The 20th edition of the largest gathering of hospitality investors, International Hotel Investment Forum, IHIF, had a recurring discussion of going beyond the traditional hospitality service approach and using hotels as a hub.
The social scene existed within hostels and membership clubs such as Soho House for some time. Nevertheless, there has been an undeniable shift towards a community feel in the industry in the recent years. The success and popularity among the potential customers of new players like Zoku has caught the attention of the industry leaders.
Accor’s new brand JO&JOE and Marriott’s Moxy is evidence that the leaders are determined to ride this trend. Sébastien Bazin, CEO of Accor, dedicated his keynote speech to discussing the future of the brand and how he aims to integrate hotels into the local community. Striving to create a connection in the community by building trust; Bazin believes if the local dry cleaner has a urgent delivery and the client cannot pick up the cleaning in time, the dry cleaner should be able to leave the package to be picked up at the Accor hotel in its neighborhood. Bazin also claimed that properties are not being used to their full potential, that exploiting the available space with a community approach is the future for Accor.
IHIF’s dedicated breakout session to the subject, aptly named New Hospitality Models, housed the creative innovators of the industry. JO&JOE’s lead man Christian Giraud was accompanied by Fredrik Korallus, CEO of Generator Hostels, Eric Van Dijk, COO of Meininger Hotels, and smaller yet inspiring concepts such as Roam and Green Rooms.
Although the ideology and background of the speakers all differed substantially, there was a consensus towards focusing on creating social centers out of the properties and driving customer experience through it. The priority seems to be on providing an intense local community exposure, engaging people through social space and allowing properties to ‘be the stage’. The concepts follow different routes to achieve this collaborative environment; Roam’s co-living concept allows for business collaboration, Green Rooms sets the scene so artists interact and create together while the hostels are setup to drive the social synergy.
IHIF is unequivocally the most important event for the hospitality industry. It is the meeting space for the leaders; where the deals are signed and significant strategic decisions are made. In an event that has such a big impact on the industry, one of the focus points was to move away from what the industry excels at. The businessmen and women we consider the leaders are embracing the moving consumer needs and exploring ways to meet them.
The new generation going into the changing industry, including EHL students, should be equipped with an innovative and creative mindset. They should be ready to explore the newly shaped trends that dictates the modern hospitality models and possibly abandon the traditional hotel room.
"IHIF is perhaps the biggest opportunity a prospective hotelier could get. Beyond listening to the ideas and predictions of the leaders of the industry, one has the chance to scrape shoulders with them in intimate workshops and networking events. I attended the conference right before graduating, in a time where I needed guidance, and was lucky enough to receive it from the great names of the industry."
Author: Lina Temelli, Bachelor Student
Lounge Photo Credits: Green Rooms