With the significant growth of the boutique hotel segment has come the emergence of subsets within that lodging category, noted panelists at an NYU Investement Conference session titled “Hotel Chic: Boutique Development.”
And while some said these new subsets have created confusion in the category, others said they believe it is a natural and positive progression for the segment.
Boutique executives on the panel did agree however, that being a boutique hotel means differentiating your property in your competitive set.
“Know what kind of customers will be drawn to your product in your particular market and cater to them,” said Jim Whelan, chief development officer for Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group.
“It [boutique] is an experience-oriented hotel and guests seek it out. You need to know what they are seeking,” he said.
But defining what trendy, younger business and leisure travelers are seeking in a travel experience is constantly changing, noted panelists.
“The cutting edge is constantly moving, and we must keep up with it,” said Richard Kessler, president/CEO of Grand Theme Hotels.
Not only that, but people are more educated today because there are more outlets for exposure to travel brands. “In general, people are hipper,” said John Ferrari, managing director of Manhattan East Suite Hotels.