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GLF 2017: emerging hospitality concepts and new business models, a major issue at stake

During the 21st edition of the Global Lodging Forum, five professionals presented new hospitality concepts. Learn more about questions raised as well as their related concerns.

Laurent Bonnefous, Chief Development Officer, B&B Hotels

  • "It all started with a property that we planned to introduce near Disney, but in the end, it didn't work out. Two others were already operating with an 85% occupancy rate. We told ourselves that there was probably something to do there. So we contacted Disney and discussed the feasibility of a 400-room hotel - a capacity that we don't have. Disney told us then: "Just imagine you start digging and unearth the ruins of a Cistercian abbey." But this didn't faze the architects who have constructed this magnificent hotel. Since then, we do have a Cistercian abbey at B&B."

  • "We started with a clear assessment: it is hard for a 4-person household to visit Disney  without spending at least €400 (tickets to the park included). We studied the market to see if there was already an offer available close to the park's location; it wasn't the case. The big challenge was to imagine a 400-room hotel since, at B&B, we don't do a lot of catering. Thus, we had to integrate a snacking option and a bar. As we are a small hotel chain, we needed to change our focus. It was our responsibility to adapt, not Disney's. We tried to build a hotel that would meet Disney's needs. This was a bumpy ride. It is not easy for the group to step out of its usual track. We normally are business-focused, but this time, we had to reinvent lots of things."

  • "The hotel has been designed to welcome families: 85% of the rooms have the capacity to host 4 to 5 people. Generally, our prices don't go over €200 for 4 tickets to the park and 1 night. One out of two of our customers comes from abroad. Our aim was also to show foreign visitors - who often come from destinations where we aren't yet located - what a B&B room is like."

  • "The hotel has now been open for more than a year. Apart from the family rooms, we offer double rooms for blended families and single parents. We have recorded an occupancy rate amounting to more than 60% for our first year. So it does work. We worked within an industry, a business open to Europe and the whole world. The thing was to consider people who would come and go in this hotel, but wouldn't be 'native' B&B customers."

Sandra Dreher, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Leonardo Hotels for NYX

  • "NYX is the new lifestyle brand by Leonardo Hotels which has been operating on the European market for 10 years. It embodies a new generation of hotels focused on experience that positions itself from the customers' viewpoint, i.e. trying to understand what they would like to see within their hotel."

  • "The brand offers an urban environment experience. Design is essential; this is why we worked with Andreas Neudahm. The hotels are all completely different from one another, it reflects the particularities of the area where it is located while conveying brand spirit. The artistic concept is definitely critical for every destination: the hotel's 'soul' is based upon specific local features, and we also offer local artists visibility. To this end, every NYX hotel operates an art gallery that reflects the destination."

  • "The brand is linked to experiences offered by every destination. We set up various events within the hotel to represent the destination. City lovers are our employees; they embody the destination. They are the same as friends, informal, offering their guests the best tips to so as to make them discover the destination."

  • "In terms of development, we wish to operate and/or develop a 20-hotel portfolio by 2020 in Europe."

Marloes Knippenberg, CEO, Kerten Hospitality for Cloud 7

  • "Age is a state of mind. There is a new kind of youth. We wanted to create a comfort that brings together fashion, 'cocooning' and new technology. "7" refers to our senses; technology has become our seventh sense. In the course of our development and following our market study, we concluded that 55% of people under 30 would be rather lose their sense of smell than their phone. We have taken that matter into account."

  • "We have often been asked about our franchising model - much more than we expected."

  • "It was important for us to believe in our own brand. We work constantly to correct our weaknesses. We are currently focusing on developing a new franchising model."

  • "If we had to start all over again, from scratch, then perhaps we would use less new technology, or with more practical issues involved. But we would still eliminate desks - we haven't got any in the lobby. Virtual reality is needed, it is truly experimental; opening a door via one's mobile phone is a good idea as long as one is not asked to download an app to do so beforehand."

  • "We continue to monitor what the customer truly wants and how we can adapt ourselves to it."

Dimitris Manikis, VP Business Development, Wyndham Group RCI - EMEA

  • "The 'timeshare' concept was launched in Switzerland as early as the 1960s. It is not just 10 years old, and it is particularly present in Europe. It creates customer loyalty and generates profit, and is also appreciated at Wall Street. Every big hospitality group (Melia, Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham...) offers this concept so as to bring more customer loyalty."

  • "To me, loyalty is the best weapon we have to defeat disruption."

  • "In 2016, $9.5bn were invested in this concept. It's no novelty, more like an old concept turned into something new."

  • "Wyndham has three networks at its disposal. This section represents a major part of our own business. We combine holiday rentals with the timeshare market. We are able to provide the customer with whatever he wants (hotels, holiday rentals...)."

  • "What's new is that we'd like to create a unique product and turn the customer into a loyal one. We wish to bring together the various puzzle pieces and create a unique group where customers are loyal."

Romain Trollet, President, Assas Capital for Rocky Pop Hotel

  • "The concept started with a simple assessment: I witnessed the mountain resorts' upgrade. Customers were looking for more upscale and less diversified options. I participated in it: I opened numerous properties in the Alps, Savoie and Haute-Savoie. One day I realized we were losing a part of our customer base. You often know when a customer is happy; when he's dissatisfied, you know it as well. But when he is not willing to come back anymore, he generally doesn't say anything. It is often something that you come realize 10 years later."

  • "We asked ourselves how we could produce a mountain concept that would be cheaper and affordable to more people. We studied France's biggest tourist hubs (notably Paris and  Mont-Saint-Michel) and we realized that in Paris, most people visit the Eiffel Tower, but that 99% spend the night in the capital city's outskirts."

  • "The issue for that concept in Chamonix is that real estate is much too expensive. We figured we needed something outside the town with access to the transportation network. We built 150 rooms, a 5-minute ride away from Chamonix, with reasonable construction costs. So we built the most optimal hotel possible, with a less expensive and fun concept to stimulate demand."

  • "Our concept is based upon simple pleasures, which usually turn out to be the cheapest."

  • "We revisited the 1980s, with a boules area within the hotel, an olive tree as well, video games, baby foot, ping-pong tables... We have rooms that can accommodate 2, 4 or 12 people. We welcome a lot of families. In a mountain environment, they often are the most penalized: either you book two rooms, or a suite, and in either case it remains high-priced. Our rooms are small but high, and some are almost 4 meters high, thus they are duplexes. What is often expensive is the square meter, while height is generally disregarded. We have a total capacity of 420 beds and built 800 square meters of common areas where people may relax and have fun."

  • "We just started but had a great winter season. We accommodate lots of people. The property will be open year round, and the real assessment will come in one or two years' time. So far, we are on the right track i n terms of our considerations."

  • "In terms of experiences we have had in the course of this development, we were happily surprised since we offer a 'Food Court' catering option - notably an inside pizza truck; we also run a burger outlet and a brewery, and 30% of our customer base comes from the outside (i.e. eat at the hotel, but do not book a room), that was a great surprise. We run between 2 and 3 services per evening, with up to 250 covers."

  • "We have chosen the name "Rocky Pop Hôtel" for the property as it embodies it pretty well, it's fun and the "pop" side reminds of the 1980s."

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