Can boutique hotels keep their special identities?

Worries as IHG incorporates Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
The boutique hotel movement that began in the 1980s has grown to become mainstream. But how does a concept based on personalised service cater to more and more guests? Should such unique and small-scale properties consider expanding to capitalise on the demand?
When the global hospitality brand InterContinental Hotels Group bought popular boutique brand Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants last December, there were concerns that Kimpton’s reputation for personalised service and intimacy would be ruined.
Boutique brands such as OE Collection and The Pomeranc Group stress the importance of maintaining the boutique identity amid any kind of expansion.
At a recent boutique hotel conference in the US, Mike DeFrino, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ chief executive, and IHG’s chief development officer for the Americas, Joel Eisemann, tried to reassure delegates.
Both want to “keep the Kimpton spirit alive”, they said. Kimpton properties will still be led by their own design and culinary teams, and employees will still be Kimpton employees.
The deal is mutually beneficial, they stressed, as IHG obtains a successful boutique brand, while Kimpton benefits from IHG’s reach and wide-ranging programs. With IHG’s help, Kimpton is now considering new hotels in Europe as well as Mexico City, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
Travel Pulse

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