What top priorities are driving the boutique sector, and how can it continue to thrive?
The boutique hotel sector continues to boom across the world, and travelers are drawn to the personalized, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that these hotels promise.
According to data from IBISWorld, the boutique hotels industry has grown 8.6 percent over the last five years, reaching a worth of $17 billion in 2018. The number of businesses in this industry has increased by 10.8 percent, and the number of employees by 10.7 percent. Hotel News Now reported last year that boutique hotels were becoming the fastest-growing industry segment, gaining on upscale and extended-stay hotels.
Here are the top priorities right now for the boutique sector that will ensure the trend continues to thrive.
One big priority that boutique hotels shouldn’t ignore is the role that technology is playing in customer service and human connection. There are many hotel-finding apps out there that give travelers quotes instantly, but boutique hotels should have their own apps, where customers can book travel, research the area for things to do, view reviews, and much more.
A boutique hotel’s app should align with the brand and design of the hotel and offer something unique and original that other apps don’t—just like boutique hotels themselves.
Other priorities in the realm of technology include in-room devices. Fast, free Wi-Fi is a must for many modern hotels, and the standard for hotels has long been that a traveler should receive the same level of technology they would have at home, if not even better. It’s now more important than ever to offer guests easy-to-use interfaces, making tech experiences seamless.
2. Social media
Millennial audience or not, having a social media presence is a must in our current culture, no matter the type of brand. Boutique hotels are no exception; in fact, they may require a stronger social media presence than other types of brands, and it’s especially true for Instagram.
Instagram offers an instant first impression of a boutique hotel’s space. Because influencers have set the tone for high-quality photos that convey enviable experiences across the internet, hotels must provide Instagram-worthy settings to set themselves apart. It’s just a fact these days, as people don’t mind being connected digitally to their favorite brands. Instagram reports that 80 percent of its users follow a business on the platform.
This trend can only help the boutique sector grow, as the experiences represented on Instagram are often precisely what boutique hotels are going for.
Gone are the days when boutique hotels were only for the wealthy. Now, because the scope of the boutique sector has grown, and because boutique hotels can look many different ways, there are many budget-friendly options out there for the more economic traveler. While there are still upscale brands that are less affordable, attracting younger crowds means offering more reasonable prices. (Check out these 19 chic hotels from around the globe that Jetsetter says are under $300.)
4. The environment
People are beginning to care about the environment in every aspect of life, including their travel plans. As the Boutique and Lifestyle Leaders Association points out, modern travelers are more concerned with their carbon footprint, and boutique hotels should consider addressing their concerns. For example, hotel restaurants could provide locally sourced food or ask guests to limit the amount of water or energy they use during their stay.
The design of the hotel’s interior should incorporate a lot of vegetation and natural elements that these travelers will love.
5. Boutique brands from big hotel chains
Many big hotel chains are releasing their own smaller boutique brands to meet the demand for the personalized stay experience. For example, Moxy is Marriott’s small, contemporary hotel brand that caters to young people with stylish, unique spaces. The brand Tru by Hilton is another example of a hotel giant getting in on the fun. Tru is branded as an affordable option and offers features that young travelers love, like co-working spaces and modern designs. This trend is likely to push the boutique hotel sector forward even more.
It’s clear that the boutique hotel fad is not going anywhere anytime soon. The modern traveler wants to feel like they have a unique experience that’s well thought through and designed to inspire. These five priorities and trends are currently driving the industry toward continued success.
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