For years, hotel school taught what 99 per cent of the customers wanted: Luxury hospitality that was steeped in uniformity in extravagant design hotels. Crisp white linen and Gothic columns in lobbies perfectly married the delicate scones and imported cheese the chefs juggled out of their 17th century French cookbooks.
Kapil Chopra, Founder & CEO for The Postcard Hotel and Chairman of the Board for EazyDiner
The improvidence of living like the affluent brought with it experiences that were predictable and impersonal. A quality that was to a large extent measured by a price tag.
The technological revolution with the disappearance of international borders, increased travel and wanderlust stricken social media as our friend has steered the hospitality industry to anticipate the new and consciously move away from the cookie cut nonchalant hotels and clichéd destinations.
Ironically, in that technologically tired world, true luxury is now slowly becoming about the quiet reflective time one spends, and decides what best to do with it; an intangible yet very important quality of uniqueness and simplicity.
Having been a student of luxury hospitality for the last 25 years, I look at the hotel landscapes as on various stages based on their offerings. A basic clean bed, bath and breakfast is promised in levels one and two where hotels provide a great commodity or product. Coupled with great service is the third level where majority of the luxury hotel brands operate. For most guests, traditionally this is where it ends with good looking hotels and service. Airbnb came with the fourth level and brought in the segment of experiences where living like the local became famous however with no promised service. The fifth stage is of transformative hotels. A stage where hotels are a beautiful amalgamation of a great product with premium service and immersive inclusions that have the power to create a transformational experience for all guests. For instance, at an upcoming Postcard Hotel, one can watch the sunrise from the middle of the ocean, as opposed to watching it from the beach, which is something one will remember for years.
Hotels should act as curators to a single multifaceted lifestyle zone of design, wellness, food, history and integrated experiences. Guests should be allowed to align their various passions into a seamless whole, whereby the convergence of elements delivers a sum greater than its parts.
Wellness is a fast growing trend where fragranced spa therapies are moving to more evidence based programmes for relaxation and rejuvenation. The Soho House group in early 2016 opened doors to Soho Farmhouse offering holistic activities without seeming like a meditative camp. At The Postcard, Sustainable Ayurveda is offered by therapists coming from families of three generations of practitioners, all the way from Kerala.
With an overwhelming number of options that exist in the world, hotels must anticipate and in turn do the thinking for its guests. In these times it is essential to capture the customer and provide valuable ‘packaging’ that is a conglomerate of stripping away the artifice, providing consistency and affordable prices.