MIPIM 2018: Tips from 3 urban hotel innovators

Piers Brown By Piers Brown
Uploaded 25 March 2018

We visited MIPIM 2018, the real estate exhibition, conference and networking eventin Cannes to catch up with international property professionals from hospitality.

The conference programme included a session titled 'Hotels with an urban view: room for innovation'. The urban hotel market is in full disruption, with more people travelling than ever before. A new wave of concepts is opening to meet demand from co-living to hostels, while luxury is taking on a leaner, smarter look. What are the latest trends in this dynamic sector?

Vanguelis Panayotis, CEI, MKG Consulting facilitated the discussion with speakers: Guy Nixon, Founder and Chief Executive, Native; Sharan Pasricha, CEO, Ennismore / The Hoxton hotel, and Serge Trigano, President, Mama Shelter.

After brief introductions, Panayotis asked panellists to describe what's changing within their own hotel product and guest experience.

Nixon described the Native brand as boutique aparthotels, offering a boutique experience with all comforts of home. "We're a little bit more unique (as an aparthotel) using design-led architects."

"Native sells rooms to a slightly different audience to the boutique hoteliers beside me, in that over 70% of rooms are used by the corporate guest.  Our average length of stay is 7 nights. We have a lower operating cost model, offering more space for less money."

Tip - Nixon: outsource your food and beverage

Nixon said Native was working with Bistrotheque, the company that operates the Hoi Polloi restaurant at The Ace Hotel, Shoreditch London for the dining experience "we have a vibrant ground floor - curated but not operated by us. We don't have the experience to do food and beverage well."

Pasricha described The Hoxton as exciting, vibrant, gentrifying neighbourhoods "that can be a bit sleepy."The average length of stay being 2 nights with a 50/50 split of corporate and leisure guests. "Our brand is all about culture and discovery, we don't really have brand standards - we're not a functional hotel"

Tip - Pasricha: it's not about trend and being cool 

Highlighting the shift to being design led, with great value food and beverage to 'activate' the ground floor space, he said "you have to control the ground floor, you have to 'own it', as it's our name above the door" Pasricha said. Don't try too hard on design aesthetics -"it's not about trend and being cool. Our space aims to democratize our guests as individuals - it's about walking into all our hotels and feeling the same, although all hotels are different."

Pasricha highlighted the Hoxton's brand push into America with three forthcoming hotel openings, and recruiting quality staff from outside the hospitality sector that know the culture of the area. "We are humble enough to acknowledge we're not experts but we know what's relevant (to the guest).We aim to reinterpret The Hoxton in hometowns."

Trigano outlined the growth towards shorter city trips and that Mama Shelter tries to create 'energy' in communal areas and talent (staff) in big cities.

Tip - Trigano: create energy and talent in big cities

Mama Shelter sells 'attitude' based on hotel design and food, and the quality of Mama's staff which makes stays different. "It's design and beautiful energy, not empty boring space. Music and lighting is important said Trigano,"we need a big space to create energy - the more you bring love, the more they bring the money! - guests are happy and comfortable, ready to pay the price."

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