2018: The Year of the True Lifestyle Hotel?
Wild West Head of Wellbeing & Lifestyle, Maddi Tiscoe, shares her favourite predictions for the hotel sector for 2018
The hotel sector saw good fortune in 2017. PWC reported that last year UK hotels enjoyed record trading, underpinned by a boom in overseas leisure travel – and London saw record numbers of international leisure tourists due primarily to the weak pound. The likes of Hull and Cardiff benefitted from being awarded the City of Culture status and from hosting the Champions League Final. But future-gazing into 2018, what will change?
Prosperity is predicted to slow for the UK hotel scene this year, due to factors such as the decline in economic growth, an increase in room supply, and less impact from the weak pound. Add to this rather grim picture uncertainty around Brexit, which means we’ve not seen a boost in corporate business from abroad.
However, London’s performance is set to remain positive and regional growth will be seen across Manchester, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Bath, due to the extra 19k rooms being added, according to the Caterer.
Offering depth of experience appears to be a running theme for the global hotel scene. People, relationships and social hubs are key concepts, so expect references to ‘global communities’ and ‘social architecture’. Think coming together activities, courtyard cinemas, communal tables…
The Telegraph’s Jade Conroy has written a brilliant piece highlighting some of the top trends here, including emergence of the hotel/perfumery – a new Paris hotel by perfumier Lola James Harper and Accor which will embody inspirations behind the brand’s ‘location’ scents. Jade’s piece also includes news of the newly founded Habitas group, Mexico, plans to open more ‘homes’, not hotels. More landmark buildings will be transformed into hotel spaces, including The Langley, in Buckinghamshire: the former hunting lodge of Duke of Marlborough which will return as a 41-bed hotel in the summer. The Hoxton Williamsburg (its fourth hotel) will occupy Brooklyn’s former water-tower.
‘Epicurean escape’ is an emerging theme, with new stays offered by the likes of Luciole, the new ‘Cognac bar with rooms’ in France, by drinks expert Tony Conigliaro, and the (now Soho owned) Kettner’s Townhouse, which re-opens with its champagne bar still a focal point. Lympstone Manor (with Michael Caines at the helm) will also be opening its developing vineyard this April.
Business friendly co-working spaces are another rising trend. The Yotek group will be launching YotelPad, ‘apartment style hotel rooms for co-working and play’, as documented here by The Drum. Closer to home, Shoreditch’s The Curtain is reported by The Telegraph to be revealing a new space.
A thought provoking article by Wallpaper* editor Henrietta Thompson in BA Business Life, looks at 2018 driving a new ‘post-cool’ era. She talks of how the term ‘cool’ for brands has become diluted and commoditised. It’s not just about trends and styles. ‘Post-cool’ is reflected in movements, ‘it’s a larger social shift that requires integrity and imagination.’
We’re still talking about something that magnetically attracts people. However with words such as ‘authenticity’ and ‘transparency’ appearing at every corner, ‘cool’ brands need the substance to back up these references. It’s about attitude – as Henrietta says, “…for hotels it’s about a move away from throwaway design details towards a truer hospitality experience […] It means genuine, heartfelt and inclusive, familiar and human.” The age of the true lifestyle hotel lives on.
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Words: Maddi Tiscoe