LIFESTYLE HOTELS BRAND CULTURE
The travel industry of the 21st century has been marked by a rising consumer demand geared toward the desire for unique travel experiences based on originality, design, authenticity, and cultural connections. Consequently, the definition of luxury has evolved as it is no longer solely about opulence and wealth, as the traditional connotation suggests, but is instead about a stimulating and innovative environment, enhanced by a sense of belonging and style.The concept of the Lifestyle Hotels has been trending over the past twenty years.
What Characterizes a “Lifestyle Hotel”
The terms “Lifestyle” and “Boutique,” which were once used interchangeably to define certain types of hotels. Research has shown that there is consensus that differences do exist between boutique and lifestyle hotels. Results indicate that aesthetics of a lifestyle hotel, as opposed to those of a boutique hotel, embrace unusual design and architecture and a high level of technology. In addition more attention is given to providing a series of unique and vibrant “gathering places’ where guests can interact outside their hotel rooms. Additionally, a lifestyle hotel offers more services that are ancillary and focused on wellness and life enrichment.
The Creative Class
With over 30 percent of the US workforce identifying with the creative segment and growing remarkably every year. The upcoming generation is gradually transforming every generations view about how leisure, work, and communities function as a whole. The hotel industry has been besieged by an increase in demand for design-led, stimulating, and personalized products and services. Hotels are therefore seeking to prominently deviate from the traditional concept of ‘Home Away From Home’ by adding the ‘Lifestyle’ component and creating a trendy yet exclusive entourage. Dominant social classes of the past were once easily defined and segregated based on external factors such as race, background, and wealth, whereas today’s creative class is a supple, diverse, and ever-evolving group. They prize non-conformity, open-mindedness, and originality above all. Consequently, customer satisfaction is no longer exclusively reliant on providing a high level of comfort and quality service as it once was; the focus is instead on understanding what unique characteristics drive this new non-conforming generation of travelers
From Lobby to “Living Space”
“Romanticize. Maximize. Politicize. Socialize. Sensationalize. Our Living Room is your living room. You won’t want to miss a thing. And you won’t have to.” – W New York Downtown
The cornerstone of the hospitality industry is based on responding to and anticipating the wishes of customers. While the focus was once on in-room amenities and creating a homelike living space for guests to spend time in the comfort of their rooms, the goals are changing.
With the rise of the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) and Generation X these segments of the population have had a profound influence on the entire hotel marketplace across all age groups and demographics. The industry is witnessing new behavioral tendencies reflecting travelers’ inclination to explore the premises beyond the seclusion of their bedrooms, shifting the emphasis to public areas. Today, guests are principally searching for a warm and inviting places where they can extensively spend time. In fact, cutting edge hotels ensure that from the moment of arrival, guests are greeted with sensory environments where amplified amusement, vibrant lounges, innovative cocktails, and novel cuisine create more than just a hotel experience, but a luxury lifestyle destination as a whole.
Lifestyle Bars & Destination Restaurants: The Place to Be
“The young, the Xs and Ys who now make up for half of our customers, want even more. They want better food and beverage. They probably want more beverages. They want a little more lifestyle in the lobbies.” – Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International
Over the last two decades, behavioral trends have reflected an increase in demand for trendy beverage facilities and hand crafted restaurants in the lodging industry, especially in the lifestyle sector. Hotel developers are progressively beginning to perceive the indispensability of providing appealing, noteworthy food and beverage outlets for the success of these hotels.
Millennials and Gen Xers, the key target markets of lifestyle properties, are principally searching for human interaction, meaningful experiences, and elite entertainment. By offering a wide selection of social spaces and upgrading the standard configurations of the hotel lounge/bar/restaurant, lifestyle hotels encourage guests to consume and connect in a variety of outlets, each offering a distinctive vibe and a unique atmosphere.
Exclusive Membership Programs
Hotel loyalty programs and frequent guest programs have existed since the early 1980s. The initial purpose of loyalty programs was to provide guests with incentives to return to a particular brand or company through benefits such as room upgrades, late checkouts, executive-level access, and point redemption.
Willing to go the extra mile, lifestyle hotels have created their own version of loyalty programs by establishing “clubs” defined by a very particular crowd, fostering a sense of exclusivity and belonging. LHG will work with the creative teams of each lifestyle brand to create “clubs” within each brand that are tailored to the unique demographics of that brands subscriber base. The clubs will of unique offerings and special events as well as individual offerings that give each member the ability to not only tailor their hotel experience but participate in events that provide one in a lifetime moments. In doing so, LHG hotels are not only offering access to special facilities, but are also binding a community of people with common interests, goals, and experiences, reinforcing loyalty through these one-of-a-kind experiences.
The Event Calendar
Millennials and Gen X are primarily characterized by their connected, upbeat, and self-expressive nature. They want to know what’s going on and when. Gone are the days of marketing events solely through magazines, newspapers, flyers, and directories.
The Internet has evolved into the most important means for hotel marketing. In much the same way, online event calendars have proven to be an efficient tool to enhance brand awareness and to attract the new generation consumer. The key to having a viable and vibrant internet presence resides in having access to extensive database of Time, Inc. which allows LHG to target select markets by geographical location, age, gender and special interests.Travelers are often drawn to the property before having even made their choice of hotel or selected their dates of travel. By ensuring fresh content and a strong online presence through search engines and social media, hotels can constantly rejuvenate their image.