc-scaled bath

Image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

Dark shades can help bring a spa-like quality to a bathroom, creating an indulgent, high-end guest experience.

Make a statement by including a dark freestanding bath, such as the hand finished Alderley Croc Skin Effect from Heritage Bathrooms. Pair it with patterned tiles or wallpaper for an elegant finish.

Main image credit: Heritage Bathrooms

Editor checks in: December 2018

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Colouring outside the trendy lines…

The sun is falling on 2018 – and this particular sunset is filtered in a warm, peachy orange glow, also known as Living Coral or Pantone 16-154.

Despite December traditionally being a month of reflection, it’s also a time to sprinkle a hint of optimism on the horizon as the industry turns its head to leading international colour experts to understand next year’s dominant shade predictions.

Dulux settled for Spiced Honey, a versatile hue that signifies warmth, positivity, purpose and transformation. Pantone, on the other hand, divided opinions by opting for Living Coral, a colour that it describes as an “animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge.” Having listened to both sides of the argument as to whether this is just another marketing ploy or something more significant, I have my own opinions. I believe that, regardless of anything, this colour choice has the power to raise much-needed awareness that 60 per cent of the world’s remaining reefs are now at risk of being destroyed by human activity. As far as I am concerned, a shade with that much competence in the wider context is a shade to stay. It wasn’t long before contract companies unveiled their sneak peek into how they are splashing Living Coral into their 2019 products.

“This month, Hotel Designs took its eagle reviewer eyes across borders and into the African wilderness.”

From colour to design in all five continents, one trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon is the timeless look and feel that many luxury hotels strive to achieve while balancing character and personality. This month, Hotel Designs took its eagle reviewer eyes across borders and into the African wilderness to unearth an unassuming luxury hotel in Zimbabwe. Matetsi Victoria Falls is the country’s answer to luxury in the bush. I will never forget the feeling of checking out of technology, checking in with myself and opening my eyes to the great outdoors in all its splendour. Leaving my phone on airplane mode for the duration, I captured one-off moments that will stay with me forever; we even saved an elephant’s life (a detail that was left out of the main review). My conclusion of Matetsi is that it is a hotel that through design evokes one-off experiences, which is the real ‘luxury’ in luxury travel.

As the year closes, and before we start layering peachy orange hues all over our walls and in our furniture, one cannot help but look back on 2018 as one of significant change. It’s been a sheer delight editing our ultimate throwback (part one and part two) to highlight this year’s most game-changing product launches. From Milan to Paris; London to New York and Dubai to Singapore, over the last 12 months, hotel design suppliers have drip-feeded us with inspiring new products that have helped our industry leap into a new era.

Exciting times are ahead of us at Hotel Designs. Optimism has been left hanging in the air since we reached more than half a million readers over the last 11 months, breaking several monthly traffic records along the way. Not only are we debuting new meet-the-buyers events next year (IDAS, HTI, CES), but we are also bringing you more juicy news and features, all of which will be displayed on a newly designed website as we continue to be the leading international hotel design website for designers, hoteliers, architects and key-industry suppliers.

Here’s to 2019!

Editor, Hotel Designs

 

Pantone’s colour of the year divides opinions

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Will Pantone’s peachy orange, sunset-like colour of Living Coral raise awareness of global warming, or is this just another marketing ploy? Hamish Kilburn investigates… 

Earlier last week, colour expert Pantone determined that 2019’s colour of the year will be Living Coral, or Pantone 16-1546. Since then, though, there have been suggestions that the peachy orange shade, which is a clear and defiant move away from this year’s colour of choice, Ultra Violet, has been compared to cheap bridesmaid dresses or budget toilet roll, as well as it being considered as 60 per cent of the world’s remaining reefs are now at risk of being destroyed by human activity.

“While this year’s Ultra Violet shade evoked designers to feel at their boldest, Living Coral has been determined to layer a sense of calmness.”

In the original press release, the company described the colour as an “animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity.”

While this year’s Ultra Violet shade evoked designers to feel at their boldest, Living Coral has been determined to layer a sense of calmness over interiors and expected to juxtapose the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life.

It seems as if the opinion to create a smoother and softer environment is shared by other predictions, such as Dulux which recently announced that its colour of 2019 is a shade called Spiced Honey.

As some argue that one colour cannot resemble the current complex climate, others would argue that this bold marketing move has further raised awareness of one of the worst natural disasters happening in our oceans currently.

What do you think, is the horizon looking peachy orange Living Coral to you? Tweet us with your thoughts using @hoteldesigns 

Main image credit: YouTube/Pantone

 

 

 

7 ways to promote your hotel on social media

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The world of social media is constantly evolving, making it crutial for hotels to stay ahead in the market. Serena Dorf, a content writer from Los Angeles, shares her top tops to help htoels remain competitive in the digital sphere…

In today’s digital era, every business is forced to survive and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace shifts. If ten years ago traditional marketing was king, nowadays, the digital marketing medium seems to be the most pronounced. As a hotel owner, you’ll have to adapt to the current effective marketing practices that can bring you exposure and eventually more bookings.

Social media networks are currently the trendiest way to promote a business online, mostly because it allows brands and customers to communicate directly and to build purposeful relationships that’ll serve both parties for an undefined period of time.

It’s the 21st century – most people regularly use a phone with internet on it and with at least one social media network installed. Some phones even have social networks installed by default, so it’s quite probable that your target audience is present on at least one big social media network.

Doing the simple math, we come to realise that social networks are the best platforms that can be used for hotel promotion. For that reason, we’ll discuss seven simple tips and guidelines that’ll help you effectively promote your hotel on social media.

1. Keep your brand’s voice consistent on social media
Every brand needs to differentiate itself from the rest in one way or another, in fact, that’s what branding means. By developing social media profiles and sharing consistent quality content, you’ll begin shaping your brand’s voice.

For example, Nike is using a motivational voice to inspire athletes, while Dove uses an inspirational approach to help women improve self-esteem. They use social networks to implement this strategy, and they reap amazing benefits in terms of engagement and customers’ loyalty.

As a hotel, you can develop a brand voice (cozy, luxury, affordable, etc) and keep it consistent throughout time. When you share new updates, make sure your visual content and the description of the post are consistent with your hotel’s culture.

2. Arrange contests on various social platforms
You can gain a lot of new customers by encouraging them to enrol in different contests. You can start a user-generated campaign and offer prizes to the most creative submissions. For example, as a hotel, you can encourage all your hosts to take pictures and list the three biggest benefits of staying at your hotel. The best three reviews can win a free week during the holiday season.

Share this contest on your social channels and track your engagement. Learn from the results and replicate the process once you find it suited.

“Hotels can emphasise visual components (beautiful surroundings), their food specialties (a video of a super delicious dish, served professionally at your hotel), or perhaps something else, something original that is worth sharing.”

3. Create viral and shareable content on Facebook and Twitter
When brands go viral, their entire fate changes overnight. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of people will become aware of their existence, so they’ll be reaping traffic benefits for a long time.

Becoming viral is an art. You need to get into the mind of your audience, dig deep and seek their inner desires, and test different approaches until the results are satisfying.

When people share a social media post, they do it because they found it remarkable (worth-of-remark/share). Hotels can emphasise visual components (beautiful surroundings), their food specialties (a video of a super delicious dish, served professionally at your hotel), or perhaps something else, something original that is worth sharing.

The biggest social media networks (and the ones that encourage virality the most) are Facebook and Twitter. Therefore, if you ever were to use paid advertising to increase your odds of getting viral, these should be your first two choices.

4. Offer exclusive content and deals to followers and email subscribers
If your social media followers engage with your page or subscribe to your email list, you can offer exclusive content and discounts to reward the loyalty. By taking this approach, your prospects will be eager to choose your hotel instead of the competitors’ because they’re reaping additional benefits besides the normal booking option.

5. Manage and optimise your social pages consistently
“Social media marketing isn’t a quick result that must be achieved. In fact, it is a journey that keeps going until social networks stop being used (never) or until you have so many bookings that you absolutely need to close your social pages (never). Therefore, your social image remains a constant responsibility,” said the marketing manager at EssayOnTime.

You’ll need to share new updates, answer prospects’ inquiries, respond to positive/negative reviews, and so on. All in all, you’ll need to give the impression that your hotel is active, committed and easily reachable.

6. Leverage Pinterest and Instagram’s benefits by sharing visual content
Hotel marketing is always better if visual content is present. Before a person books, he or she will want to ‘get a feel’ of the place. The best way to help your potential client choose you instead of your competitors is to offer high-quality visual content.

Pinterest and Instagram are two of the biggest ‘visual’ social networks; places that people use mostly for their visual benefits. Great pictures, funny gifs, and short videos are some of the most popular formats that hotels frequently use to improve their reach and followers’ base.

7. Use influencers to spread awareness
Social media influencers are not TV stars; they’re not famous celebrities that offer incredibly pricey advertising options. In fact, an 18-year-old teenager with 10.000 engaged fans on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network becomes a micro-influencer that can potentially boost your hotel’s bookings.

Reach the people that have a target audience that is very close to yours – establish your standards (big influencers obviously cost more) and start negotiating a price for their promotion services.

Promoting your hotel on social media is not rocket science. By using our insightful guidelines, you can tap into the power of social media networks, the same power that’s leveraged by the biggest hotels in the world. Some of them reached the peak by mastering the art of social media marketing, while others have enhanced their reputation and brand image over time.

Regardless of your purposes, social media networks are the most suited tools for every hotel owner who doesn’t simply expect clients to randomly drop off at their door. Take our tips into consideration and start promoting your hotel the right way.

Main image credit: Upsplash

Under the Arch sculpture

Hotel design in cruise ships: will it sink or will it float?

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With more and more design firms announcing their involvement in cruise ship interior designs, Hotel Designs’ editor Hamish Kilburn dived beneath the surface to find out how conceiving a cruise ship differs from designing a luxury hotel…

“Location, location, location” is what I hear on a daily basis when asking where designers first look to for inspiration when reimagining interiors within our industry. Recently, though, we have seen an influx of leading hotel interior designers expanding their services to now include cruise ship interiors.

It’s no surprise to hear that the cruise ship industry, as a whole, is working hard to evolve its image to challenge existing perceptions, which suggests that cruising is only for older generations. Now, it’s become more popular than ever for younger people to book a cheap and cheerful cruise. Travelling to many locations throughout a holiday, passing through many cultures along the way, is very much appealing to a wider demographic of people. Much like the attitudes of guests boarding the ships, the interior design of modern cruise ships is also improving, taking much of its inspiration from the aesthetics of iconic luxury hotels worldwide.

Earlier this month, I sat down with Fiona Thompson, the Principal of Richmond International, the award-winning design firm that has recently been commissioned to reimagine a P&O cruise liner. Without the luxury of a fixed location, Thompson and her team have taken a lot of her inspiration from the sea, very much making it the star of the ship. “This includes making windows much larger and the relationship between inside and outside becoming more important,” Thompson explained.

One of the most obvious challenges when redesigning cruise ship interiors is consumer behaviour.  Unlike hotels, passengers on board cruise ships don’t have the luxury to leave when they want. Therefore, the interiors in a ship really must capture the attention of every guest. “Cruise ships are trying to break away from that naff Vegas style. Our job is to turn these ships into places that are more upscale and thought provoking,” Thompson added.

The less-obvious challenge when working in a cruise ship environment are the low ceilings, which interestingly tend to feature above large spaces. “You have to play all sorts of games as to how to make those spaces feel comfortable and airy,” said Thompson. “A great way to do that is through lighting.”

Interiors of Seabourn ship

Image credit: Assaf Pinchuk

Outside of the design planning, many leading suppliers, who are featured heavily in international hotel design, are also being used more and more in cruise ships. Art curation consultancy ArtLink has recently announced it curated more than 1,600 artworks for the new Seabourn cruise ship, The Ovation. Known for being a high-end stylish cruise company, Seabourn’s design brief was to weave together Seabourn’s brand in a contemporary way with the interior designer, Adam Tihany’s vision. “We believe in telling stories through art, and there is arguably nowhere more suited to this emotional and intellectual adventure than a cruise ship,” says ArtLink’s founder, Tal Danai. “Guests are travelling slowly, confined within the experience of the vessel and full of anticipation about the destination they will eventually discover. They have the time to re-visit the art as they journey and to allow it to release one story at a time.”

The company, which has completed more than 130 hospitality projects worldwide, pulled together the talents of nearly 120 artists from across five continents to achieve a multi-layered collection intended to reveal new discoveries little-by-little to guests as they travel the oceans.

Going one step further, last week Hotel Designs broke the news that iconic Ritz-Carlton brand has opened reservations for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, set to take the seas in February 2020. This will mean that the Ritz-Carlton will be first hotel brand to take its service and ambiance of its resorts to the sea.

The cruise ship industry is honing in some of the industry’s finest designers and manufacturers in order to somewhat replicate modern hotels from around the globe. This very obvious movement is a further example of how clever collaborations can help evolve and transform a whole market.

If you have an opinion on this topic, please tweet us at @hoteldesigns

Fiona Thompson will be the headline speaker of next month’s Meet Up North. Taking place on July 18 at Manchester’s trendy King Street Townhouse, the evening networking event is a bridge between hoteliers, designers, architects, procurement companies and suppliers. Head over to the Meet Up North tab to secure your place.

Maximising your guests’ in-hotel experience through interior design

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From time-saving conveniences to luxurious treats and perks, anything you can do to design a space that puts the demands and needs of guests on a pedestal will get you one step closer to loyal, happy customers who’ll spend stay after stay in your hotel…

There are options galore when it comes to upgrading the layout and interior design of your hotel in the name of improved guest satisfaction. If you’re on a mission to maximise guest experiences forever more, with a little help from our friends at Henryka, we’ve got a few big ideas you can implement to transform your hotel from mere accommodation into a luxurious departure from everyday life.

Luxurious lobbies

The gateway to all experiences that follow, your hotel lobby is your one and only opportunity to create an instant positive impression on guests. The world’s most opulent and inviting lobbies typically make use of decadent yet minimalist design – with striking geometric shapes, stripped-back colour schemes and large, airy atriums all being mainstays of the luxury hotel lobby.

In recent times, hotel architects and interior designers have driven a shift in how lobbies are used by guests – using strategic design to encourage their use as a vibrant communal area where exhibits and even entertainment can take place. To level up guest experiences in your hotel, consider how your functional lobby can be upgraded to a large, open lounge where there’s much more on the menu than check ins and check outs.

Irresistible concessions stands

Food is the way to almost any guest’s heart, making concessions stands serving edibles a must for any hotel designer looking to provide a truly flavourful and filling experience to all. From sweets and snacks to breakfast options and refreshing beverages, the world is your oyster when it comes to what to offer – regardless, your guests will be left hungry for more.

Besides edibles, there are other equally delicious options available when it comes to concessions stands – such as mini retail outlets selling jewellery, tickets to local events, and souvenirs for friends and family back home, to name but a few examples. Depending on your hotel’s brand, some of these may not be suitable – the key, as always, is to identify what sets your hotel apart and reflect this theme in everything from the overall design to the finer details.

 

Image credit: Unsplash

Streamlined guest journeys

The journey guests take through your hotel should be no accident, especially considering the myriad of ways this route can be engineered in an aim to improve overall customer satisfaction. Borrowing from best-practice merchandising techniques used in brick-and-mortar retail environments, you can strategically design the overall layout of the space – ensuring guests are never far from an opportunity to treat themselves within the walls of your hotel.

Whatever concessions and amenities you have on offer, guests should have immediate access to everything their heart desires – with a logical and unobstructed route through the lobby and communal area so that everything is within reach and immediately visible (or as close as you can get). In a practical sense, access to all areas of your hotel should be within easy reach for customers of all ages and, of course, for disabled guests, too. Inclusivity is non-negotiable in any hotel – and every attempt to go above and beyond to accommodate your guests will be acknowledged and appreciated.

Itinerary-planning extras

Particularly important in the case of those visiting for pleasure rather than business, freebies and takeaways designed to help guests plan their trip are always well received. Including in your reception area and lobby brochures, leaflets and flyers for local events and attractions will mean that your guests can begin putting their holiday itinerary together from the moment they enter your hotel.

However, for bonus points, you can go the extra mile and pursue partnerships with local businesses offering exciting tours, workshops and more, and provide exclusive discounts or passes to these experiences for your guests – as a thank you for choosing your hotel over nearby competitors. Whichever of these perks you provide in your hotel, ensure displays are high-quality, uncluttered and meticulously organised – contributing to a minimal luxury aesthetic, and enhancing your hotel’s brand image.

Your guests deserve the best from check in to check out – and as the needs of travellers continue to evolve, it’s up to hotel chains large and small to ensure that everything that happens during a guest’s experience helps to build a reputation for reliability, convenience and unmatched comfort. By implementing these important changes, you can take the first step towards becoming the hotel brand you want to be.

WEBINAR: Who will run hotels in 25 years – humans or robots?

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Who will run hotels in 25 years: humans or robots?

This is one of the thought-provoking questions that will be addressed in an upcoming free webinar by Revinate, IDeaS, SiteMinder: ‘A.I. meets Human Hospitality’, scheduled for December 5th at 4:00pm GMT.

The session will explore the key findings of an industry panel held during this year’s World Travel Market show in London, in which we looked ahead 25 years and explored how the guest experience will change due to the technological advances that we are currently seeing.

The webinar will also tackle questions such as ‘how does the future of human hospitality look like?’, ‘what are the possibilities of robotisation in hotels?’, ‘what should we expect from hotel technology in the far future?’ and ‘will human hospitality be enough to stop robots from taking over?’.

To offer insights on this hot topics, the webinar will feature Monica Or, founder of Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy. With over 25 years of hospitality experience, Monica is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and has been hair for the Institute of Hospitality London, serving on their committee for five years.

As an accomplished speaker and author, she has spoken at international hotel conferences including The Independent Hotel Show in London and COTELCO in Colombia.

She has also been featured in The Caterer, Boutique Hotelier and Hospitality Magazine and writes monthly articles for Hotel Industry Magazine as their industry expert.

Monica is an Amazon best-selling author for her two books ‘Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business’ and ‘Star Quality Experience – The Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Memorable Guest Journeys’.

Register for this free webinar here.

Homestays v. Hotels

Guest Blog: The Future of Hospitality – Homestays v. Hotels

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Nakul Sharma is the CEO and founder of Hostmaker, London’s biggest Airbnb management company – and here he describes why he believes homestays and staying in a hotel are different sides of the same coin…

Over the last few years, homestays have become increasingly popular, with the explosion of companies such as Airbnb making these options a more convenient and cheaper way of staying in the world’s major cities. But does this explosion in popularity of homestays challenge the traditional hoteling industry or rather does it create a situation where the two can help each other?

Having worked in both the traditional hospitality industry and the property sharing sector, I can safely tell you that these two seemingly competing industries are actually more compatible then first glance might suggest. They are two sides of the hospitality coin, catering for different people with different and often complimenting strengths and weaknesses.

The main difference between the two is cost and the space available to enjoy a longer stay. Homestays generally tend to be lower in price than traditional hotels. As a result, they encourage travellers who would have maybe stayed for two-three nights in a hotel to stay longer and experience more of a destination. They are also preferred by a large group of people, or travellers looking for a room for month. Hotels are mainly tailored to the needs of an individual business traveller and aim to be efficient. Couples or groups travelling for leisure have very different needs. Rather than stealing clientele away from hotels, they are filling the gap in the market.

These two forms of hospitality also tackle the complications that come with very short or very long trips. Homestays provide much more flexibility, giving guests the option to stay for 3, 30 or 300 days, depending on their circumstances. Hotels are great for families or individuals looking to stay in one place for a few nights, but it can quickly become cumbersome when you want to move about or stay for an extended period.

By staying with a local through a homestay, travellers get a difference experience of the city. Before you would have had to explore a city with little or no knowledge, armed only with a guide book and relying on the hotel concierge. However, staying with a local offers guests a different perspective on a city and its culture. This is not something that everyone would like to experience as many people are happy to explore the city alone and enjoy the main attractions. Again, those that would have originally stayed in hotels are unlikely to migrate to homestays due to the fact that they are more interested in the comparative comfort of a hotel.

Many often say that they choose hotels for the luxury service and the knowledge that they can come and go without worrying about waking up their hosts or collecting their keys at a certain time. However, it is possible to replicate this service within the homestay market. Management companies, such as Hostmaker, have been able to bridge this gap in the market and provide a Hilton level experience to a regular homestay, offering a 5-star experience for guests and alleviating the pressure from the host.

Homestays often also offer unique properties. Treehouses, caravans and cabins are just a few of the types of accommodation you may find yourself in. For some people, the chance of a unique stay in an unusual location is an adventure, but others may be filled with a sense of dread. When you stay in a hotel, there is a standard that many people expect and more often than not, they receive. With a homestay, however, especially one in a quirky location, it can be very hard to determine. Those with a more adventurous streak may opt to go for a homestay but many people would still feel more comfortable with a traditional hotel.

So, when we discuss the future of hospitality, homestays are certainly part of it and a quickly growing part of it, but the demand for hotels is unlikely to be affected by the growth of this sharing economy industry. Both hotels and homestays occupy similar areas in the hospitality industry but by no means are their target market the same. Homestays do not have the capacity to steal the business of hotels and hotels cannot offer the individual experiences that homestays can. Rather than conflict, the two dovetail to offer customers different experiences to cater to individuals tastes.

hostmaker.co

How to design a boutique hotel

Guest Blog: ‘How to design a boutique hotel’

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Lillian Connors is Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Bizzmark – a hub for business journalists and bloggers – and here she shares her thoughts on how to design the perfect boutique hotel…

The two main features of boutique hotels are luxury and individuality. These are achieved through style, practicality and attention to detail. The style needs to tell the story of the hotel or its owner, and make it one of a kind. Everyone designing a boutique hotel should take the following six advices into account.

Checking in
The moment the guests step inside, they need to feel welcome. A pleasant lobby houses a well-designed and well-lit reception desk – it is the heart of the hotel, where both the first and the last impressions are created. If the space allows for it, always incorporate a seating area within the reception lobby. It will become the favourite meeting place for your guests and their friends.

To the guestrooms
The lift lobby is another important area to consider, as guest often spend a lot of time there and therefore have an opportunity to inspect the details and décor closer at hand. As the lift lobby is often the busiest area of the hotel, make sure that it is spacious, and that you provide adequate signage. This is also where stunning floor, lighting and wall design can be most effectively used to impress everyone passing through. As this is the showcase area, try to incorporate a special piece of artwork, a unique wall finish or even a piece of vintage furniture from the owner’s personal collection.

Forest Side Hotel - guestroom
Smart corridor design

Well-designed corridors are the marriage between style and utility. The access points to mechanical and electrical services should be cleverly incorporated into the design, perhaps hidden behind a large piece of artwork or the wall finish. The floor has to be durable to withstand the constant luggage and housekeeping trolleys being pushed up and down. Muffle the traffic sounds by a fabric backed wall covering or a quality carpet which can also help break up the long corridor feeling. As for the corridor lighting, it needs to be sufficient to take guests to their door, but also low enough to infuse a comfortable ambience.


Full hosting experience

In a boutique hotel, guest bedrooms are far more than just places to rest. Rather, they are ultra-personalized multifunctional spaces, where guests can work, dine, relax and sleep. However, no matter how well-designed the room is, if a guest has a sleepless night, there is little chance that they will return. A sturdy and comfortable bed paired with good blackout curtains, soundproofing and a temperature control is the formula for sound sleep. As far as the bathroom is concerned, your guests will expect nothing less than a mini-spa experience within their room. If the location allows, include a feature like an oasis plunge swimming pool, an external shower, or a bath with a splendid view.

Dining and catering
One of the traits of boutique hotels that sets them apart from chain or branded hotels is their size. Luxury and large scale rarely go hand in hand, so designers are often challenged to make the dining areas as efficient as possible. By smart utilization of furniture, fixture and equipment, an all-day dining area can be transformed into a breakfast room or a breakout room during a corporate event. If possible, try to incorporate an open buffet counter with a large storage below. This way you can accommodate all kinds of multi-use gatherings.

Forest Side Hotel - Restaurant

Checking out
You will make your guests happiest if you send them on their way without too much hassle. The checkout needs to be efficient and time saving. On the other hand, this is the last visual memory of the hotel for your guests. You should provide a good luggage storage area in case the guests want to explore the surroundings before they depart.

Whether it’s a quiet sanctuary within a densely populated polis or a secluded place on a remote beach, it is the attention to detail, the quality of workmanship as well as the unmatched service and accommodation that separate a boutique hotel form run-of-the-mill brand names. Use these tips and make your hotel be one of the design-led properties

Lillian believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. As a seasoned business consultant, she tends to advise her clients to always focus on sustainability, rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast schemes. 

NFU Mutual’s Hospitality Recruitment Guide, published this week, has revealed that a skills shortage is one of the key concerns for those in the hospitality and tourism industry

Research: Skills shortage a ‘concern’ for hospitality industry

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NFU Mutual’s Hospitality Recruitment Guide, published this week, has revealed that a skills shortage is one of the key concerns for those in the hospitality and tourism industry – with 45% of the survey’s respondents citing it.

Unsurprisingly, another issue for the industry has been the potential economic instability brought about by Brexit, according to 47% of respondents. When asked about their plans for Brexit, 85% of those who felt Brexit would impact the sector made no comment.

The impact of the National Living Wage was also listed as a key concern particularly for the hotel industry, receiving the votes of 35% of those representing hotels and 23% of the wider hospitality industry.

The guide has been created by NFU Mutual in partnership with the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Reed Specialist Recruitment in a bid to provide advice to help senior hospitality figures address their concerns about skills shortage by encouraging them to recruit more young people into the industry.

Darren Seward, hospitality sector specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Businesses we are speaking with are stressing the huge importance of EU staff to their operations, with real worry that Brexit will result not only in a smaller pool to recruit from but also skills and talent shortages.

“Some businesses already have plans in place for addressing these challenges – such as working more closely with schools and colleges – but in general, very few businesses appear to have done much planning and preparation for Brexit. While it’s difficult to prepare for an unknown, businesses should at the very least start thinking about how they would manage a changed employment landscape, which is how our Hospitality Recruitment Guide can help.”

The full report can be read here

Ahead of the Independent Hotel Show in October, Hotel Designs caught up with the event director Miranda Martin to get her thoughts on this year's edition...

IHS Live 2017: Seminar programme highlights

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Independent Hotel Show has built up a reputation for offering high-quality, focussed and insightful seminars during the two days of the event. This year’s edition has been no different.

Hotel Designs picks out the highlights from Tuesday and Wednesday’s programme…

UK Independent Hotels
This ‘state of the industry’ address featured vital intel on the health of the hospitality sector right now.

Thought Leader Forum
George Titlow hosted a panel featuring some of the finest hospitality minds, as they interpreted the over-arching trends from the show’s in-house expert’s landmark presentation. 

Power Couples: Owners and Operators
Owners aren’t always operators – too many hotel success stories include a driven, savvy entrepreneur working alongside an experienced hospitality professional. 

I’m With the Brands: Partnerships
‘Brand partnerships’ – that’s shrewd hook-ups with other like-minded businesses are an excellent way to accelerate the growth of your brand identity.

The Guest Journey: Stairways to Heaven
The ‘guest journey’ refers to your customers’ sensory experience, and its consistent presence during their stay from the satisfying crunch of the gravel on the driveway to the cosy glow of the bedside…

Oh! What a Lovely Brexit!
Tourism is one British industry that actually could benefit from the infamous referendum result and with hotel bookings from abroad up, it actually already is. 

The New Era of F&B
Formal hotel dining is a thing of the past, and while Britain may be leaving the EU cosmopolitan, continental dining habits will thankfully be sticking around.

Instagram 1.01
The hot photo-sharing application is considered the lifestyle sector’s most powerful social media tool. But it can be harder to have a ‘lit feed’ than it first appears…

UK hotel investment hits £2 billion in H1 2017

Opinion: UK hotels forecast 2018 – as good as it gets?

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Hotels good fortune continues but as uncertainty weighs in, is this as good as it gets? UK hotels have enjoyed record trading, underpinned by the boom in overseas leisure travel.

PwC forecast a slower pace of growth in 2018 as the stimulus of the weak pound starts to weaken, and new supply kicks in. Add into the mix, global political volatility, an expected deceleration in UK economic growth and continued Brexit policy uncertainty, and we look to a more cautious, but still reasonably strong growth forecast in 2018.

London
London enjoyed occupancy growth of 2.6% and ADR gains of 6.3% driving RevPAR growth of 9%, compared to the same period last year. The surge in overseas tourism has been boosted by North American visitors, with sterling at the lowest it’s been against the dollar for 30 years. The results are still remarkable against the backdrop of an uncertain corporate and consumer outlook, recent terrorist attacks, and high levels of new supply openings. The tourism boom means that for 2017 as a whole, our revised forecast is now much stronger than we anticipated in March this year. We now forecast year-on-year London occupancy growth of 2.3% and a robust RevPAR gain of almost 6% this year in 2017.

Regional outlook
H1 2017 saw hoteliers in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, like London, see a boost from the exchange rate attracting international holiday travellers and this has pushed their RevPAR performance into double digit growth. Edinburgh and Belfast have seen ADR gains alone of 14.8% and 13% whereas Cardiff’s additional hosting of the Champions League Final in June, helped lift occupancy and rates and pushed RevPAR to almost 11% RevPAR growth in the first half of the year. Plymouth, Sheffield, Glasgow, York and Liverpool have also seen robust growth.

Hull has enjoyed City of Culture status in 2017 and hotels are reported to have seen a 13% occupancy lift in Q1 2017. In the first few weeks following the Manchester Arena bombing attack on 22 May, hotel general managers in the city’s hotel association reported a softening demand for hotel rooms. Recent coverage suggests that while there was a lot of uncertainty, that feeling is starting to change now, with tourists, visitors and families returning to stay in the city’s hotels.

What to expect for 2018?
We forecast both overseas inbound and domestic investment into the hotel sector to continue into 2018, with the ongoing growth in investment appetite into the sector by the more institutional and mainstream real estate investors. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the current portfolio deals to see whether vendor price expectations are achieved, and the impact this may have on the strategy for any future portfolio deals running into 2018. It also remains to be seen the longer term effect of the drive by China to limit foreign investment, once any of the larger portfolio deals do return. Considering these factors, combined with forecast slower RevPAR growth across the UK, overall we expect 2018 deal volumes to reach levels c.10% lower than the current year, at around £4.8bn.

Download the full report here. . .

Guest Blog: ‘Hotels are missing vital marketing messages’

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A guest blog from Professor Stuart Barnes on the importance of marketing for hoteliers…

Hotels are losing customers because they aren’t using the most effective marketing messages for their ratings, reveals new research from King’s Business School. The researchers have created a model that exposes the truth about hotel performance using text from online customer reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor.

Professor Stuart BarnesUsing a big data set of more than a quarter of a million online reviews for more than 25,000 hotels in 16 countries, a total of 19 controllable factors were found to be vital for hotels to manage in their interactions with visitors. These included checking in and out, communication, homeliness, room experience and accommodating pets.

The research further identified the most important dimensions according to the star rating of hotels, with homeliness and events management being important for five-star hotels, while room experience and communication were basic requirements at one-star level.

“However, not all factors are considered by hotels and hotel comparison websites, like homeliness and natural beauty which the research revealed to be important for top-rated hotels and older consumers,” says Professor Stuart Barnes, “and so key marketing messages are being missed that would target the ideal customers. Hotels need to position themselves carefully.”

Clear differences were also found according to demographic segments. For example, men are more sensitive to price than women, while female hotel customers place greater significance on the standard of the bathroom.

The results, recently published in the journal Tourism Management, have clear implications for how hotels effectively market their offerings to different customers.

The application of advanced, mathematical machine learning techniques has provided an important development in marketing as Barnes, in collaboration with Hohai University, used them to develop a new model, which was compared with traditional numerical ratings. The approach provides a potential solution for many businesses seeking to understand the voice of their customers.

Stuart is Professor of Marketing at King’s College London

Opinion: Mitre Linen - Keeping hotel guests cool

Opinion: Mitre Linen – Keeping hotel guests cool

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A hot and stuffy hotel room is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Research suggests that if the temperature of a room is too high, then it will take longer for an individual to fall asleep and, when they finally do, this sleep can be disturbed leading to guests feeling irritable in the morning.

So how can you make sure your rooms – and your guests – remain cool and comfortable throughout the summer months?

Here Chris Tame, Mitre Linen’s National Sales Manager, provides us with his expert tips and advice to ensure that your guests experience a refreshing night’s sleep – even on the warmest of evenings.

1. Choose crisp cotton bed linen
Pure 100% cotton is a breathable fabric, which means it has the ability to transfer moisture away from the skin. This will keep your beds and your guests feeling cool and fresh all night long. Cotton is also soft to the touch and is a naturally hypoallergenic fabric which can also promote a comfortable sleeping environment. The higher the thread count, then the tighter the weave of the fabric, which adds to both its luxuriousness and its durability. Look for bed linen made with 100% cotton and with a thread count over 200 for a soft, luxurious and cooling feel.

2. Try a summer duvet
This is a good time of the year to replace a winter duvet with a lighter summer weight duvet – or to opt for an all year round 10.5 tog duvet so you don’t have to change them seasonally. Microfibre duvets are particularly good throughout the warmer summer months as, although they are light, they still feel luxurious and snuggly to sleep under. Choose one with a 100% cotton cover to promote an even cooler and crisp environment.

3. Shop around for innovative products
Small details can make a big difference to a guest’s stay, which is why we love the Coolguard pillow protector. Thanks to its innovative temperature controlled property, this ‘cool to touch’ pillow protector is designed to offer a peaceful cooling sensation. Offering these sort of innovative products provides your guests with the ultimate sleep solutions and also adds to their overall experience of their stay.

4. Replace heavy velour bathrobes for waffle weave
Nothing makes your guests feel special like a super snug bathrobe, but throughout the warmer months some guests may not welcome this gesture as much. I always advise my customers to provide their guests with a lighter bathrobe during the summer so they can still enjoy a little indulgence after bathing. Opt for a waffle weave design which will be lightweight yet soft to the touch.

Opinion: Mitre Linen - Keeping hotel guests cool5. Remember the little touches
Help to keep your guests cool by providing them with complimentary bottles of still and sparkling water in their rooms, kept refreshingly cool in the mini-bar. Why not also provide them with a friendly letter to make them feel welcomed whilst informing them of the gesture.

For more helpful tips and advice, call our friendly team on 01685 353 4456.
www.mitrelinen.com

Denise Ellis

In Conversation: Denise Ellis discusses ever-changing hotel design

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Head of interior design and conservation at Nottingham-based Franklin Ellis Architects, Denise Ellis, who has worked with the firm for over 24 years, is a heavyweight in the hotel interior design industry.

Having worked with international brands though to independents including Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites, Denise discusses the ever-changing sector and the changes that influence hotel interior design.


“The hotel sector has changed hugely since I began working for Franklin Ellis Architects. Whilst the firm and I have work on projects across a range of sectors, hotels are 90% of what I do and are my passion. Guests reactions to the interior of a hotel is driven by emotion and having worked on over 25 hotel projects, I have a clear vision of the type of emotions and responses I want to gain from people as they step over the threshold of a hotel for the first time.

“Each project is very different and the hotel industry is an extremely competitive and ever-changing market which means the owners are having to up their game and constantly renew their offering. Over the last 10 years, hotel design has changed considerably and this is down to the wider trends that affect our day to day lives; like how we communicate, how we spend our free time, technology and fashion. For example, you won’t find many (good) hotels that don’t have plenty of power points, phone charge ports and fast Wi-Fi in communal areas.

“Unlike 10 years ago, most hotels, large or small, now strive to offer an intimate setting for its guests. Hotels are looking to create an experience that the customers will enjoy but also remember, so they return. Previously hotels were more of a necessity and while they did of course create spaces guests wanted to be, hotels were more focussed on formality and minimalism.

“Today, most hotels try to create a home-from-home with a level of informality and relaxation to cater to a range of customers and their demands. Brands now have a wider food and drink offer to suit more informed palettes, state of the art gyms and spas are much more common place, more communal areas and break-out spaces have been created for people to work as well as quiet spaces for those who want to read or work in a more private setting.


“Hotels are investing much more than they used to in the restaurants and bars, doing all they can to attract not just guests to eat and drink in the hotel but to also non-guests.

“People expect more from their hotel visits now too, discerning customers like to have something to aspire to for their own homes such as high-end soft furnishing, quirky decoration and cool lighting for example. Hotel interior design must take on the many demands of today’s customers and create spaces that are not only functional but awe-inspiring and memorable.


“My inspiration comes from all around me. I believe the element that makes a hotel unique and interesting is its location and sense of place. I try to make sure that the interior design in some way reflects the community around to create an instant connection. Hotels, including large multi-nationals, are adding elements to the interiors that are relevant to that local are; be it paintings of local landmarks or items that are made locally, hotels want to integrate into its surrounding area and be a part of the local community.

Airbnb

Opinion: NYC’s mistake in attacking Airbnb

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According to reports in the United States, New York’s hotel industry is about to start playing dirty – very dirty – in their battle against the highly successful lodging company Airbnb.

In an advertisement scheduled to run starting on Monday (7th August), funded by the Hotel Association of New York City and a hotel workers union, concerns are raised over links between ‘security’ and the wildly popular home-sharing site. There’s even a reference to the Manchester bombing perpetrator Salman Abedi, and his use of a short-term rental apartment – even though it had not been booked through Airbnb.

Scaremongering text and images are used, including the phrase ‘Are you at risk?’, and lists a phone number to register complaints against the company with a message to ‘stand up for NY’s safety and security.’

Speaking to the New York Daily News, Airbnb spokesman Peter Schottenfels called the ad “an outrageous scare tactic by big hotels who themselves have a long history of lodging people who engage in acts of terror.” He then cited 9/11 and the 2015 Paris attacks, both carried out by attackers who stayed in hotels.

“The fact is Airbnb had nothing to do with the tragic events in Manchester and we are one of the only hospitality companies that runs background checks on all US residents, both hosts and guests,” Schottenfels adds.

Shots fired.

So why are hotels becoming increasingly paranoiac of Airbnb? It’s no secret that the rate of leisure travellers using private accommodation was up a third last year from 2011 and that Airbnb is encroaching on hotels’ bread-and-butter market of business travellers with each passing year.

But these sort of low-blow, questionable advertising campaigns are not the answer for hotel groups. They need to take the game to Airbnb – an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ sort of mentality. Whilst Marriott has had a grip on the shared, long-stay market for a while, more and more groups are breaking into this sector and will need to continue growing this portfolio in a bid to compete.

Moreover, the success of Airbnb has come in part through its readiness to engage and instant connection with the so-called ‘millennial’ market. Less uniformity in design, an emphasis on communal spaces, reflection of the locale, embracing ever-changing technology – all of these things inherent in the Airbnb ethos, hotels are now having to play catch-up and are getting better at doing so, albeit slowly. Now that social media is here to stay, it’s one of the most powerful tools at hoteliers’ disposal but it must be about ‘positive engagement’ with consumers – something this advertising campaign will certainly not engender.

Furthermore, the rates of Airbnb has made the hotel industry take an inward look at itself about how it has priced a considerable number of people away from its products, which is why we are seeing a host of ‘budget’ or ‘economy’ brands popping up within hotel groups’ offering. If you don’t want people to use Airbnb, you have to offer a similarly-priced alternative that ticks all the boxes in terms of the things mentioned above.

The steps the hotel industry has taken in the last decade since the dawn of Airbnb has been fascinating to witness and many of the innovations, perhaps spurred on by the demands of consumers loyal to the home-sharing concept, probably have Airbnb to thank for introducing them. This is a much better approach for the industry to take. Smear campaigns based in half-truths and playing on fears is not the right approach and makes the industry look desperate. Airbnb and its ilk are here to stay, the hotel industry needs to learn to live with and compete to win the hearts and minds of the next generation of traveller.

Technology

Guest Blog: Lotss – ‘Prioritising technology for your hotel staff’

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Prachi Chhabria - 'Prioritising technology for your hotel staff'Prachi Chhabria, co-founder of Lotss, shares her views on the best way to integrate technology into your processes to keep your hotel staff connected…

In the last few years, there has been a steady uptick in integrating the use of technology within the hospitality industry. Hotels are now heavily investing in guest-facing technologies such as booking engines, mobile apps, digital concierge services, keyless entry systems, beacons, automated check in and check out processes amongst many other, especially for their guests. In a recent New York Times article, Scott Dobroski, of corporate communications for Glassdoor, says that ‘All companies are becoming technology companies to some degree, and this is especially true in the hospitality industry’.

This phenomenon is definite progress for the hospitality industry, and it is time to shift the focus on adapting mobile technologies for your employees too. Stefan Tweraser of Snapshot writes about how employees are using multi faceted systems that can affect productivity and even shrink job satisfaction. These systems are so complex that guests are left waiting while employees navigate the user interface for information – information that should be mobile, on their fingertips and readily available at any given point of the day. Mobile technologies that allow for internal connectivity, communication, access to all information can be extremely valuable for operations and in-house staff.

Guest Blog: Lotss - 'Prioritising technology for your hotel staff'
A mobile platform can provide more benefits due to its flexible nature. For instance, staff members have instant access to the company intranet allowing them to provide enhanced service to guests. Gaining that access to daily news and real time updates increases their ability to work efficiently and with complete information. On the other hand, management can use employee behaviour data to optimise their operational processes. The key is to find technology that will save your employee’s time in doing routine tasks with all the required information to perform their job, available for their use at any time along with giving managers access to gather and analyse staff data. It will fit your operational purpose with simplicity in function and adaptability and most importantly, help improve your strategic goals and bottom-line.

By finding platforms that are multifaceted and provide different features to tie your operational processes together, it could provide valuable data into how staff carries out their work, and how it affects factors such as employee retention, satisfaction and productivity. These metrics have a direct impact on guests as well as the bottom line.

Features such as communication could include sending out daily updates regarding VIP guests or check in’s or having a portable database with documents on security, personnel HR, training, employee marketing and departmental reports. These enable staff to remain informed at all times, stay updated with recent knowledge and skills allowing them to do their tasks optimally and provide impeccable guest service. Just by using such a feature, guest satisfaction and retention can increase; along with productivity, again, positively affecting the bottom-line.

Added features such as surveys and feedback provide management with the opportunity to engage with their teams and have open dialogue frequently. Managers can respond faster to employee feedback, take action, and create a sense of community. As a result, employee retention boosts, satisfaction surges and the costs of hiring are reduced!

Bonus functions such as chatting, conducting assessments, filling checklists and inventory lists allow for optimising operational processes, reduced paper trails and collecting analytical in-house process data that can help management strategise better.

Guest Blog: Lotss - 'Prioritising technology for your hotel staff'To simplify this, it is advisable to contain the adoption of technology within one department initially. This can help gauge responsiveness from both employees and management. From there on, the technology can then be adopted by others (property wide or company wide). Management, too, can better adapt the use of this app and observe staff responses. Once the platforms are in use, and then integrating them into existing systems to heighten usage and optimise processes amplifies seamless operations.

When fully functional, management can create reports to recognise their team skills and compare and correlate usage within the app to metrics such as employee satisfaction and retention, guest satisfaction and retention, printing costs, training costs and productivity levels, all of which will be demonstrated financially as well.

By working with developers to customise technology to best suit your property, it allows you to exploit every function for maximum efficiency. With all the technology available at our disposal, do not invest in technology without purpose; rather invest in technology that serves your staff to serve your guests better eventually.

lotss.org

Lucy Mortimer Galapagos

In Conversation: Lucy Mortimer, Galapagos Designs

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Lucy Mortimer, director at Galapagos Designs – a design partner with this year’s Independent Hotel Show – talks about how an individualistic approach and the use of heritage-inspired furniture continues to be a big trend in the world of hotel design…

Hotels are eschewing a uniform look and are taking a more individualistic approach to design to help mark them out and convey a sense of warmth, that’s certainly what we’re seeing our clients come to us for.

A good example of that is The Ned in London which is looking back to an Art Deco styling to create a very eclectic and individualistic look across the rooms. Hotels are no longer applying that ubiquitous, formal look to rooms, but are making them more warm and inviting with a heritage angle. Mixing a bit of old and new in together helps add more depth of character to a room.


We are certainly seeing design being used to reflect the personality of the business more. Even when hoteliers have a new-build property, they are seeking out a more individual edge. There’s less use of ubiquitous artwork and more of a focus on sourced products rather than something that is bought. Of course, it all depends on the hotel and the target audience. This look might be less appropriate for a business hotel but certainly there’s a cluster of hotels catering for high-end business customers who want to provide something other than just great Wi-Fi and room service.

We’ve been working on a big hotel project recently which combines the vintage mid-century stuff we produce with newly-made classic-style furniture. We are finding more and more customers are approaching us for a similar style.

Overall, hotels want to create an inviting space, so the type of material used is gaining importance. A lot of velvet is being used now by our customers – the term we use is ‘layering’ which is bringing more than one dimension to a room. You can do that with touches, maybe through old furniture, more accessories or using more classic style lighting over the beds, which can look really lovely rather than just a standard lamp.

Heading into the future, I think we’ll see more of this. Every hotel project we’re working on is using a mix of velvets with more British heritage fabrics like Bute Fabrics. Good, strong, old brands which have a sense of history.

This thoughtful approach to putting together a room is something that will continue. Now, we’ll almost always supply products to hotels that, even if they aren’t vintage, look vintage. That heritage look is quite a strong trend and that’s what we’ve got with the range of furniture we’ll be showcasing at this year’s Independent Hotel Show at our stand and in the VIP Lounge.

We’ve launched our Heritage Collection in partnership with a brand called Howard Keith, or HK. It was a huge brand in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and supplied all the furniture to the QEII Officers’ lounge and royal residences. They closed in the noughties, but we have partnered with them under licence to bring back some of their furniture under a heritage collection which is made exactly the same as the 1950s models but mixed today with fabric featuring cutting-edge designs from Japanese designers. That mixture of old and new is what you’ll find in our chairs and what you’ll find us showcasing more at the show.


Galapagos Designs is one of the design partners at this year’s Independent Hotel Show, taking place at Olympia, 17 & 18 October. Galapagos is designing the Suite for VIPs and select partners to use. Lucy says: “We’ve chosen to marry luxury fabrics and furnishings with a slightly wild, colonial feel for the Suite – the theme is Hot House Jungle, so expect a lot of tropical planting and sumptuous chairs you’ll sink into lush green velvets and singing hot colour accents from our fabric partners ROMO, Linwood and Designers Guild, and some beautiful metallic accents in the lighting and accessories from Pooky Lighting and Rockett St George. We’re making the space into a real retreat, where hoteliers can take 10 minutes away from the crowds to recuperate or send a few emails, or have a private meeting in comfort.”

www.galapagosdesigns.com

www.independenthotelshow.co.uk

Larry Mogelonsky - Renovation tips

Guest Blog: Larry Mogelonsky – Dirty Dozen Of Hotel Renovation

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Larry Mogelonsky, Principal at Hotel Mogel Consulting and Chairman at LMA Communications shares his thoughts on a general guideline of twelve tips for a smooth renovation…

With the kids gone, it was time to follow the footsteps of many other boomers and downsize to a condominium. What started as a mere paint job, however, morphed into a $150-per-square-foot renovation of the entire apartment comprising appliances, lighting, flooring, soft goods, mirrors, kitchen and plumbing fixtures. What we ended up having on our hands was a genuine case of ‘scope creep’ – something not uncommon in any property refurbishment.

Hotel renovations are a necessary dread of our industry in order to keep apace with the constantly giving décor trends, star rating requirements and technological advancements. They are also stressful and frustrating. Having gone through dozens of this large-scale projects over the past four decades, I was able to navigate the treacherous waters of my own apartment’s scope creep by following a general guideline of these twelve tips.

1. Define your objectives. Be as specific as possible, and make sure that these are written and approved by your ownership group. My mistake this time around was that my vision was very different than that of my spouse which resulted in serious cost overruns and time delays.

2. Timetables are split in thirds. Whatever you are proposing, figure one third of your time will be spent planning, another third in the actual work and the final third in quality control. Do not underestimate any one of these segments.

3. Budgets never last for more than the time they were created. There are more ways for costs to overrun than you can count. I thought our planning was generous but we ended up about 25% over budget, and that includes several areas of great cost savings. It’s natural to use a renovation to augment deep cleaning, upholstery renewal, upgraded security systems, LED conversions and any other new technologies. It all adds up!

Larry Mogelonsky - Renovation tips

4. What’s behind the walls? Our condo is only 15 years old, so there were no crazy surprises like what you would find in a century building. Nevertheless, we discovered significant shortfalls in wiring, plumbing and HVAC that all needed to be corrected before we could begin. Of course, these resulted in more cost increases and time delays, but the lesson here is to thoroughly inspect the state of affairs ‘under the hood’ before finalizing the scope and budget.

5. Hire a great general contractor. Simply put, you have a hotel to run, not a construction site. Don’t even think of doing both simultaneously. You need someone who will manage the project on your behalf. The GC became my single point of contact for the project, helping streamline communication and saving me time. He collected all my notes and disseminated them to the multitude of tradesmen onsite. He also fed back issues and prevented potential solutions.

6. Let everyone know your deadline. In a residential move, this is straightforward; the closing date of your home’s sale dictates the project’s drop-dead completion date. While this gave us six months of overlap, the GC understood the final month was set aside for moving. With no secrets, the work was accomplished in the set timeframe. As a senior manager, you put decide what the maximum tolerable length of agony is that your property can endure before irreparable damage is done to its occupancy and reputation.

7. You cannot walk away. In order to keep everything on track, I visited the jobsite at least twice a week, in addition to a weekly GC meeting. Apart from the obvious status reports, there were always new items and unexpected issues. The devil is in the details, and you won’t discover those details unless you are periodically on the ground with the troops. To note one example, we did not specify the location of the thermostat. Without any direction, the HVAC folks placed it in what they thought was the optimal position, which did not take into consideration the high headboard which would have covered it. Good thing I was there to catch this before it was too late.

Larry Mogelonsky - Renovation tips
8. Document all change orders. We kept a running tally sheet of over-change that we requested. While this did not lead to any real cost savings, at least we understood the detailed reasons for the overages. This approach will come in very handy when ownership needs to understand your budget predicament or to reconcile excesses.

9. Create a positive work environment. I’m fussy about coffee. So too is my Italian, Portuguese, Lebanese and Turkish workforce. I knew that if I did not provide great coffee, one junior team member would be tasked on a continual Starbucks run. A hundred-dollar Nespresso machine plus lots of capsules turned out to be a wise investment. (As additional learning, the decaf capsules were never touched.)

10. What ifs are expensive. Want to move a door, reposition a switch or add a dimmer? Most GCs will never say no. Just about anything can be built or modified; it is merely a matter of time and materials. So, be careful as to what you ask for, as your whimsical idea may be converted into reality but at a price too hefty to properly bear.

11. Take lots of before photos. Try to image the best angles and where you stood so that you can replicate them exactly with the new look. The before-and-after comparisons may help you explain your cost overruns to your owners.

12. Say thank you to your team. I didn’t hire painters, carpenters, electricians, plumbers or HVAC specialists. I hired craftsmen who take great pride in their work. It’s probably a small job to them, but clearly very important to me. Such professionals will feel similar pride in their work done to refurbish your hotel. No matter what the project is or the size of your property, it costs nothing to say thank you in person or by email, and it will always be appreciated.

(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, originally published in eHotelier on Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

After completing his MBA, Larry began his marketing career with Procter & Gamble, moving to a top-10 ad agency and serving as the managing director to the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts account. Founding LMA in 1991, he has increased its hospitality presence with a global roster of hotel and tourism clients, winning 88 Adrian Awards and TravelClick’s Worldwide e-Marketer of the Year

Boutique chairs - Kobe opinion Soft furnishings

Soft Furnishings Focus: Kobe – Upholstery colours, designs for 2017

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As 2017 sees bold colours and motifs continue in soft furnishings, David Harris, managing director of luxury fabric specialist, Kobe UK, takes a look at some of the vibrant new colours and designs in upholstery fabrics.

The latest trends include collections where each fabric has an individual identity. Rich, dark greens are back in fashion, especially botanical patterns and jungle printed jacquards, woven with metallic yarns, paired with the young, modern look of natural materials, wood, cork or marble.

Bright floral designs, such as Kobe’s Clemence from its Boutique collection, are also very popular right now. Upholstery fabrics that can be supplied with FR treatments and those created from 100% natural fabrics in art and craft styled patterns, are an ideal addition to any hotel interior and can be perfectly matched with soft furnishings in shimmering gold or sunny yellows.

Clemence from Kobe's Boutique collection

Clemence from Kobe’s Boutique collection

For a stunning look which creates a room to remember, geometric shapes in furniture are also in style with upholstery fabric woven in both timeless and on-trend colours, such as vivid green or intense fuchsia.

Kobe – Volterra

With matt velvets making a great come back in interiors everywhere, we’ve featured the colour green in Kobe’s lush velvets, such as Volterra, which can be combined with other soft furnishing fabrics to be truly on trend. Don’t be afraid to experiment with dark colours to create a mood of mystery as the latest room trends head for drama and elegance. Choose sumptuous Henry in moody blue, opulent gold, or the fiery glow of dark red, or luxurious aubergine.

Kobe Henry

Kobe Henry

For the more traditional interior there are fabrics woven in matt and shiny yarns, with beautiful paisley patterns making an entrance this year such as Adore which creates a multi-dimensional effect on the damask pattern, in eight colours.

Soft supple chenille upholstery fabric in easy-to-care-for material is also fashionable in both rich and neutral shades. Cocoon is a highlight of the Essente collection and can be used for both curtains and upholstery. Its chenille in 100% polyester is finished with an FR domestic back-coat, so ‘ready to go’ and features a palette of 36 shades ranging from neutral cream, beige and pale grey, warm blue, brown and rose to vibrant lime, orange and red.

Adore Kobe's Boutique collectionWhatever design and style, it’s always exciting to create something new. For those searching for interior inspiration, today’s new collections include an extensive range of upholstery shapes and fabrics, from tradition to contemporary, soft and bright to dark and dramatic.

www.en.kobe.eu

T: 01344 771653
F: 01344 771663
E: salesuk@kobe.eu

Duravit Vero Air C

Guest Blog: Duravit – trends for the ‘holistic bathroom of the future’

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With the new products presented at ISH 2017, Duravit has re-interpreted the basic idea of the holistic interior. New designs provide the scope for individual bathroom furnishings offering a high standard of living.

All products have a consistent design language and can be combined with products from all series to optimum effect. Precise geometric forms, selected materials and soft, matt colours and textures take their place in the bathroom. Design, function and high operating comfort are perfectly coordinated.

Nordic elegance with gentle colour shades
The Nordic furnishing style is characterised by clear forms and soft, natural colours. For Duravit, the Danish designer, Cecilie Manz has combined Nordic design with new technologies, new colours and new materials, which are impressive in terms of both feel and function.

The Luv bathroom series offers completely new design possibilities for either larger rooms or guest bathrooms, the unusual design combines Nordic purism with timeless, emotional elegance. The above-counter basins made from DuraCeram® impress with their subtle lines, generous inner basin and clear edges. The selection of materials and colours is testament to Cecilie Manz’s refined sense for touch and nuances.

DuravitFor the first time, Duravit uses matt glazes in soft tones on the outside of the DuraCeram wash bowls, which contrast with the high-glaze white ceramic inside the bowl. New pale Nordic colours in satin-matt lacquer can also be found on the furniture. The distinctively shaped baths are based on the form of the wash bowl and are made from the mineral material DuraSolid A, which offers a pleasantly warm feel and a high-quality matt look.

Timeless geometry re-imagined
Clear, timeless forms create lasting value and are popular for bathroom furnishings. Vero Air, is in keeping with this ongoing trend: the entire bathroom series impresses both purists and individuals with a feel for durable design. With its clear, classically rectangular form, Vero has been one of the architectural classics of bathroom design since 2001. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques, the precise design of Vero Air reinterprets Vero’s timeless geometry. The range’s washbasins and bathtubs impress with reduced edges and a striking linear charm.

With its new DuraSquare collection, Duravit presents an upgrade of Vero Air that sets new standards with its clarity, precision and reduction. Exact edges blend with the organically flowing inner contours. From the washbasin to the bathtub, the programme is designed to be sustainable and is made with the innovative materials DuraCeram and DuraSolid. Combined with the new furniture frame, the washbasins become a real eye-catcher in the bathroom. This flexible base is height-adjustable and can be supplied in silver (chrome) or matt black.

Duravit
Creative solutions for compact areas

Increasingly limited living space demands greater practicality, and this requires smart solutions. With the innovative Shower + Bath combination,
Duravit has succeeded in uniting the strict requirements regarding contemporary bathroom design and optimum use of space: the design by EOOS features a walk-in shower and bathtub in one. The functional versatility of Shower + Bath is a result of the high level of precision in the finishing and the use of the innovative material DuraSolid A.

Individual and cut-to-size washing areas with surrounds and storage space are both functional and convenient. The new console system comprises uniform furniture consoles in two different thicknesses (30 and 45 mm) and with a variable width and depth. They can be combined with vanity units and furniture from a total of seven Duravit ranges: L-Cube, Vero, Happy D.2, Delos, DuraStyle, Ketho and X-Large. The Duravit consoles are available with 32 different finishes from high-gloss lacquer, for example in Apricot Pearl or Stone Blue, to real-wood fronts such as oak or walnut. With individual combinations such as a walnut console and discreet, white vanity units, interesting accents can be created.

www.duravit.co.uk // www.pro.duravit.co.uk

+44 845 500 7787
info@uk.duravit.com

Spas in the UK

Five to Watch: Best UK spa hotels

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We’re halfway through the summer months, and judging by the weather we’ve had so far we’re in for a good one this year. With this in mind, Hotel Designs profiles five of our favourite spa hotels across the UK…

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland
Situated at the intersection of some of Edinburgh’s most historic streets, The G&V Royal Mile Hotel invokes the city’s vibrant, creative and charismatic appeal – injecting new colour into a dramatic and storied backdrop.

G&VCotswold House Hotel & Spa, Gloucestershire
This award-winning luxury hotel and spa in the heart of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, which has recently benefitted from a substantial refurbishment, will appeal to discerning travellers visiting the Cotswolds, looking for tranquility, sublime comfort, exceptional food and a stunning spa.

Cotswold HouseRudding Park, Harrogate – Yorkshire
The new Rudding Park Spa is one of the finest in the country and recaptures Harrogate’s spa heritage using natural waters from the grounds at Rudding Park. A privately owned luxury hotel, Rudding Park also has 90 bedrooms, two restaurants and a kitchen garden, private cinema, two golf courses and conference and events space. Set in 300 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland, Rudding Park is one of the most beautiful Harrogate hotels.

Rudding Park
Culloden Estate & Spa – Northern Ireland

Today the Culloden Estate and Spa is one of the finest and most distinguished 5 star hotels in the Province. The Culloden was built in 1876 by a Mr. William Auchinleck Robinson, JP and former MP. It took two and a half years to complete, and most of the stone came from Scotland by boat, arriving in the County Down fishing village of Portaferry and being brought to the site by horse and cart.

Culloden Estate
La Suite West – Hyde Park, London

Perfectly positioned on a quiet tree lined street on the edge of London’s magnificent Hyde Park and close to the West End and Paddington, this boutique hotel is the minimalist and state of focus creation by famed British designer Anouska Hempel.
La Suite West - Hyde Park

Zoku

Guest Blog: Youri Sawerschel – is Zoku the next Citizen M?

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Solicited for his creative thinking skills, Youri Sawerschel has been involved with projects focused on creating, launching and managing brands in Europe, China and the Middle-East. He has worked with brands as diverse as Kempinski Hotels, UBS, EPFL and Mondelez. He discusses below what we can expect from the brand Zoku…

The success of Citizen M, Mama Shelter or Ace Hotel has been watched by the entire industry. As hoteliers around the world are raising their game, we ask ourselves – who will set the new benchmark? We picked the hotel brands that, we believe, have the potential to become the next hits. Discover Zoku.

Located in the Eastern Canal District of Amsterdam, Zoku is a new brand that blurs the lines between hotel, apartment and office. We spoke to Zoku co-founders Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius to understand their vision. To stand out in the dynamic Amsterdam market, the two co-founders knew they needed a good story.


“Hotels don’t sell a bed anymore but an emotion,” says Hans Meyer. That’s why the brand launched in 2016 with the mission to “connect people and ideas.” To make this position clear from its opening, Zoku partnered with Startup Fest Europe to host the conference attendees and to organise learning and networking events.

The hotel’s name meaning “family, tribe or clan” in Japanese, Zoku places great emphasis on the common spaces. Everything within the hotel is designed to foster social interactions – From a giant kitchen to communal working spaces and a rooftop garden. The room design is inspired by a functional Asian micro-apartment.


It combines a living and a working area in just 25m2 – perfect for long-stay customers. To open 50 new properties in the next 10 years, Zoku relies on a copy-paste approach.

Yet, “finding the right balance between standardisation and personalisation is a key concern,” explain Meyer and Jongerius. They are now working on a prototype for the next generation of Zoku rooms. “Beta is our most important value,” says Meyer.

Indeed, that sounds more like a tech startup than a hotel company.

Originally published on Hospitalitynet.org. Youri Sawerschel is a Branding Expert and Founder of Creative Supply, a strategic branding agency based in Zurich.

July Focus: Mitre’s Chris Tame – ‘How to accessorise hotel rooms’

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Every establishment is unique and it is often the little touches that can make all the difference to a guest’s experience.

The increasing credibility of travel review sites has made the hospitality market even more competitive, so it is important to stand out for all the right reasons.

Here Chris Tame, Mitre Linen’s National Sales Manager, provides us with his six expert tips how to accessorise your rooms in order to create a warm welcome, a wonderful stay and a lasting impression…

1) Soft furnishings: Beautiful soft furnishings can transform a room and instantly make a guest feel welcome. Whether you want to ignite a certain sense of style or reinforce your brand identity, refreshing your curtains, cushions and bed runners will help create that all-important great first impression.

2) Include a blanket or throw: A deliciously soft cashmere or woollen throw or blanket can add a touch of glamour to a room as well as making guests feel at home. Guests love snuggling into a little comfort and will appreciate this little gesture.

3) Pillow menu: The right pillow can make all the difference to a good night’s sleep and, in a competitive market place, personalisation is the key to standing out. Why not offer your guests a pillow menu to allow them to pick their ideal pillow? This is a unique and personal gesture and will help provide your guests with a fantastic night’s sleep, tailored to their requirements.


4) Offer practical bedroom accessories: Complement each bedroom with practical amenities that will provide your guests with all the essentials to make their stay as easy and comfortable as possible. From quality hair dryers to irons and ironing boards, sometimes these little extras can be a necessity.

5) Offer guests a bathrobe and slippers: Allow your guests to feel completely pampered and indulged by leaving a sumptuous bathrobe hanging up in the room. Nothing says luxury like a velour bathrobe and a pair of matching slippers. For that extra-personal touch, embroider your bathrobes with your brand name to help reinforce your identity throughout their stay.

6) Include complimentary toiletries: Guests love a quality selection of quality complimentary shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and body creams in their bathrooms. Adding them to a room shows attention to detail and will add a touch of luxury to that special hotel experience.

For more helpful tips and advice, call our friendly team on 01685 353 4456 or go to www.mitrelinen.com

Susan Bland - Redefine|BDL

In Conversation: Redefine|BDL’s Susan Bland on Brexit Plans

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As Brexit negotiations kick off and uncertainty lingers following the general election, there are growing concerns over the UK’s pipeline of skilled employees, particularly within the hospitality industry. Redefine|BDL Hotels’ (RBH) Chief Human Resources Officer, Susan Bland, explains why the hotel industry should keep calm and carry on attracting and developing the best talent.

The UK’s leading independent hotel management group has an expert team of over 110 hotel specialists based in offices in London, Glasgow and Frankfurt. Its portfolio of more than 45 properties unites over 8,000 rooms and 2,500 employees throughout its managed and leased properties.

In an industry that will undoubtedly be impacted by any final deal extended to the UK by the EU due to its employee demographic, RBH is already starting to make plans to strengthen its employee pipeline.

Susan, who chairs the Hotel Employers Group (HEG) – which represents the majority of the UK hotel industry’s biggest businesses – says that while Brexit negotiations will take time, attracting more home-grown talent is a much-needed step towards injecting new blood into the hotel industry, and should be the priority.

She said: “HEG is working closely with the British Hospitality Association (BHA) as it develops its Brexit strategy. It’s an impressive piece of work, which focuses on a 10-year plan including ‘rebranding’ the industry to make it more attractive to the UK workforce looking for long-term careers, by tackling the long-standing stigma of unsociable hours, low pay and the belief that hotel work is ‘just a holiday job’.

“It’s a strategy that is required regardless of the current political and economic climate – it just becomes more time-bound if we see the European employee pipeline dry up as a result of uncertainty or fear caused by ongoing Brexit negotiations.”

And while HEG is pulling together a comprehensive plan of action, RBH is working on attracting more home-grown talent and upskilling its existing employees.

Susan continued: “The HEG strategy is targeted at numerous groups across the UK, from ex-service personnel and their families, to the next generation of potential employees and their parents as influencers on career choice.

“At RBH we’re already working to herald the ‘return of the Saturday job’, as we call it. We want to work with young people to attract them to the hotel industry and instil in them a strong work ethic. We’re also developing our apprenticeship programme in line with the new standards and focusing on building on our great base of existing talent, such as developing our kitchen porters into chefs.”

While the focus is on developing and nurturing the UK employee pipeline, Susan does recognise potential issues that Brexit could cause for RBH and other businesses within the industry.

Of RBH’s total UK workforce, 27% are EU Nationals, but the figure rises to around 40 per cent in London – which is consistent with the UK average within the hotel industry.

She said: “So far, a number of our European team members have been sitting tight and waiting to see what happens as negotiations take place, but staff retention has been impacted to a certain extent following the EU referendum.

“The devaluation of the pound – which means some European employees haven’t been able to provide for their families as much as they had hoped – coupled with uncertainty has pushed a number of these employees to return home over the last year.

“However, we haven’t come across any issues in terms of recruitment. Our pool of applicants is exceptionally diverse, and there hasn’t been a substantial shift in our applicant profile, which is great to see.”

Although the most recent developments have seen the publication of plans for EU citizens to achieve ‘settled status’ – with the same residency, employment, health, welfare and pension rights – after five years in the country, uncertainty remains until these plans are confirmed.

And while there is an element of uncertainty, Susan is pleased to see the Government prioritising the rights of EU Nationals and the potential impact on free movement and the labour market as part of its negotiations in Brussels.

She said: “As a business, we had accepted that there would likely be some form of restriction around free movement, and removing uncertainty for European employees has always been key. I’m glad the Prime Minister is prioritising this.

“While the current plans would see those resident in the UK for five years granted ‘settled status’, there are still uncertainties around other EU Nationals who have lived in the UK for shorter time periods. On that front, if any restrictions were to be imposed, we would like to see these introduced via a phased approach.

“I’d be frustrated to see any EU Nationals tied into the existing sponsorship programme for non-EU workers, which is very onerous. Simplicity will be key.”

Susan – and the wider RBH team – will be focusing on factors within their control when it comes to Brexit, and urges employees and prospective industry employees to do the same.

She said: “The government is just weeks into negotiations. In the meantime, I’d urge anyone from Europe living in the UK and keen on working in the industry to take any and all available opportunities, and to get the required paperwork started if applying for citizenship is a consideration. The negotiations will take time, and it’s business as usual for us.”

www.redefinebdl.com

Queen's Speech - BHA opinion on Brexit

Brexit Opinion: BHA responds to Queen’s Speech

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In a pared-back Queen’s Speech on 21 June, Theresa May’s Government set out its legislative agenda for the next two years.

The speech focused on Britain’s future outside the European Union with a focus on industries such as agriculture and fishing, along with the Great Repeal Bill and an Immigration Bill. A Travel Protection Bill will be introduced to protect holidaymakers by updating the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays.

The speech opened with a promise to work with business to build consensus on Britain’s future outside the EU.

Ufi Ibrahim, the Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “The hospitality and tourism industry, the fourth largest in the UK, looks forward to working with Ministers to build the widest consensus on Britain’s future outside the EU. The Government is already aware of the industry’s vital need to have continuing access, in the short term, to the EU labour market while we encourage more UK workers to take up a career in hospitality and tourism.

“We have also made clear that the National Living Wage should be decided by the Low Pay Commission after 2020.

“The trade bills announced to help British businesses export to markets around the world should also consider that tourism is the UK’s sixth largest export. With this in mind it is essential that the immigration system encourages, rather than deters tourism to the UK and allows visa-free access for Europeans.”

www.bha.org.uk

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry

Brexit A Year On – Opinion: ‘Perfect storm’ on the way for UK hospitality industry

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Heidrick & Struggles , a premier provider of executive search, leadership consulting and culture shaping worldwide, spoke to Chairmen and Chief Executives from some of the biggest organisations in the industry, representing businesses with revenues of over £40 billion and employing more than a million people across the UK. While views on their specific business or sector could vary, the overarching theme was one of significant concern.

The report by Heidrick & Struggles, in partnership with the British Hospitality Association, found a range of issues worrying industry leaders. Most notably, rising costs are high up the agenda, with the fall in the pound following Britain’s decision to leave the EU having a huge impact on the cost of key imports that is yet to be felt by consumers. One CEO complained about the cost of butter, with an increased cost to her business of 46%, while another was seeing meat costs rise by 29%. This will mean higher bills for diners and holidaymakers, but according the majority of CEOs, consumers are yet to react negatively to price rises because the majority of these costs are yet to hit them.

Businesses in the sector are anticipating a recruitment gap of over a million jobs by 2029, according to a report by the BHA and KPMG earlier this year, which would mean the industry would need to recruit 60,000 UK workers in addition to sustained recruitment of 200,000 more per annum to meet the demands of growth. Filling these openings would likely be impossible without hiring migrant workers. Firms are heavily reliant on European workers, with half of CEOs reporting their workforce as 25-50%European, with more than a third of those businesses hiring EU citizens to fill 50-75% of their workforce.

According to the report, post-Brexit the hospitality industry pay bill will increase by £1.4 billion in the first year, and could rise by just over £1 billion a year over three years, amounting to a total cost of £3.2 billion. Wider economic changes are also adding to the pressure for the hospitality and leisure sector as business rates rise, and the apprenticeship levy and pensions auto-enrolment begin.

Ben Twynam, Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, said: “We have seen real concern from the most senior people across the hospitality industry, not only about talent and other Brexit-related concerns, but due to a number of headwinds facing the industry. With the cost of imports continuing to rise, increasing prices for customers and an expectation of decreasing consumer confidence in 2018 and 2019, there are a number of challengers facing businesses across the sector. While industry leaders are relatively confident about the remainder of 2017, they are far more pessimistic about the two years thereafter, when the real impact of Brexit will come to fruition.”

Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “It is no exaggeration to say that hospitality and tourism face a perfect storm which is well articulated by our industry’s top executives in this report – a looming recruitment crisis caused by cuts to come in EU immigration, rising costs on both materials and labour, increased business rates and a tax regime that favours our European competitors. We have been urgently discussing these matters with the last government and will do so with the next. Our 10-year strategy to encourage more UK workers into the industry has been well received and we have confidence that with government support we can continue to grow what is the fourth largest industry in the UK.”

The hospitality and leisure industry is the fourth-largest employer in the UK, with 4.5 million people working in more than 180,000 businesses across the country.

Guest Blog: Rob Sykes on the future of hotel design

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As the global hospitality marketplace evolves and travelers’ preferences shift, what are the future trends that hotel designers need to anticipate? And how can we be visionary in our approach to each and every assignment? Rob Skyes, senior associate WATG shares his thoughts…

Our industry constantly yearns for innovation, with each hotel brand and independent operator seeking ways in which they can differentiate themselves to gain their own unique space in a very crowded marketplace. However, ‘out of the box’ thinking must always be balanced with economic pragmatism. Ultimately, hotels, as a real estate asset class, are challenging. Any investment risk must be justified by the requisite financial rewards.

Hospitality industry experts first started talking about brand proliferation in the mid-1990s. Over the years, we have seen a torrent on independent innovators and brand extensions from the major operators. Indeed, today, the big six hotel companies hold an incredible 90 brands between them. With such saturation in the marketplace, our clients are asking us one key question: How can we differentiate to get ahead?

Future of hotel designTrends of the last five years include themes such as the rise of ‘localised’ design, trendy independent ‘lifestyle’ hotels and animated public areas. But what concepts are currently on our drawing boards at integrated hospitality design firm, WATG, that will be entering the market in the next few years?

Hospitality trends and influences: A healthy obsession Across the generations we have become preoccupied with our personal wellbeing – boomers strive to hold back the ravages of time, millennials aim to optimise their personal fitness. Our lives are jam-packed with wearables, apps, healthy-eating blogs, fitness mash-ups and endless pop-ups to lure us into the belief that if we become disciples we can live forever.

Rob SykesYet, the hotel sector, with a few notable exceptions, lags behind such innovations. Hotel fitness facilities remain largely traditional in nature. This has to change. That said, we do have some interesting brand combos and extensions happening. Equinox, the high end fitness operator is moving boldly into the hotel arena with its first property opening in New York in 2018. Likewise, 1 Hotel Miami Beach has teamed up with Soul Cycle to offer popular spin classes’ at the hotel.

But as consumers demand more bespoke fitness and wellness routines and a more experiential approach to the tedium of exercise, hotels and resorts will need to become more experimental and absorb some of the entrepreneurial ideas spinning around the fitness and beauty market.

We do not see a future of robot services and virtual reality experiences. Technology is expensive and quickly becomes dated. First-class hospitality will always require the ‘human touch’. Particularly true of resorts, consumers will increasingly seek to reconnect with nature, spend quality time with loved ones and return to ‘the simple life’. These principles are driving our designs of late; a return to analogue rather than digital. That said, there will of course be ways to utilize technology to enhance the guest experience. But we see these as subtle touches, rather than drastic interventions.

Future of hotel designWe experience ever-growing pressure, from both developers and consumers, for environmentally responsible and ‘resilient’ hotels and resorts. Many land owners we work with have a genuine commitment to stewardship, and we see this as integral to the enduring success of a project. Therefore, we must stay ahead of the curve regarding new construction techniques, the create reuse or ‘up-cycling’ of materials, and landscape design innovations that will help us deliver low-impact, yet beautiful hotels. In essence, we see our role as a master-craftsman of destinations, rather than ‘just another design firm’.

The trend away from the cookie-cutter hotel experience will gather pace. Developers will progressively ask us to define niche hospitality concepts. These will be bespoke to the demands of very specific and evolving target markets. Design concepts will focus increasingly on generational consumer and technology trends and the nuances in habits of specific geographic source markets. Unique, tailored hotel concepts tend to gain industrywide attention and despite their targeted strategy, often end up as part of the mainstream.

Rob Sykes is a Senior Associate on the global strategy team with WATG.  This article consolidates the thinking of WATG’s design teams in London and Singapore, covering architecture, interior design and landscape. WATG designers Tony Menezes, Kevin Scholl, Nicole Hammond, John Paul Pederson, John Goldwyn, Edouard Gillon, Christine McGinnis, and Tom Williams took part in the two cross-functional working groups, along with Rob Sykes.

About WATG
WATG is a leading integrated design firm, ranked second in the world among hotel architectural firms. WATG’s interior design firm, Wimberly Interiors, was ranked 10th by Interior Design Magazine in their 2016 Hospitality Giants survey.

HBAA serviced apartments industry spotlight

Opinion: HBAA profiles the growing Serviced Apartment sector

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The Alternative Accommodation Committee held its first educational event last week at the Park Regis, Birmingham. The event was well attended by 30 agents and 10 suppliers.

Erica Livermore, Alternative Accommodation Chair said: “This was an important event for us, it served to highlight the importance of a growing sector in hospitality and hopefully enlighten both agents and venues on the various buying behaviours and requirements by our corporate clients.”

The event took the form of a panel discussion, included in the panel were; Alex Neale, Head Account Manager for SilverDoor, Gavin Bailey, Operations Director for City Suits and Amy Chapman who is a Senior buyer for Siemens.

Chapman began buy detailing the main benefits for choosing this type of accommodation: “It has the comforts of home but with Hotel touches and flexibility on tenancy.” She went to explain that for long projects their teams need a ‘Home from Home’ base; “guests need a freedom to have a normal life while they are away from home, the ability to cook and relax in a home environment but with services available if needed, like a gym or laundry service.”

Neale explained for SilverDoor their typical users are those relocating, theatre workers, construction, IT, with an average stay of 2 months, he said: “Corporates are really starting to think about wellbeing much more and where there is a stay that is deemed too long to be comfortable in a Hotel and where there is a benefit to looking after yourself the Serviced Apartment is a clear choice”.

Bailey also highlighted the mix of clients, from pure leisure to those on very short projects. City Suites consciously put a minimum 4 night stay into their apartments and Bailey said: “The serviced apartment is a good all round product offering flexibility, short lead bookings, ease of use and transparency of billing”.

As a senior buying Chapman explained: “With serviced apartments we see quality and added value with a high level of service and better rates, we have seen up to 50% savings over hotel stays”. The panel inevitably was questioned over the Airbnb effect and what if any competition this brings to the sector, Chapman responded: “Health and Safety aspects and a record of where and how people are is key to us, we are asking ourselves the question about Airbnb but it’s how we make this work with these fundamental issues.”

Neal responded by saying: “You have on one hand the rigid fully-serviced Hotel product, then on the other someone’s house on Airbnb and sitting in the middle you have the Serviced Apartment with all the home comforts, services, quality assured and Health and Safety checked.”

Top Tips from the panellists were:
– Communication across all parties to ensure the briefs and needs are fully understood.
– Flexibility from both suppliers and agents, appreciating that corporates can’t always be tied into onerous contracts and that ‘one solution fits all’ is no longer viable.
– Choice and understanding the client’s needs, they are forever changing and any type of facility needs to be explored and presented back, the agent support in this area is vital.

Livermore concluded the lively discussion by thanking the panel and taking questions from the floor. She said “The HBAA is really delighted to be having these kind of educational discussions that certainly help us all understand our changing market place much better and in the end helps us give a better service to our clients”.

www.hbaa.org.uk

Ganesh Prasad Chelsom

Hotel Lighting Q&A: Ganesh Prasad – Chelsom Head of Technical

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Ganesh Prasad recently joined international lighting specialists Chelsom as Head of Technical. Having worked in India, the Middle East and the UK he brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of technical lighting with a speciality in LED light sources, their design and function.

Since he joined the company, Ganesh has noticed an interesting difference in the type and direction of technical questioning that comes from the interior design industry as against those from an architectural background. Questions tend to relate to creating ambience rather than the hard technical facts covering industry standards, detailed light output measurement etc.

Q: Are there any specific light level requirements for hotel guestrooms?
GP: To answer simply there is no specific legislation or standards relating to light levels in hotel guestrooms. However associations like CIBSE and SLL in the UK or IESNA in North America do set down guidelines rather than mandatory requirements. They would cover a suggested light level for task areas such as desk or reading areas like bedside or armchair. In essence though, the correct light levels for guestrooms are defined by guest satisfaction. The biggest single complaint registered by hotel visitors is the lack of sufficient lighting in guestrooms. Such spaces are multifunctional and designers should therefore build in sufficient light points with optimum light output to ensure guests can work, read, relax and live. There is one part of guestroom lighting which does however follow stringent regulations and that is emergency lighting for use during a power failure, fire or other emergency. Such requirements can be found in building regulations or codes which may vary according to region or type of property.

Q. If so how do we measure the light output of a decorative light fitting?
GP: The output from decorative light fittings is measured in lumens and it’s a numerical scale starting from zero which is complete darkness and going upwards. Photometric test equipment would be required in laboratory conditions to give an absolutely accurate lumen output reading but for example a 10W LED lamp will give an output of around 1000 lumens. Of course once that lamp is shrouded by a diffuser or fabric shade, lumen level will drop significantly.

Lighting Q&A with GaneshQ. Is there any difference between types of switch?
GP: Operationally there is no difference and when the switch is open, then the power is off and when the switch is closed the power reaches the light source. For aesthetic reasons, designers may choose a push button switch, a rocker switch, a toggle switch or a cord switch. Touch switches are another alternative but are often misunderstood in hotel guestrooms when the visitor looks frantically for a switch that isn’t there. Dimmer switches are of course another option and are usually of the rotary type or slide type.

I am often asked about two-way switching, in other words a light fitting that can be switched from the unit itself or from the entry point to the room. Technically it is entirely possible providing we are made aware of the requirement before manufacture so that a four core cable can be installed giving 2 separate lives.

Q. Dimming always seems complicated why is that?
GP: Dimming itself is not at all complicated. However there are many types of dimming systems and technologies in the marketplace just as there are many different types of dimmable lamps or light sources. Where confusion can arise is in the compatibility of the systems, the intermediate switching and the lamps themselves. This confusion arises particularly with LED light sources whose compatibility needs more care. The simple answer is ask a specialist such as Chelsom who can advise on the best lamp and dimming technology combinations which will ensure a full range of smooth dimming without flicker or noise.

Q. LED lamps seem to be the only way forward is this right?
GP: Yes! Legislation over recent years has banned the manufacture of higher wattage less efficient lamp types; LED’s consume far less energy than other lamp options; they last up to ten times longer than a compact fluorescent equivalent; they are dimmable; they now give out a wide range of colour temperatures including the same warm light as incandescent; they contain no toxic substance such as mercury nor give out any UV glare; they are instant start with no flicker and most importantly costs continue to come down through mass production.

Q. Can you explain IP?
GP: IP stands for Ingress Protection and ratings consist of 2 numerical digits on a scale of 0-9, the first digit covering solids such as dust or insects and the second liquids. Most interior hospitality lighting products should have an IP20 rating which basically means it is not possible to access internal electrics and live parts. Bathroom lighting would require, in certain cases, an IP44 rating meaning luminaires are fairly well protected against solid ingress and water ingress. What is important in bathrooms are the zones which are described in the attached diagram and which cover areas created by the bath or shower and areas within 600mm of the bath or shower. For zone 1 only low voltage fittings with a minimum rating IPX5 are allowed. For zone 2 fittings with a minimum rating of IPX4 are required. Outside zone 2 any luminaires can be used providing they are protected by an RCD.

Lighting Q&A with GaneshQ. What is colour temperature?
GP: The colour temperature of a lamp relates to how the human eye sees the colour emitted from a light source once it’s illuminated. The range is from a ‘cold light’ to a ‘warm light’ and the colder the temperature, the more blue is involved and the warmer the temperature, the more red is involved. The colour temperature itself is measured in Kelvins and the higher numbers are colder say 6000 Kelvins with the lower numbers being warmer say 2000 Kelvins. Recent scientific research has shown that a colder blue light makes you more alert as it gives the feeling of bright light in the middle of the day. Warmer red light is more relaxing as it replicates dusk at the end of the day. There are no legal or guideline requirements for colour temperature in hotel guestrooms but once again guest satisfaction is the driving force. The general consensus is that 2700 Kelvin gives the right ambience as it is the closest to incandescent light which we have all been used to for a hundred years.

Q. Is it easy to fit USB ports and will the same port charge all devices?
GP: A USB port requires sufficient space including a depth of about 30mm. As long as a table lamp base or wall light backplate has that space it is relatively easy to fit the ports. There are 3 different types of ports relating to the 3 different types of connector in the marketplace. We usually work with Type A which is widely used with most smartphones and tablets. The voltage required for all devices is 5V but the amperage varies from device to device. For example an iPad will take 2.1A and an iPhone will take 0.5A. You need to be sure therefore that the USB connectors are compatible with the higher load capacity in order to charge all devices.

Ganesh adds “I joined Chelsom at a very exciting time for guestroom lighting. Not only is LED technology developing extremely fast but dimming systems and guestroom lighting management systems are playing a large part. Lighting management can create huge savings in running costs whilst giving the guests a more satisfying stay at the hotel. The crucial thing is to talk to the experts and talk to them early in the project.”

marketing@chelsom.co.uk
01253 831401

chelsom.co.uk

Artificial Intelligence in hospitality industry

Opinion: How Artificial Intelligence will change the hospitality industry

715 369 Daniel Fountain

Michael Toedt, Managing Partner and CEO at TS&C GmbH talks about a fascinating and at the same time scary topic entering our working world: Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many industries are already looking for ways to apply AI. So far, not much activity can be seen in the hospitality industry…

More Individuality through Big Data
Artificial Intelligence is a key element of Big Data – also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The rational behind is simple and complex at the same time: to find out as much as possible about a customer by using comprehensive data management to then use the insights in order to meet the customer’s individual needs. Big Bata stands for individuality. The essential resource is data – huge amounts of data. The maxim is the more data, the better.

Machine Learning is an aspect of Artificial Intelligence, which generates valuable information from more or less useless data. Systems like the Profile Engine by dailypoint™ help to draw conclusions from each booking, each click and each movement. This helps hoteliers to create a constantly growing and learning centralized guest profile.

Central Data Management is the Key
The prerequisite for Machine Learning is a centralized system, where all relevant data streams are linked and the data is stored. Many hotels still use isolated solutions without sufficient linkage, which prevents valuable use of the available data. The constantly growing flood of data can only be leveraged when using a CDM (Central Data Management), which is the consequent evolution of a modern CRM.

Machine Learning helps to create a comprehensive guest profile, which can be used to create a unique customer journey and guest experience. Modern consumers expect tailor-made solutions at all touch points – from the first contact to the proposal, during the actual stay and in CRM. To live ones individuality and to make personalized experiences is the new luxury. This is also valid for hotel stays. The better you know your customer, the better you can adapt your offering and personalize the guest experience.

Mass Commodity Products are passé
Such a comprehensive knowledge base can only be created with the support of Machine Learning. The goal is to create unique experiences for all your customers and not just a few! This will give you a clear competitive advantage and will show in positive economic results. Also mass commodity hotel products are passé. It makes no longer sense to gain information about the guest by observation and manual processing of the gained information. Questionnaires or observations are outdated; new approaches using the new technology can bring much more information. Hoteliers will know more about their guests than ever before, more than most people can imagine today. The information just needs to be used in a creative and targeted manner.

The intelligent hotel
Intelligent hotels, where all data streams are linked, are the future. In an intelligent hotel all systems are interlinked, similar to an organism where everything is connected and supplied through veins and arteries. The Internet of Things (IoT) will help to further develop the personalized guest experience. The connection of room control, motion sensors, the integrated TV and voice control systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana are developments which will also impact the hospitality industry.

We are facing quite some changes and it’s wise to face them, as this is only the beginning of a huge change process.

Photos credit: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

Opinion: Demographics and digitisation driving hotel industry change

1000 602 Daniel Fountain

Catalysts of change including the shift in global economic powers, demographics and ageing populations, and the impact of digitisation were some of the hot topics discussed live on stage during the opening sessions of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2017 (AHIC), being held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai from 25-27 April, 2017 and organised by Bench Events and MEED.

Now in its 13th year, the annual knowledge and networking platform for the global hospitality investment community, AHIC, attracted more than 700 delegates eager to learn more about the Catalysts of Change influencing the evolving persona of the hotel guest and driving innovation among hotel owners and operators alike.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR and Co-Founder of AHIC, introduced AHIC with the assistance of a robot co-host created by Isukashi, setting the scene for discussions on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and other technological breakthroughs.

Commenting on the trends, Worsley said: “In the lead-up to AHIC during many conversations with our speakers, sponsors and the AHIC Advisory Board, it became clear that technology in its many and varied forms would be one of the major Catalysts of Change for the hospitality industry in the coming years. We wanted to give our delegates a demonstration of this with our AHIC robot and set the scene for three days of dynamic conversations.”

Worsley addressed these issues in the opening keynote session with Chris Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton, which this week announced it has the largest active pipeline in the GCC in terms of both rooms and properties, with more than 16,000 keys under construction and scheduled to open before 2020, according to STR.

Chris Nassetta said that while AI and robotics would be a part of Hilton’s future, at its core Hilton is a “business of people serving people”.

“Our Team Members differentiate Hilton by delivering an exceptional experience, something that is different from what people can get in another place, something that’s special, something that’s memorable, something that makes them want to come back,” commented Nassetta. “The way I think of innovation, is how do we take the core of what we do and make it even better?”

The topic of technological breakthroughs, such as AI, was identified as one of the top five megatrends by PwC Middle East’s Partner and Deals Real Estate Leader Dr. Martin Berlin, who unveiled the new PwC Report Global Megatrends and their impact on Hospitality in the Middle East at AHIC.

The trends presented by PwC were: Demographic and Social Change, with a polarising demand shift from the Silver Tourist to the Millennials and Generation Z; Shift in Global Economic Powers, as emerging economies are expected to surpass advanced economies in terms of international tourism arrivals by 2020; Accelerating Urbanisation, with 40 global megacities forecast by 2025; Climate Change and Resource Scarcity, predicted to impact the attractiveness of the Middle East as a destination; and Technological Breakthroughs, with connectivity as a key component of this.

As Dr. Berlin explained: “The travel and tourism industry has witnessed rapid and fundamental infiltration of digitisation across the entire value chain. Combined with the demographic and social change the digitisation will lead to a change of the ‘delivery’ of hospitality products and services.”

These game-changing trends, or Catalysts of Change, shaped much of the conversation in the opening CEOs’ panel session, featuring Stefan Leser, Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group; Olivier Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group; Steven Daines, CEO New Businesses and CEO HotelServices Africa and Middle East, AccorHotels; Alex Kyriakidis, President and MD, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International; and Robert Welanetz, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Properties & Acting CEO Majid Al Futtaim Hotels, moderated by Dr Berlin.

Photos credit: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

Photos credit: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

Referring to the five PwC trends, Alex Kyriakidis said: “To take a couple and put them on the top, unquestionably there would be technology and not just its impact on the guest and the consumer but also on the way we operate. The second trend [to highlight] would be demographics – the changing demographics and what does that mean for technology and everything else that we do”.

The panelists were in agreement and emphasised the fact that technology impacted both the front- and back-of-house functions of their business. At Emaar Hospitality Group, Olivier Harnisch, who took up his role on March 1, 2017, said he was interested in the potential of IoT and near-field communications to “really change the nature of our guests’ stay”.

Harnisch commented: “If you think about it, a guest’s stay is still full of friction, right? All of us travel a lot and just think about how many tasks are repetitive…you have to programme your safe, reset the shower, set up the gym equipment…all this uses data that is available and could be automated with the two functions [IoT and near-field communication] that I mentioned.”

Stefan Leser said he was focused on using IoT and digitisation, which he referred to as Industry 4.0, to enable Jumeirah Group “to run hotels in a very different manner”, using predictive maintenance in favour of preventative maintenance as an example.

Accor’s Steven Daines said he believed there is a “disruption going on that is much wider and much deeper” regarding the way that consumers look at travel and hospitality as a whole.

“Technology and intelligence and data are going to be the major disrupters in the coming years and that’s in two ways,” said Daines.

Firstly, he said they would impact the way hoteliers both extract data and feed databases in a worthwhile way to personalise services and secondly, Daines predicted that the consumer would have access to better data as they researched travel and accommodation.

“It’s so time consuming and tiring today to look for a holiday and I’m sure the intelligence will improve for the customer as well, and that’s something I’m not sure we are quite prepared for,” observed Daines.

On the subject of planning and preparation, speaking from the investor’s perspective, Robert Welanetz, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, said he believed owners and operators faced a big challenge considering the vast investment technology required versus the risk of its “shelf-life until the next best idea”. Here, Stefan Leser urged the industry to focus predominately on the impact of the technology, not the timing of it.

“In my role as CEO I need to make the calls about where the true impact lies. I need to be right on the impact, I don’t need to be right on the timing. If there is one conclusion out of the last 10 years of technology, a lot of times you have underestimated the impact and you have overestimated the time of arrival and I think that is one of the conclusions that we need to be right on”.

The conversation at AHIC will continue over the next two days, with future discussions centred around topics including the mid-market, asset management, overseas investment, F&B, brands, third-party management and alternative investment models.

Susan Bland - Redefine|BDL

Opinion: ‘Redefine|BDL Hotels will embrace new apprenticeship levy’

600 400 Daniel Fountain

The complexities of the newly-introduced apprenticeship levy shouldn’t detract from the fact that, with careful planning, it can help drive productivity and close the skills gap across the UK, says Redefine|BDL Hotels’ (RBH) Chief Human Resources Officer, Susan Bland.

The UK’s leading independent hotel management group has an expert team of over 110 hotel specialists based in offices in London, Glasgow and Frankfurt – while its portfolio of more than 50 properties unites over 3,000 hotel rooms in the UK alone.

With the apprenticeship levy now in force, RBH and its hotels will contribute more than £75,000 per year to the accounts used to fund apprenticeships across the country.

Susan, who chairs the Hotel Employers Group (HEG) – which represents the majority of the UK hotel industry’s biggest businesses – says that RBH will not simply focus on the levy.

She said: “It’s easy to overlook the fact that 6 April represented a complete overhaul of how apprenticeships in the UK are structured and delivered – not just the introduction of the levy. The latter has become something of a focal point because of the financial implications, but at RBH we are focusing on the bigger picture.

“We have re-structured our existing apprenticeship programme to aim specifically at Level 2 Commis Chef, Level 2 Hospitality Team Member and Level 3 Hospitality Team Leader, in order to help tackle the existing skills shortage for chefs, and to strengthen our pipeline of skilled team members and leaders.”

While the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards, and the levy as a means to fund apprenticeship programmes, have the potential to tackle skills shortages – and drive productivity – Susan warns that businesses will need to revise their recruitment practices to attract a more diverse group of prospective apprentices.

She continued: “Feedback on previous apprenticeships from some employers has been less than favourable but, as the new standards are far more straightforward and stipulate a 12-month minimum learning term followed by a rigorous assessment process, I believe they should result in better trained, more confident, work-ready apprentices ready to step into permanent positions.”

RBH currently has 18 apprentices, with a further 74 having completed qualifications since the beginning of 2016 which have been delivered in conjunction with specialist training partner, Lifetime Training.

The company aims to take on 50 new apprentices by the end of 2018. In putting these new apprentices through their paces, RBH’s internal learning and development programmes can now be mapped against the new standards, with Lifetime Training taking the lead on the remaining areas and the final assessment.

Setting new targets and making the most of the opportunities afforded by the new standards may not be as simple for companies without an existing, robust learning and development framework aimed at apprentices – as the levy will not cover the costs associated with setting up a whole programme.

Susan said: “The levy is quite restrictive on what it can and can’t be used for. For example, it can’t be used for salaries, which could mean a company having to add the full cost associated with adding a new employee to their payroll in order to be able to spend the levy on the person’s development.

“This may lead to some businesses changing permanent vacancies to apprenticeship roles instead, which would lead to no additional payroll cost – but wouldn’t result in an additional job role. Some companies may revise their training budgets and decide to offer fewer learning and development opportunities for others as a result.

“I’m aware of some companies which have decided the administrative, cultural and financial challenges of the levy outweigh the return of having an apprenticeship programme in place and are therefore treating the levy as a tax.”

As well as the administrative, cultural and financial challenges, Susan also highlights additional complexities that businesses have had to deal with in preparation for the levy introduction. She continued: “The connected companies part of the legislation is quite complex, and has led to RBH exploring the multiple business interests of some of its hotel owners in order to establish whether it applies. Where it does apply, it means the £15,000 Government allowance which offsets the levy for payrolls of less than £3 million per annum has to be split between multiple businesses.”

Despite these complexities, Susan and her RBH colleagues are looking forward to rolling out the new standards and ensuring a focus on having robust development plans in place which help nurture talent and achieve business goals.

She said: “We are keen to ensure we create opportunities for growth and career development that attract new people to both RBH and the wider hospitality industry moving forward.”

www.redefinebdl.com

Guest Blog: Art Hide – Dress up hotel interiors with luxurious carpets and rugs

600 400 Guest Blog

Caroline Modig of Art Hide shares her thoughts on the role flooring and carpets play in the first impressions of guests…

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The main aim of all hospitality establishments is to form lasting impressions and ensure a trail of happy guests, since there’s no possibility of success without satisfied customers. Making guests happy, as we all know, is a difficult task indeed.

When they stay at a hotel, people expect everything to be perfect – inside and out. They will notice even the smallest detail, and most of them tend to be extremely picky. Interior design plays a huge role in the impression they take away, so you need to get everything just right. Start with what they notice first, which is the flooring and carpets.

Art Hide - Carpets and flooringThe Importance of Flooring and Carpeting in Hotels
Not only does the right flooring and carpeting attract people’s attention, it can also help make them feel more at ease. Beautiful floors and comfortable carpeting can improve guest satisfaction, which in turn affects your class and star ratings, review scores and reputation. This ties in to room rates and ROI, impacting your profitability.

While there’s a wide range of flooring options available, some of the most popular options for hotels include:
• Hardwood
• Granite
• Marble
• Carpet
• Vinyl
• Laminate
• Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
• Decorative Concrete

Many of these materials are often accentuated with area rugs, which can be used to separate and define a space by adding visual and textural contrast. Patterned rugs are often used in high-traffic areas, while cowhide rugs can add warmth and sophistication to lounges, guests’ rooms and lobbies.

What to Consider while Picking Materials
Here are some factors to consider while choosing flooring and carpets for hotels:
• Aesthetics – Just like the other four walls in any area, the floor or “fifth wall” needs to please the eye as well. Floors should look luxurious, and complement the rest of the décor and design elements within each space.

• Comfort – People want to be pampered in a hotel, with the most restful beds and cozy furnishings. Soft hide rugs or plush carpets can help them feel even more comfortable, and add a touch of warmth to any space.

• Safety – Floors and carpets should not be slippery if they are exposed to water, dust, etc. Make sure to take the viscosity and slipperiness of each material into account, especially in bathrooms and near exterior spaces.

• Acoustics – Carpeting plays a key role in reducing noise within an interior space, and can help to soften sounds within a room as well as from adjoining rooms. This creates a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere for guests.

Art Hide Carpets and Flooring

• Durability – Hotel floors see a lot of traffic, and they need to be created with durable materials that will last. Remember, it’s not just foot traffic from guests and staff you need to think about, but also trolley wheels and other heavy items.

• Maintenance – Spills, stains and dirt are bound to send guests packing, so easy-to-clean flooring and carpeting is best. Certain designs also hide stains, while materials such as animal hide or leather are very easy to clean.

• Branding – Flooring and carpeting can also emphasize the concept and brand of your establishment. For instance, animal hides and rugs paired with wooden or marble flooring add a distinctive touch to luxury hotel interiors.

• Cost – The flooring you choose should fit your design and installation budget, but trying to cut costs with cheaper options could do more harm than good. If you want your flooring and carpeting to last, invest in quality materials.

Choose materials that add value to your interiors, boosting both visual appeal and comfort. Carpeting and rugs are a great way to enhance rooms and leisure areas, but they’re equally perfect for cheering up hallways, receptions, foyers and entrances. For a sense of luxury, try cowhide rugs or other natural materials.

Your hotel needs to look beautiful, luxurious and inviting right from the moment a guest steps in, so give the floors some attention too!

Caroline Modig works at Art Hide and oversees their marketing and promotional efforts. Her passion for interior design and the knowledge she gained over the years allows her to find time from her busy schedule to write informative blogs about interior trends, popular styling tips and everything related. When she isn’t working or writing, you can find her relaxing to some contemporary jazz while solving puzzles.

www.arthide.co/

Dave Hart Redefine|BDL Hotels - opinion on business rates

Opinion: Hotel specialists focus on returns and reform after business rates increases

909 597 Daniel Fountain

Keeping calm and focusing on the job at hand whilst lobbying for change should be top of the agenda for hospitality businesses in the wake of increasing business rates, says Redefine|BDL Hotels’ (RBH) Chief Financial Officer, David Hart.

The UK’s leading independent hotel management company oversees a portfolio of more than 50 properties facing business rate hikes averaging 29% – with increases for individual hotels of up to 142% – in the coming financial year.

But RBH’s Chief Financial Officer says the business will be focusing on what it does best – transforming hotels and striving to increase returns for their owners to lessen the impact of increasing costs – while lobbying for change in the background.

He said: “The hotel owners we work with will be directly, and significantly, impacted by changing business rates – just one of many rising costs facing the hospitality industry. It’s not a cost that can be easily offset by directly-related price increases for the end customer, so we’re taking a pragmatic approach and continuing to focus on generating healthy returns for our owners by looking at how we can transform every part of their hotel’s business so that any increases won’t hit them as hard.”

David continued: “All owners – particularly smaller independent properties – are going to feel property rate increases bite, mainly because of what we see as fundamental flaws in the system. The approach to revaluation is very much ‘one size fits all’ in a given region or industry, and doesn’t necessarily account for factors that are important for hospitality businesses, like presence of new hotels and the impact of third party booking agent commissions on net revenue.”

Lobbying for system reform is high on the RBH agenda but, with operating hotels being its area of expertise, it engages third party business rates experts to negotiate with valuation officers, and to make RBH’s views known to the people who matter – the policymakers.

David explained: “Our use of experts to negotiate the business rates position leaves us free to focus on what we do best, while letting our hotel owners benefit from the expertise of those firms.

“This approach has already paid immediate dividends for us with an initial group of hotels having significantly improved on their 40% increases that were originally communicated to a revised average increase of 26%. One hotel in particular had a draft increase of 33% which has been successfully negotiated down to only a 2% increase.”

And while politicians have sought to address the wide-ranging feelings of frustration, this doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.

David said: “The measures announced by the Scottish and UK Governments only offer temporary relief to select groups – or leave the final decision on who gets help to local authorities. While every little helps, it doesn’t address the core issue, which is the perception of the existing system for revaluing business rates as a non-transparent, blanket approach used to impose increasing, unexplained costs on all businesses no matter their circumstances.

“We’re keen to see fundamental reform, with a more bespoke approach taken by evaluators that really takes account of individual circumstances and which gives businesses certainty over their cost base in the longer term.

“In the meantime, we’ll be rolling up our sleeves and focusing on what we do best – transforming hotels and generating superior returns for our hotel owners.”

www.redefinebdl.com

Paris 'hot spot' for hotel investment

Paris revealed as number one ‘hot spot’ for hotel investment in Europe

960 477 Daniel Fountain

Paris has reached the top of Colliers International’s inaugural Hotel Investment Attractiveness Index, an analysis of the investment climate of 20 European cities, despite predictions that investors and tourists would lose faith in the city due to political uncertainty and the perceived threat following various national security breaches.

Paris’ lead ranking is due to its high demand growth, strong hotel performance, high investment returns and market depth from 2012-2016.

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International

Dirk Bakker, Head of EMEA Hotels, Colliers International said: “Investors are regularly requiring the latest information on cities where they will receive high returns, which in a politically and economically uncertain world, is often difficult to predict. Our index provides us with something more than anecdotal evidence through which to advise our clients.

“According to our latest data, Paris scored highly in terms of valuation exit yields and hotel investment volume between 2007 and 2016. Paris also saw over 15 million international tourists visit the city in 2015 and witnessed average hotel occupancy levels of over 77 per cent from 2012-2016.”

The Colliers index uses twelve metric components, weighted to give each of the 20 locations a score of up to 400, including population; GDP per capital; total workforce; commuting workforce; tourist arrivals; room occupancy; Average Daily Rate (ADR); Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR); Land site prices; Building costs; Valuation exit yields and investment volumes. These scores were then consolidated into a single figure and ranked to show which markets are hot in terms of overall demand, their recent operating performance and how this ties into the attractiveness of each market with regards to the acquisition of existing hotels and for the development of new ones.

Here are some of the highlights:
• London and Barcelona came out as the second and third most interesting cities to invest in, closely followed by Amsterdam and Berlin.
• The story for the top two cities, London and Paris, is very similar, but Paris pips London to the top by virtue of having slightly lower development costs. Low development costs is one of the areas in which Barcelona excels, increasing the overall attractiveness of the city ahead of Amsterdam sitting in fourth place. In all other areas, these two cities have very similar performance ratings.
• At the other end of the scale, although the development cost component scores very highly for Bucharest, this is not enough to compensate for low demand appetite and the lack of a hotel investment market, so it has been ranked the lowest.
• Istanbul has been ranked relatively low at number 17, despite the size of the market, helping drive a good overall demand score and low development costs. However, the operational performance lags behind due to low occupancy rates, leading to lower returns on investment. The current political and economic climate is not particularly conducive to a robust investment market.
• Zürich is the most interesting city to watch out for in the future, as its operational performance has been excellent in the last few years, suggesting an under-supply of quality hotel stock. Hotel investment interest is high, and if demand for the city continues to increase, it may become one of the most popular cities for new development and investment, despite the high development costs.
• Manchester and Dublin also perform highly, where hotel performance exceeds demand. The case for an increase in business demand growth in both cities looks very strong in the coming years, which should increase their attractiveness to developers and investors alike.

Damian Harrington, Director Head of EMEA Research at Colliers International adds: “With the Hotel Investment Attractiveness Index, we were able to create a unique analysis of a very dynamic market. By combining the twelve variables, we can generate far more of an insight into the current hotel industry and even predict what could lie ahead.”

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

Guest Blog – TowerEight: 13 things about hotel construction

767 407 Guest Blog

Thousands of new hotel rooms have to be built every year to cater for demand in the UK. More than 7,000 will be built in London in one year alone.

According to PWC, the hotel occupancy rate in the UK’s capital is as much as 84%. With nearly 150,000 hotel rooms in London that is a lot of bookings, and the average room rate is £145. With the hotel market continuing to grow, specialist teams are put in place by developers to ensure that rooms are up to the standards that guests demand in modern, world-class facilities.

The following list from TowerEight highlights the specialist considerations that developers need to think about when building a new hotel, and how both art and science are involved in creating the perfect hotel room…

1. What To Do With Corridors
Corridors are a tricky issue in hotel developments given that they are non-revenue generating, yet still need to feature on almost all levels. A sign of a good hotel architect is the minimal use of corridors wherever possible, without compromising the design, to maximise revenue-generating space. Alternatively, corridors can be used to generate revenue, whether by showcasing artwork that can be purchased by guests or as an advertising space for food and beverage offers.

2. If Everyone Has a Bath at the Same Time…
Most boilers in hotels are oversized and only run at 60% efficiency. Even ‘green’ hotels are only able to handle 75% of the peak demand. So, with average occupancy at 84%, hotels have to hope that guests don’t all choose to have a bath at the same time. Though, with the most popular times for ablution being pre-breakfast, and pre-dinner, it must be close sometimes.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

3. Wear and Tear
Hotel furnishing and fittings are gauged by “rub rate” i.e. the amount of wear they can take. Hotel designers choose a fabric for curtains and carpets by its ability to be hard-wearing. In a top London hotel, cashmere may be used for the curtains, cushions and throws, with a typical rub rate in the low thousands. In cost-conscious hotels, a wool mix carpet would be expected to be trodden on more than 2,000 times!

4. Cost Per Key
Working with hotel developers, you will frequently hear the term ‘cost per key’ as opposed to cost per sqm/sq. ft. as used in commercial/residential sectors.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts
5. The Environment

Increasingly, environmentally conscious hotels are utilising ‘greywater’. This is recycled (and filtered onsite) water taken from showers and reused to flush toilets. In these hotels, you have a one in two chance of having come across the same water during a long stay! However, this solution is obviously much better for the environment.

6. How Often to Paint
Hotels are typically refurbished every three to four years, dependent on the level of maintenance they receive and the planned level of fatigue for the room décor at the time of construction. Refurbished does not mean redesigned, a refurb might mean a lick of paint and a deep clean. On average, a budget hotel room may receive more than 20 tins of paint in a 10-year period, compared to more than 40 tins in one of London’s luxury hotels.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

7. Clever Design Tricks
Many guests assume a little undercut to their bathroom door means it is poor fitting, but it’s actually a regular design facet of many hotels, there to help air circulation and extract moisture from the bathroom.

8. Keeping Up With Trends
Tea and coffee making facilities (TCMF) are a bit of a throwback and there is a developing trend of incorporating social hubs into hotel lobbies, receptions and surrounding pop-ups instead. We predict that TCMF will continue to reduce, or evolve into something more personalised.

9. Practical Colour Schemes
It is rare to find a hotel room with solid colours – patterns, flecks and multiple colours are nearly always used to hide wear and tear or stains!

10. Fresh Air
Fresh air to a room either comes through the window, if it can be opened, or is ducted in through the system – typically installed in the lobby. Hotels of more than three stories will rarely ever have windows that can open fully because of the threat of legal action around any unfortunate guest that tries to climb out.

TowerEight - Hotel Construction facts

11. Solving Problems
Hotels are traditionally graded by the views (i.e. sea view) so internal hotel rooms are generally perceived as a lower class and let at lower rates. The aim is to achieve 100% occupancy at maximum rate. To get around this, designers make clever use of light-boxes and light rails in corridors to imitate light, allowing hoteliers to successfully let internal rooms with no natural light. The irony of the situation is that most people check in post 5:30pm when it’s already dark outside.

12. Height Challenges
Hotel signage at high level is often installed by abseilers. A team of between two to three guys can erect a 10-metre hotel sign, more than 10 stories high, in just 48 hours.

13. Tradition
Most hotels don’t have room or floor no.13…superstition still rules!

towereight.co.uk

Guest Blog - Cathy Mocke

Guest Blog: Cathy Mocke – ‘Stop catering for Joe Average’

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Many current hotels and serviced apartments cater for Joe Average. It’s all about focusing on the key touch points and doing them well, says Cathy Mocke, Design Director at Select Property Group…

When you’re travelling for work and staying in a hotel or serviced apartment, what are things that most help you to feel settled and relaxed?

For me, it’s important that wherever you stay feels comfortable and relaxed, but still has an element of ‘specialness’ to it. I guess ‘home-from-home’ is the obvious tagline that you’d use. It’s also imperative that everything works really well, from both an operational and design perspective. Easy arrival, easy check-in, comfortable bed, good shower, good lighting. If you’re travelling for business you’re not in your room for very long, so everything needs to be easy, intuitive and comfortable.

In my experience, too many current hotel and serviced apartment options cater for ‘Joe Average’. Brands can tend to be too prescriptive at the expense of the end user experience. Many brand standards dictate “we need to have this, this and this”, but in actuality the customer doesn’t need all of these things. Often, because these places have so much ‘brand standard’ stuff in the rooms and in the building as a whole, they don’t have any one thing that’s done well. Instead they have a lot of things done in an average sort of way.

Cathy Mocke - Guest Blog
So when it comes to designing a new product for the business traveller, as we have been doing at Select Property Group with CitySuites, it’s about focusing on key touch points and doing them really well.

Calming rooms and light spaces
With CitySuites, what we’re trying to do is offer something that gives you that extra level of luxury, but still retains the comforts of home, something that very few established brands can claim to offer.

When designing the rooms, we really thought about how the customer will actually use that space and what they need. From the kitchen, to the shower, to the lounge space, what do you need to put into it that makes it usable, whether you’re staying for a week or a month? It’s about creating bright, light spaces. That goes to the choice of materials and maximising light, space and outlook. The studios are also very generously proportioned so that you don’t feel like you’re sleeping in your living room. There’s plenty of space to move around. The bathrooms are very well appointed and generously designed.

The first impression upon entry into the apartment is extremely important. You don’t want to walk through corridors and lobbies. You want to walk into the main space, and straight into somewhere that immediately permeates an element of quality and space and home.

Cathy Mocke - Guest Blog

Design led by the location
With every CitySuites building, the interior design and selection of the furniture and finishes will be informed by the location of the building itself.

In addition to the living experience, creating that sense of place is important and adds another dimension to the design and avoids a formulaic approach to the interiors. That’s what CitySuites is all about – connecting to each city, highlighting its idiosyncrasies and character specific to the setting and location of each building.

So for the brand’s first development in Manchester, located on the site of an old railway station, we brought relevant materials like wrought steel into the design of the furniture. The furniture has all been bespoke designed for that particular project, so that it fits comfortably into the spaces that we have but also has a strong reference to the location’s industrial past, but with a refined edge.

Then we brought in some luxury elements like marble and glass to create that luxurious eclectic feel. The artwork has also been specifically designed to reflect the location and its proximity to the river.

The end result is that you can walk into any CitySuites and, while there’s the consistency in terms of the service and quality that you’d expect from every accommodation brand, you will see a level of design that connects you to the location you happen to be in at that moment.

Cathy Mocke - Guest Blog

Doing the simple things well raises the benchmark of quality
If everything has a simple ease to it, from the service to the features you need the most, it naturally creates a positive memory that will make you want to stay again. By focusing on the touch points that really matter and making them really good, it makes your stay really easy and comfortable.

But that positive experience should start from the moment you walk through the main doors. CitySuites Manchester, for example, is quite a striking building, and we want that ‘wow’ impression to be carried on when you enter the building itself.

So with the design of the reception space, we do this with the dark timber, copper and natural materials and some unexpected features that greet you immediately. This experience might be a little more theatrical than within the apartments because you’re trying to create an impression, but it’s still understated and elegant. Again it’s about people feeling special about the building and thinking “someone has taken care in the design of this space.”

Of course, you can design it all to the nth degree, but if you haven’t got the operational team to give that amazing user experience, it’s all for nothing. Design and operation needs to work together. But if you can marry these together effortlessly, you’ll have a product that sets itself apart from anything else a business traveller has available to them.

For more information visit www.citysuites.com

Sabre Technology Report 2017

Guest Blog: Sabre’s Technology Report – trends for 2017

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Technology innovation is changing faster than ever with emerging capabilities like robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality on the brink of permeating nearly every aspect of daily life, and travel technology leader Sabre has identified the top trends for the coming year in its 2017 Emerging Technology in Travel Report.

From humanoid robots checking-in guests at hotels to virtual immersive vacations to AI-powered chatbot assistants with unique personality traits, the Sabre Labs Emerging Technology Report explores how new technologies are evolving to shape travel and other industries in the years to come. The travel sector is often an early adopter of new tech, and Sabre has fostered innovation for industry and consumers alike. The Report evaluates the three major technology trends likely to have the greatest impact on the travel industry for 2017 as well as the key technologies anchoring each trend. Identified trends include:

1. Conversational Interfaces – Voice, messaging and the shift to new forms of communication
2. Digital Realities – How virtual and augmented realities are changing the travel landscape
3. Connected Intelligence – The role of bots, robots and location beacons in travel

“Sabre is constantly exploring new technologies to determine how they can best be applied to the travel industry to improve the travel experience,” said Mark McSpadden, director – Sabre Labs. “We continue to discover new ways these technologies can fit into our portfolio and drive innovation for our customers and their travelers.”

The Emerging Technology Report distills Sabre’s ongoing research and exploration to help travel businesses make strategic decisions for 2017 and beyond, and offers more than 40 specific takeaways for agencies, airlines, hoteliers, and travelers.

Sabre Labs is the travel and technology innovation lab of Sabre Corp. and explores the evolving technologies that will impact travel over the next decade. Through research, prototypes and communication, Sabre Labs converts futuristic technology into marketplace innovation for its businesses and customers.

Find the report here…

Donald Trump - US hospitality

Should US hospitality be worried about a Trump presidency?

975 538 Daniel Fountain

The news of Donald Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s US election was met with sheer joy by millions in the United States, and utter despair by millions of others. Globally, the overwhelming feeling was a mixture of shock, nervousness and apprehension.

The echoes of the Brexit vote in this result are numerous. Much like the referendum result in June in the UK, the markets reflected that feeling of uncertainty in the minutes and hours after the announcement was made that the celebrity billionaire had defied the odds and would become the next ‘leader of the free world’.

US stock markets plunged, London markets dropped 2 per cent and Asian markets plummeted in Hong Kong and South Korea. But also very similar to Brexit, it was due to the unpreparedness of those markets of the shock result, or what they believed to be the ‘wrong’ result. However, as the news begins to sink in, the markets are already showing signs of recovery – even if there will be questions from today until January’s inauguration from investors across the globe about the short-and-long term impact of a Trump presidency.

But what does it mean for the hospitality industry in USA? Again, the similarities of the Brexit decision are palpable.

Donald Trump - US hospitality

Much like the UK, the ability to hire people into the industry in America relies heavily on immigration; with a large number of staff in hotels and restaurants coming from outside – not always legally. With Trump’s very visible and audible campaign pledge to clamp down on immigration, if he gets his way this will have a huge impact on the ability to hire in the current vein.

Trade agreements are also a major talking point of this result and Brexit. Donald Trump’s campaign talk has given more than a clue that his approach to trade with China will be ‘difficult’ to say the least. This will make hotel construction and renovation harder – a considerable amount of FF&E goods used in this field are imported, especially from its great rival in the east – if levies on Chinese products are increased, so will the costs of building and renovating.

On the flip side, however, one likely positive for the industry will be the Republican obsession with lowering taxes, which in turn will increase internal spending on travel and tourism within the United States. However, Trump’s campaign figures on tax reduction will need a lot of clarification to actually work, something that might lessen the positive impact. Furthermore, more Americans spending money might only act to counter a drop in external visitors from Europe and elsewhere, as has been predicted by companies like TravelZoo.

We will not know the full extent of Trump’s impact for some time – it will take a while for any policy implementation to truly take shape, despite the now Republican-heavy Senate and House of Representatives. And it remains to be seen just how bullish and brash Trump will be from behind his Oval Office desk in comparison with his campaign rhetoric. Much like Brexit, if international investment can be convinced and remains steady in the long-term, the commercial property market shouldn’t be impacted too much. It will be the impact on the day-to-day lives of the millions of people working within the industry that will have the biggest say in whether or not it suffers.

Watch this space…

JW Marriott Monterrey

Guest Blog – MMGY MD Kerry Cannon: End of branded hotels?

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While the newest generation of travelers – the oft written about ‘millennials’ – may not yet have the discretionary spending muscle of Gen Xers and Boomers, they are having a decidedly pronounced impact on the evolution of the branded hotel space. Unique experiences, lifestyle, design, and authenticity rule the day now. Does that sound the death knell of the branded hotel?

Vaunted brand names like Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, and Hyatt have given way to Andaz, Aloft, Curio, Canopy, and Moxy. Despite sounding oxymoronic, the terms “consistent,” “dependable,” and “predictable” (read: cookie-cutter) at one time were unique selling propositions. Now those descriptors have become toxic. Driven by the evolving demands of a younger, hipper, better educated and tech savvy consumer, terms like chic, unique, customised, curated, and personalized are what differentiate the hospitality product these days. Across the full spectrum of the hospitality sector – design, brand marketing, packaging, and promotion – if you want to get the attention of today’s traveler, you have to answer their question: “What have you got for ME?”

Hospitality companies are being challenged to offer unique, experiential, local, and authentic while maintaining the efficiencies their shareholders expect. The enforced uniformity of the major hotel companies was part of a larger business strategy that worked well for previous generations of travelers. Consumers liked uniformity and reliability, and so did the hotel companies’ bottom lines. Predictable amenities, features, furnishings, and layouts were appealing to both the guest and the hotel company CFO. Now, however, there is real pressure to carve out a distinct and authentic brand promise, while maintaining the efficiencies and economies of scale. And is that not an inherent conflict…the ‘commoditisation’ of unique?

As the shape of the bell curve changes, with the lifestyle/boutique properties moving from the fringe to the mainstream, are they in danger of becoming the mass-market hotel of the future? And will the Millennialsbegin to eschew the very movement they were responsible for driving in the first place? Ask brands like American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Gap that are reeling from the Millennials’ desire to express themselves as their own brand, rather than serve as ambassadors for someone else’s.

Whether the traveler wants to stay independent, seek the remarkably uncommon, or enjoy an unforgettable stay, hotels now more than ever need to figure out how to realistically serve this very demanding segment. Can smaller lifestyle brands keep up with the standards and scalability of the large brands? We’re at an inflection point where established norms of hospitality marketing and operations are on a collision course with Millennials’ preferences, behaviors, and attitudes.

Kerry brings proven leadership, client relationship management, and business development skills to MMGY’s Orlando office. He is an experienced marketer, entrepreneur, and innovator with deep travel industry connections and over 20 years of success connecting buyers and sellers in the travel arena. MMGY Global, the leading integrated travel and hospitality marketing firm in the USA.

Marriott-Starwood merger

Opinion: Spanner in the works for Marriott-Starwood deal?

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Is there about to be a spanner thrown into the works for the Marriott-Starwood merger? Recent reports – albeit very liberally-sourced ones – seemed to suggest that Marriott was feeling a sense of ‘remorse’ about the deal and was looking for a way out to back out.

While the source cited is allegedly ‘close to the deal’, the veracity of their claims and their anonymity remains very much in question.

So, could there be a kernel of truth in the claim? Possibly. The fact Marriott beat out Anbang has led to a ‘transaction review’ from the Chinese which is delaying the closure of the deal. While frustrating, the review is unlikely to stop the deal closing. But as with all merger deals, the longer the closure takes, the more the negative voices grow louder. Seeds of doubt about how good a deal has been agreed will begin to grow in the minds of Marriott executives.

Secondly – and it’s been a talking point since the deal was first announced – the uncertainty in combining the two groups’ reward programmes is proving more of an obstacle than first hoped. Granted, this will be the key in ensuring Marriott have got the best deal for the $12 billion spent. But there’s no reason to suggest such difficulties will lead to a breakdown of the deal.

And, in truth, small hurdles that sour the deal in the short term and could be used by twitchy Marriott executives as justification for pulling out of the deal are unlikely to derail this ‘megamerger’ in the long term – executives on both sides should rest easy that anonymous sources will have to do a lot more to do so.

Solar power for hotels

Guest Blog: Future of solar power for hotels…

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Phil Foster, Managing Director of Love Energy Savings has shared his thoughts on the future of solar power and what this may mean for smaller hotels.

Whilst less than 2% of the world’s electricity is currently generated through solar photovoltaic technology, a recent report estimated that this figure could increase to as much as 13% by the year 2030.

What about solar panels for independent hotels?
Solar panels aren’t just for homeowners; a growing number of companies are now starting to cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes who are looking to become a little greener. Switching to solar power can help to lower your bills and your carbon footprint.

In the past we have explored how businesses can invest in being green, and it’s never too late to start thinking about reducing your carbon footprint! Investing in solar panels for your business is the perfect place to start. Here are a few reasons why you should get on board…

Solar power for hotels

Cut your business expenses
The first and biggest advantage of installing solar panels is that your business expenses will be cut. Although you will have to pay for the initial investment, panels can pay for themselves in just a few years. Thanks to government initiatives such as the feed-in tariffs schemes, you can even start to earn money back from the electricity you generate, without having to pay for power from the National Grid. To learn more about the current feed-in tariff rates, and how to apply, Ofgem is your go-to source.

Phil Gilbert, Head of Business Solutions at E.ON, told us: “Energy costs can have a significant impact on a business’ bottom line, and generating your own power can put control firmly into your own hands. Cutting down waste, using smart technology to manage buildings and possibly generating your own power are all options to consider.

“Investing in energy efficiency or in new generation technologies such as solar make sound investments, often paying back in only a few years. Across Europe we are seeing customers actually profiting from improving their energy efficiency. As well as the bottom line impact, investing in new energy solutions can also unlock new growth and improve productivity and overall competitiveness.”

Boost your reputation and earn the public’s trust
With climate change and the environment grabbing the headlines so often, people are naturally becoming more green-focused and are more conscious about the companies they choose to work with. Adding solar panels to your business can show people that you are committed to helping the environment, and is certainly something that is worth shouting about!

Annabelle Bean from Romag, says that the benefits of solar energy to SMEs can really go far beyond saving money: “Nothing will position your company as an environmentally-conscious brand more than investing in renewable energy for your business. Not only will you be able to have the peace of mind that you are using green energy, but the fact that you are doing so provides a great PR opportunity.

Hurawalhi Maldives - an example of sustainability in hospitality in action

Hurawalhi Maldives – an example of sustainability in hospitality in action

“Being a sustainable business counts for a lot in the current marketplace, where the spotlight is well and truly on companies who do not prove their environmental credentials. When your customers see that you are setting yourself apart from the crowd and investing in a cleaner future, you will soon build up increased brand loyalty and trust.”

Improve your carbon footprint
By cutting your dependence on electricity generated from burning gas, coal and oil, and instead turning to renewable forms of energy, you will be helping to drastically reduce your business’ carbon footprint. Phil Foster commented: “There are so many small things that businesses can do to cut their carbon footprint, but solar panels are a huge step forward towards our goal of slashing emissions. Here at Love Energy Savings, we want to see the technology developing further and becoming more readily available both to domestic and business customers.

“Even if the installation of solar panels is a little outside the budget of some SMEs, we always advocate using greener sources of energy. We work with a number of different independent suppliers, some of whom source a proportion of their energy supply from renewables, to give you a wider choice when switching your energy supplier.”

There is no doubt about it; clean energy is the future. More and more countries are stepping forward to announce their commitment to being greener, most recently, the US, Canada and Mexico who together pledged that 50% of their power would come from clean energy by the year 2025. That’s a huge promise, and solar power is going to play an enormous part in hitting such ambitious targets.

BHA calls for 'Seaside Tsar'

Opinion: BHA calls for ‘Seaside Tsar’ to revive UK coastal towns

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A Seaside Tsar should be appointed to help Britain’s forgotten seaside towns fight back from decades of decay according to new research which paints a grim picture of the problems facing many coastal communities.

The report, commissioned by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), says that people living in seaside towns are more likely to be poorly educated, unemployed, unemployable, lacking in ambition, claiming benefits and living in multiple occupation housing.

BHA - Seaside Tsar

A separate survey, conducted by the owners of Butlin’s and the BHA, found that more than half of the British public have not visited the British seaside in the past three years, and 65% believe that the British seaside is run down and in need of investment. Nine out of the 10 most deprived neighbourhoods in England are seaside communities, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The collapse of shipbuilding and fishing, the decline of the traditional annual holiday by the seaside, growing drug use, and cutbacks in budgets affecting maintenance of public places, street cleaning, tourism promotion and the providing of education have all contributed to the situation, says the report. Creating Coastal Powerhouses says that businesses in seaside towns are more likely to fail – especially if they provide accommodation – and calls on the Government to create Coastal Enterprise Zones to encourage businesses to move to and invest in the coast.

BHA - Seaside Tsar

The hospitality and tourism industry employs 4.5m people or 14% of the UK workforce. The association, which represents more than 40,000 businesses in the sector, cites the successful regeneration of Folkestone in Kent and along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and east Devon as examples of how the British seaside can recover

It has produced a seven point action plan to breathe new life into seaside towns which calls on the Government to:

  1. Appoint a Seaside Tsar to coordinate a coherent response across all departments and spending – very much like Lord Heseltine’s work in Liverpool in the 1980s.
  2. Establish Coastal Action Groups, to develop a co-ordinated response and investment strategy to target the specific social and economic challenges that seaside towns face.
  3. Create a progressive tax environment, including a reduction in Tourism VAT, to encourage coastal businesses to invest in themselves.
  4. Create Coastal Enterprise Zones to incentivise investment and encourage businesses to move to the coast and create jobs.
  5. Invest in critical infrastructure and improve broadband, rail and road connections, and protect against the threat of rising sea levels.
  6. Improve education and training provision for young people and adults to ensure that they have the skills for a variety of sectors.
  7. Support Local Authorities to tackle social issues and housing problems which reduce their attraction as visitor destination

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA said: “The British public want to enjoy the British Seaside, and those living in coastal communities want a thriving economy. We look forward to working with a Seaside Tsar to unlock the potential of the UK’s 6,000 kilometre coastline.

BHA - Seaside Tsar

“Our members, who invest in and operate hospitality and tourism businesses recognise the problems facing many coastal communities but we also know there are fantastic opportunities to boost these places and help revive the Great British Seaside holiday.

“250 million visits are already made to the UK’s coast each year, generating £17 billion to the economy. But we know there is a lot more to do – and that can only happen with a concerted effort by a committed government and the private sector. Together we can turn the tide and bring a smile back to the seaside.”

bha.org.uk

Peter Ducker, CEO of Institute of Hospitality

HD Summit speaker profile: Peter Ducker, CEO Institute of Hospitality

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The Hotel Designs Summit takes place on 12-13 September at Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, and as well as fantastic networking opportunities and invaluable meetings, attendees will have the chance to hear talks from influential figures from the hotel and hospitality industry.

One of this year’s speakers is Peter Ducker, CEO of the Institute of Hospitality. Peter was born into a hotel family and has remained in the industry ever since. Ahead of the event in September, he speaks to us about his talk…

Q. What’s your background and career in the industry?
A. Having been born into the industry, I went on to graduate from Oxford Polytechnic (now Brookes…) in Hospitality Management. I then worked in hotel management before moving into sales and marketing. I then held board positions at various hotel companies; both private and public.

With this experience, I then launched and managed a hotel reservations company, which I sold in 2005. Since then, I have advised hotel companies on sales, marketing and distribution before taking my current role as CEO at the Institute of Hospitality.

Q. What will you be covering in your talk at the Hotel Designs Summit?
A. I’m planning to review the important “take-aways” from the conference and draw the themes together for attendees.

Q. What, in your opinion, are the current three most important challenges the industry is facing right now?
A. Undoubtedly the fallout from Brexit. Beyond that, cost inflation for operators as a result of the National Living Wage and the Apprentice Levy and thirdly the recruitment and retention of key staff in important roles.

Q. Where do you see the future of the industry headed?
A. Growth across the sectors is going to be one of the key issues. Also, the ongoing drive for standards will play a big role as well as the ongoing pressure on the independent sector from brands, particularly in the restaurant sector.

Q. Why do you think events like the Hotel Designs Summit are important?
A. With so much change and uncertainty in this current climate, it is vital that hospitality professionals meet in different forums to exchange views and seek inspiration.

Q. And lastly, what piece of advice would you give to hospitality professionals?
A. Make sure you remain focussed on your key metrics, keep investing in upskilling your staff, and always keep your eye on industry trends.

hoteldesignssummit.co.uk
If you would like more information on attending the event, please contact Jade Oliver on j.oliver@forumevents.co.uk or 01992 374054

Brexit is impacting the hospitality industry, so says HBAA

Opinion: Hotel industry faces ‘opportunities, challenges’ post-Brexit

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As the fallout of the UK’s monumental referendum result continues to make its mark, we can start to look at the impact the decision to leave the European Union will have on the country’s hospitality market.

Senior figures from various industries across the economy have been voicing their concerns about what the post-Brexit landscape will mean for them. As one of the top five employers in the country, the hospitality industry will feel an effect – both in the short and long term – likely positive and, depending on the type of deal the UK strikes with Europe, possibly negative.

One instantaneous positive was the increase in international bookings at UK hotels (especially from USA and China) in the immediate aftermath of the result. In York, for example, hotels saw an increase in international bookings with one property recording a 236% increase in bookings from America, while in Cambridge, Chinese bookings increased 6% and in the Lake District a 10% increase in international bookings was recorded at just one property.

It makes sense that this trend will continue; sterling’s weakness against other currencies will encourage tourists from those countries with the best rates to visit the UK, which will benefit the hotel industry. Likewise, with UK holidaymakers getting less bang for their buck (or pound…) on the continent, a rise in staycations will also have a positive impact.

The big fear, however, is the ability to hire people into the industry; with a high percentage of staff in hotels and restaurants coming from EU member states, a possible restriction on the freedom of movement between the EU and the UK could cause difficulties in bringing skilled workers from the continent. Speaking to the Evening Standard, Jeremy King of Corbin & King said: “As many as 94 per cent of EU workers employed in Britain’s hotels and restaurants would fail to meet existing visa entry requirements for foreign workers.”

This hinges entirely on how Britain approaches negotiations with the EU; the current dichotomy facing British negotiators is whether to give up access to the single market in return for tighter controls on immigration, or remain an active member of the single market and maintain current levels of freedom of movement. However, one would assume Britain will ‘extend a hand of friendship’ across the Channel to maintain a steady flow of skilled workers into its hotels. If not, this could mean a positive impact on British workers.

Likewise, construction of hotels could well be hit – both those already underway and future planned projects – with an uncertainty in pricing up labour and materials. However, on the flip side, a weaker pound could be a welcome thing for overseas investors looking to take a punt on some value.

But the hospitality industry has proved itself resilient in the face of uncertainty in the past. It will be again. Hoteliers will have to be smart to ensure revenue predictions are tightly controlled and continue to monitor competition – but not much will change from pre-Brexit. It is, also, in the government’s best interest to ensure the industry not just survives but thrives in the face of new opportunities and challenges.