Hotels need to adapt to remain relevant in an ever more competitive environment

03 July 2020

Over the last decade there’s been a visible change in the hotel visitor experience. Yet there’s still much more to be done, explains Andrew Renouf, Director in Avison Young’s hotels team.

Customer expectations are changing. And we’re seeing the role of hotels shift in response – from functional, to experiential. From a simple bed for the night, to an exciting, instagrammable occasion.

Emerging are opportunities for hotels to immerse themselves into their communities, to become an integral part of the city’s personality and local culture. Authentic and unique experiences are increasingly sought after by both leisure and business guests, perhaps given even more prominence through our insatiable appetite for social media.

To create this unique experience, operators need to adapt to changing demand. Smart operators will understand the different motivators and drivers of their clients and offer a more complete package. Market leaders will be able to genuinely say to their guests “what is important to you is also important to us”. They listen and they understand.

Lifestyle hotel brands are now well-established, but the key is to take the experience to the next level. Some operators are beginning to do this well, including for example Locke Aparthotels, and Birch in the UK, but there is much still to do.

Ultimately hotels need to ensure they are relevant in an increasingly competitive environment, standing out from the crowd to improve performance. Whether embracing local artisans as part of the hotel experience, offering wellness activities such as yoga and fitness, workshops and pop ups, these are all becoming increasingly relevant to the modern traveller.

This is borne out by the experience of key tourist cities in the UK. Peter Constantine, managing director at Avison Young in Cardiff, has observed that despite the city’s growing reputation as an inspirational visitor destination, there remains identifiable gaps in the hospitality market. He is optimistic of change as the city develops and sees opportunities for Cardiff as a sought-after tourist destination, to offer something different. As the city centre and the Cardiff Bay area continue to transform with a raft of exciting redevelopment, a renewed sense of place is emerging. Reflecting the city’s unique culture and personality through contemporary, lifestyle hotels can make a huge contribution to the visitor experience, adding to the already warm welcome Cardiff is proud to offer.

Traditionally, the hotel industry has been a formal one. The challenge for it now is to open up and embrace the demand for the more informal, personal and authentic visitor experience.

Andrew was speaking in a webinar hosted by MipimConnect. The full webinar can be viewed here.

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