The pivot to boutique hotels in the Middle East
Adaptation is fundamental to the growth of any industry. Currently, an exciting surge can be observed in the rise of boutique hotel concepts across the region. This is a new and energizing direction for an industry that is moving away from rigidity. Minimalist, intimate, complete with unique concepts, boutique hotels are a new realm of possibility in a post pandemic world. Boutique hotels offer a chance to construct an experience for not only the consumer, but also the landlord. There are many possible reasons as to why this shift towards boutique hotels is taking place.
Wellbeing: The pandemic was a necessary reminder to prioritize one’s own wellness and to step away from our fast-paced daily lives. There has been in an increased fascination with the concept of ‘slowing down’, and a boutique hotel accurately fits the bill. With a focus on informal operations, a laid-back atmosphere, as well as good nutrition in the form of healthy ingredients and organic food, boutique hotels are apt for catering to customers who are opting to step back and connect more deeply with themselves and the world around them.
The informal nature of operations at a boutique hotel, allows staff and guests to know each other and connect on a better level
Personalized service: The informal nature of operations at a boutique hotel, gives a chance for staff and guests to know each other and connect on a better level. It creates a warm, welcoming space that fosters genuine conversations, or an opportunity to listen. This in turn positively impacts both parties while also possibly crafting a unique, memorable experience for guests. Additionally, this is something that travel agents must also bear in mind while connecting customers to the right hotel.
Flexible rules: The concept of a boutique hotel is a contrast to the large-scale hospitality operations. The intimacy and lack of rules can be something that really draws customers in. One such instance of this is being pet-friendly and letting guests bring their pets into the premises. For many potential hotel guests, their pets are close companions and having accommodations for pets makes them feel a bit more welcomed and enhances their stay. The general flexible nature can really be attributed to the fact that boutique hotels operate on their own, unencumbered by a renowned chain name. Additionally, the vast nature of possibilities is also a central aspect to a boutique hotel, which is attractive to customers in this current point of time.
Sustainability: The looming climate crisis means that consumers are all seeking sustainable alternatives, whilst not completely ruling out comfort and convenience. This makes a boutique hotel ideal as it contains all the comforts of a chain hotel, offered in a slower-paced, sustainable manner. Furthermore, sustainable practices can be better observed by a traveller in a boutique setting, as opposed to a larger scale. One of our primary focuses for the INK hotel was sustainability, which we were able to include using solar panels, minimizing the usage plastic, among others.
This new direction in the hospitality industry ultimately trickles down to all levels of the industry, including travel advisors. The shift in consumer needs and preferences means that travel advisors, or travel agents need to connect them with hotels that embody these concepts. Further, they need to take note of this shift and connect with travellers who seek out flexibility, a slower paced environment and sustainability.
* Judith is CEO and Founder, Vivere Hospitality