Hotels

What exactly is a lifestyle hotel?

If you haven’t noticed, the hotel industry has undergone a tonne of change in the past few years.

With the rise of Airbnb, the rise of millennial travellers and lifestyle hotels becoming more and more popular, the hotel-scape today is more than just a standard, basic room.

And who better to ask about the future of the hotel industry than the people at the very top?

Which is exactly why USA TODAY spoke to four powerhouse hotel CEOs – and we’ve got the best bits, right here.

David Kong is the CEO of Best Western Hotels and Resorts, Elie Maalouf is the CEO for the Americas at InterContinental Hotels Group, Patrick Pacious is the president and CEO of Choice Hotels International and Jamie Sabatier is the CEO of Two Roads Hospitality.

So if you aren’t exactly sure what a lifestyle hotel is, let the experts explain.

“Lifestyle, to me, is about experiences. It’s about feeling a sense of place. It’s what travellers want more and more, and it’s experiences that they can’t get.”

“More importantly, it gets them to where they can feel, not like a tourist, but a traveler in that locale,” Sabatier told  USA TODAY.

Maalouf echoed a similar sentiment and said that travellers who stay in lifestyle hotels like to feel at home.

“It’s really reinforcing that real and aspirational self-identity. That’s when we get the lifestyle hotel right,” he said.

One of the key groups of people who are more likely to stay in lifestyle hotels are millenials – in fact, they’re travelling more and more overall. So are hotels changing to suit their needs?

Pacious said that instant rewards can be a key factor rather than changing your whole hotel around.

“Real estate investors who are building these hotels, they don’t want to have to rip out the design that was trendy three years ago and have to replace it.  We really looked to make the design more timeless,” he said.

“Millennials and everybody today — Boomers, Gen Xers — are impatient. So when we redesigned our loyalty program, one of the key insights we had is that people want rewards immediately.

“They don’t have to be big rewards. They need to be something that’s tailored to that individual guest,” he added.

Maalouf said that different demographics are more interested in personalisation rather than design – in technology and efficiency.

“We don’t design either individually or our whole portfolio around a particular demographic because people change.  And today’s Millennials will be tomorrow’s 50-year-old very successful travellers,” he said.

Kong, however, said that hotels need to pay attention to millennials – as they are the future, after all.

“The Millennials have focused on the next generation of travel, so we’ve got to pay attention,” he said.

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