The rise of the boutique hotel

Milestone Hotel Kensington

Photo credit: Milestone Hotel

Travel trends are constantly shifting and as traveller expectations adjust in accordance, hoteliers need to respond appropriately. With an increased appetite for travel experiences amongst the younger generation, we have seen a greater interest in more unique and quirky hotel establishments. Enter boutique hotels, the cooler little sister of the big chain hotels.

The rise of social media and the accompanying culture of oversharing has pushed younger travellers to find something extra special. Hotels offering the most shareable experience will have the upper-hand in this increasingly digital landscape. This is where boutique hotels excel. Usually offering quirky decor, a push to stand out from the crowd and an impressive attention to detail, boutique hotels are in prime position to attract this new generation of travellers.

Experience

Nowadays, a simple overnight stay is no longer enough; travel lodges exist to provide a simple stopover. Hotels need to offer more than a comfy bed, as consumers are beginning to favour an experience. Boutique establishments have always based their philosophy on providing so much more than a room for the night and have carved out a niche as a result.

Boutique Hotel York

Photo credit: Boutique Hotels

Experiences can range from luxury spa and wellness facilities to unorthodox interiors. Even a stylish bar or high quality restaurant can provide the experience that guests are looking for. There is no need for a ground-breaking offering, but what boutique hotels do so well is offer that little bit extra. Something memorable, something engaging that taps into the ‘experience’ culture that is so prevalent.

Quirky Decor

One thing that boutique hotels do extremely well is provide truly unique interiors. From extravagant grandeur to shabby chic, these hoteliers could give a masterclass in interior design. The key is to offer something different and a move away from the standardised hotel format – the kind of decor that stops guests in their tracks to admire their surroundings. Memorable and, more importantly, highly instagrammable!

Milestone Hotel London

Photo credit: Boutique Hotels

Technology

Generally recognised as trendsetting and innovative, boutique hotels also need to implement their forward-thinking ethos into the technology they provide. The technological necessities of a standard hotel will of course be expected but additional finishing touches may also be required to be truly distinguishable.

It goes without saying that quality wifi is a must. Slow and clunky internet connection will leave guests frustrated and irritated. How else are they going to share their guest experience on Twitter? Leverage the capabilities of the modern traveller and encourage @mentions on social media wherever possible. There is no better form of marketing than to show off your guests having a great time and social media is the perfect vehicle for doing this. Help and encourage your guests by providing the appropriate technological functions.

Personalised Service

Naturally all hotels strive for quality customer service but boutique hotels truly excel in their impressive levels of personalisation. Separate from the large chains, boutique establishments are in the ideal position to make their guests feel special. Attention to the individual and their own personal needs means that staff can focus on providing a bespoke service. In fact, all establishments could take a leaf out of the boutique book.

St James Hotel and Club

Photo credit: Boutique Hotels

Luxury

The word boutique is essentially synonymous with the word luxury in the travel industry. Lavish interiors, personalised service and unique experiences are all building blocks of a luxury stay. Nevertheless, it is important to remember the small details. From top quality bedding to premium hotel accessories, there are a myriad of ways to add a touch of luxury.

Conclusion

The rise in popularity of the boutique hotel has inevitably led to an increase in establishments commandeering the term for themselves. As a result, the boundaries between what is and isn’t a boutique hotel have become blurred. Nevertheless, there are some key lessons to be learnt from this travel trend. Guests are increasingly in favour of a more personal hotel stay that is more than just a hotel room. Provide an experience, cater for individual needs and aim for luxury wherever possible. These traits are not just reserved for boutique hotels; they serve as valuable lessons for all.

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