Point of difference: The Ampersand Hotel

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The growth of the boutique hotel industry just refuses to slowdown.  HVS, leading hospitality consultancy, has even projected a double-digit growth rate from 2011-2013.  With increasing supply, especially with the aggressive entrance of hotel chains entering the space, the importance of good branding for independent boutique hotels is ever more imperative to be able to stand out from the crowd and shine out the competition.

With a new monthly feature, Nathalie Salas from Perfect Boutique Hotel talks to branding experts on what it takes to make that point of difference.

This month, we hear from Ben Kingsmill, managing partner of Goosebumps Brand Consultancyin London. Their clients include boutique hotel booking agent Mr & Mrs Smith and the newly opened boutique hotel in South Kensington London, The Ampersand.

A brand of connections
The Ampersand Hotel represents one of our more luxurious projects, having been appointed by an ambitious new owner to help re-brand and re-launch one of South Kensington's most prominent buildings, and too establish it as one of the very best places to stay in London. 

Within London's crowded hotel market, we sought to create a brand and experience that stood out with a genuine point of difference - as a counter point to the majority of the sector, we felt it was important to create a connectivity to the guest as its inspiration and at its heart.

By naming the hotel "The Ampersand", a universal symbol of connections, we were able to bring together two key themes - the nearby famous museum district  (The V&A is one of the London's most famous museums) and the sense of inclusiveness. 

What's also important is the natural synergy between the brand and the overall design of the 111 rooms and suites.  The depiction of the Victorian values of discovery within the design reflects the five concepts of botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy to echo the arts and culture that are part of South Kensington's DNA. 

Overall, the brand seeks to make guests feel welcome, instantly at home and connected to the local area of South Kensington.

Above and beyond the name and logo we have sought to surround the guest with the brand experience. Playing on the central theme of connection, visual and verbal pairings are used to give a sense of playfulness to every part of the hotel environment. From the toiletries to the umbrellas to the key-cards, we've made sure that every object carries an idea and every idea contains a smile.

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