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Sleep - The Hotel Design Event, London 2014

26/11/2014

Sleep, The Hotel Design Event 2014

 

Philip Camble was invited to double bill at Sleep 2014 in London, firstly to interview Andrew Sangster and secondly to appear on the Round Table Talks. Philip's "takeaway nuggets" from these sessions include:

 

Andrew Sangster interview:

 

  • Having shed their "bricks", hotel brands are increasingly dropping the management contract model and opting for franchising only. This has led to a rapid growth in the number and scale of third-party operators, creating the Bricks, Brawn and Brains sandwich.

 

  • How hotels are sold to consumers has undergone significant sea-changes with the advance of the OTAs and their immense budgets for marketing and research. These changes will gain further momentum, bringing into question how will hotel companies standout on the retail shelves of Expedia and Booking.com?

 

  • One way in which hotel companies can fight back and differentiate themselves from other hotels is to focus increasingly on segmentation and design therein (such as Even and Hualuxe by IHG).

 

  • Although Andrew would not go as far as to confirm this a prediction, the foregoing does beg the question: Is the hotel company doomed? After all, they have lost their bricks, they are dropping operations and they are losing the distribution battle. What is left? Brand standards and a name.

 

  • What are the implications of this simplification in the hotel company model, I ask myself? As pure branding entities will they become takeover targets for the OTAs themselves? Could Apple buy IHG and create iHotels? Or Google buy Marriott and create Ghotels (or better still, Gspot-Hotels)? You heard it here first.

 

Round Table Talks:

 

  • This involved spending 10 minutes per table and moving around nine tables over the course of 90 minutes. Each table had a selection of 9-10 delegates and each table asked me any questions they wished.

 

  • One table was so fascinated by my experiences on St Helena, that the whole 10 minutes was spent talking about the island and the implications of the new airport and tourism.

 

  • On other tables I took the delegates on a world tour of countries in which we have worked and cultural differences between different destinations and their domestic markets.

 

  • It was a fascinating format and I hope the delegates found my ramblings of interest and stimulating.