What’s Next in the World of Hotels?
Posted on Apr 3, 2018
Many years ago when I was a global sales director managing a set of big national accounts, I looked after many companies in the environmental/consulting/engineering sector. They travel to very remote places for all kinds of reasons – environmental clean-up, oil drilling, mining, etc. One customer attempting to figure out accommodations for a project said in a jokingly manner “you wouldn’t happen to have hotels in the middle of the Amazon would you?”
That question gave me an idea…
"The Remote Hotel"
Modular housing for project based needs like mining and energy industries have been around for a long while and have also really improved their product. What used to look like old army barracks are now gorgeous looking portable retreats!
But no one knows 'hospitality' quite like hoteliers do. In fact, who better than a reputable hotel brand to bring not only a modular hotel with comfy beds and pillows but also hospitality professionals that make you feel awesome far away from home? Instead of workers traveling far to the nearest hotel, why not bring the branded hotel to the workers? Set up shop and pack up when it’s done?
I brought that thought forward to my superiors many years ago. I got a nice pat on the head for thinking ‘out of the box’ and that’s where it all ended. Not the focus was the answer. Then again, that was B.A. - “Before Airbnb” and now everyone puts innovative ideas high up on the list of priorities. Imagine a hotel right where you need it when you need it for a major project that will run anywhere from 3 to 10 years or more? It’s guaranteed occupancy for a set time period. Need I say more? There’s no competition because you’re the only game in town. Take your money and your hotel with you when it’s all over.
But since then, I’ve come up with a few other hotel concepts or ideas that take the hotel biz into new directions and segments.
The Seasonal Pop-Up Hotel
Pop-up retailers are doing it all the time. Why not hotels? Hit up a city and set up shop during peak periods or during special events. Or maybe it becomes a need period to attract some excitement on a new brand when things are slow to create hype and awareness?
Now what if…it was a traveling pop-up hotel and a super unique experience?
A little like the Ice-Hotel that Montreal builds every winter only this is a traveling roadshow hotel. We are living in times when people are looking for unique experiences. The more creative the better.
The Tiny Hotel? People are intrigued with tiny houses. Why not set up a small village of Tiny Hotels for one or two night stays? Each Tiny Hotel could have a different theme. Take this tiny retreat on tour.
The UnCamping Hotel? What if you created a hotel made of glass or acrylic to get the experience and feeling of being outdoors without actually roughing it or confronting a black bear? Go outside to attend a cool bonfire and roast up some yummy treats and then be safe and bug-free while you sleep under the stars!
Urban Luxury Hotel Apartment Living
Ok, not totally new but living in a hotel as an alternative to leasing an apartment or even owning a home is something I predict will grow significantly. Or maybe hoteliers buy up condominiums but run them like luxury extended stay hotels complete with all the amenities, room service, turn-down service etc and maybe even your own personal chef when you need it. All for a nice fat monthly price tag.
People like Coco Chanel, Albert Einstein, Peter Sellers, Howard Huges, Bob Dylan, Robert DeNiro and more all had a preference to hotel living to residential living. Apparently Margaret Thatcher moved into the Ritz Hotel because she could no longer do the stairs in her home. There's a real niche here for the affluent boomer far from ‘old age’ homes but require more comforts that would find ‘urban hotel living’ a pretty darn sexy alternative.
Boomers too want cool and hip and urban. They want convenience nears shops, restaurants. They’re aging well and they have money. They aren’t interested in Golden Meadows on the outskirts of town – they want to be where the action is without all the stuff, work and responsibilities.
That brings me to: The Midscale Semi-Retirement Extended Stay Friendly Hotel
I once met a lovely older woman who had checked into a Holiday Inn permanently. Her home was only a few blocks away but the stairs, cooking, cleaning and maintenance on a daily basis were becoming difficult. She didn’t want to entirely give up her home and decided to check into a hotel down the road in her area. She had the best of both worlds and slept every night at Holiday Inn where they would clean her room, deliver room service and even take care of and deliver her laundry. On sunny days, you’d find her under an umbrella by the pool and on rainy days she would often love to sit in the lobby reading a newspaper where there was always a great vibe.
A couple of times a week – she would spend the day at her home where she enjoyed taking care of her potted plants while her family maintained the property. When I spoke to her, it wasn’t just the conveniences that she enjoyed but the friendships she had developed. What better place than hanging out with a bunch of hospitality folks! She was lonely living alone and at the Holiday Inn she met people from all over the world every single day. She quickly became a resident ‘personality’ you’d be sure to encounter and have the joy of chatting with at your next stay.
Hoteliers do it best .
Hoteliers know hospitality better than anyone. It stands to reason that anywhere there’s a bed required is fair game. No idea is too grandiose. Retirement homes, long term care facililties, university dorms, hospitals, institutions, training camps, army camps, airports, airplanes, ships and yahchts and campgrounds. Who will put the first hotel on the Moon or Mars? Which hotel company will provide a few of their rooms and jobs at the hotel to homeless people?
My ideas may be absurd. Then again maybe not.