Boutique-hotel brand race is on

Hotel companies rush to create new boutique and lifestyle brands

The rush among hotel chains to create more brands of boutique hotels continues, following a lull during the economic crisis. Here are just a few: Wyndham Hotel Group has said that it will franchise and manage Chatwal Hotels and Resorts’ Night and Dream boutique brands; there are new boutique brands by Sofitel and Swire Hotels; John Pritzker, a member of the family behind Hyatt Hotels, wants to double his 34 Joie de Vivre properties across the USA; the former chief executive of Nylo Hotels runs the Modo chain; Sonesta International Hotels recently announced its own brand, Kept; Richard Branson’s Virgin Group owns the upmarket Virgin Limited Edition hotels and recently announced the new 4-star brand Virgin Hotels; and Ian Schrager, who helped originate the boutique idea in the first place, says he will soon launch two so far unnamed new brands.
Experts estimate that the proportion of boutique hotels could rise from 3% today to 10% in urban areas by 2025. Revenue per available room is now rising much faster at boutique and lifestyle hotels than the hotel average. Demand is growing for hotels that are unique, or at least not like those replicated in countless different locations. “Everybody pays attention to design,” explains one expert. “People like things a little bit different, offbeat. And they make someone who may have a rather mundane life feel hip.” And guests will pay more for new experiences. But there is also a post-crisis reason for the craze. “As defaults continue to swell, it will be less expensive to convert existing hotels to boutique hotels than building brand new ones.”
The New York Times
[pictured: Klaus K, Helsinki; Klaus K is a member of Design Hotels™]