Editors note: Hyperlinks are provided throughout this article to the competitive set as seen in HotelDesigns
Just at the moment we seem to be going through a very competitive reappraisal by the brands of their budget offerings. Marriott, have launched Moxy with IKEA as their first partner, targeting 100 hotels. Barry Sternlicht of Louvre has been reworking Campanile and Kyriad, whilst Starwoods have over 50 sites in their recently launched Aloft. Travelodge of course, having survived a major scare with refinancing, have launched their reworked Travelodge room with a major rollout programme, and Accor have restructured their budget offering completely subsuming their All Season and Etap brands into Ibis to boost the numbers to become Europe’s numerical leader in this area.
Along with this increase in room numbers comes a brand reworking and HotelDesigns had a look at a couple of them. The first of these was the new build Ibis in Blackfriars, whilst the Ibis Styles in Docklands, next to the Excel exhibition centre is the focus of this Miniview. Premier Inn are market leaders in the UK and are starting to spread their wings with 3 now open in India and a couple in the Gulf. Accor’s Ibis is the brand leader in their depressed French home market and Ibis has for years been a steady choice for UK travellers in driving across Europe. As competition hots up I am starting to see ‘facilities creep’ in the provision – dedicated restaurants and bars being created where properties stood apart from but adjacent to separately operated restaurant provision previously.
Redesign, new styling, boutique styling are all labels that are being applied to the reworking at this level, partially at least under competitive pressure from new design oriented players such as Yotel, Citizen M and Tune. I would describe it as using design properly as part of the branding and marketing tools for the hotels. The hype of the brands about their new styling is as good as an admission that they did not pay enough attention to it in the past, and saw designer fees as an unnecessary expense. Operationally too they are upping their performance with Sleep guarantees and free WiFi provision for example. The Ibis Styles Excel is a conversion of the previous operation and is the opposite side of the DLR station to the Excel centre, so location is good for both delegates and tourists. Car parking is a great bonus, even if limited to the first 50 arrivals. The move by the owners to franchise Ibis Styles has already given a big uplift in occupancy