“Airbnb meets boutique hotel”: Q&A with D. Alexander’s, Alex Allison

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BHN spoke to Alex Allison, co-founder of D. Alexander - a hybrid hospitality brand - about the reasons for focusing on group travel, and the challenges of asset convergence.

What is D. Alexander, and how does the brand fit into the boutique and lifestyle sector? 

"D. Alexander is the first and only group hospitality collection that owns vacation homes, including tech, operations, and data, for group destination seekers so that guests can experience consistency and memorable trips. Think Airbnb meets your favourite boutique hotel. The comforts of home, elevated to meet your expectations of a luxurious hospitality experience".

Why have you decided to focus on group hospitality? What were the key drivers for this? 

"My business partner and D. Alexander co-founder, Dustin Abney and I, love to travel with our friends and family and we envisioned making great vacation homes with a branded experience accessible to anyone. Over the years of travelling together, we were always burdened with finding a great vacation home that was well suited for groups and that delivered a consistent branded experience".

"Also, groups have the largest pain points or scope of needs and it's the most complex to solve. We're passionate about experiencing life, helping others create memories together and solving big problems. We have thought ahead, so you don't have to!".

What is D. Alexander doing that's resolving the issues related to group travel?  

"Operators of large vacation homes are failing their large group travellers' need for quality consistency. The needs of group travellers are very different than the needs of individuals, couples and business travellers. To date, there hasn't been an operator of single-family vacation homes of scale that has built a solution tailored to groups, which starts with owning and controlling the real estate and being solely-focused on groups".

"This can include an array of physical aspects within the home such as having a private bathroom aligned with bedrooms, functional elements like kitchenware to cook and host a group meal, amenities like board games, a great common area or outdoor space and a 6 seater golf cart, or pre-planning resources such as a 3D tour of the home for groups to help plan sleeping arrangements". 

"We've broken down the walls and needs of group travellers, and engineered a consistent branded experience to Elevate Group Hospitality (TM) and create memorable gatherings. At D. Alexander, we hand-select homes to acquire that align with the needs of a group and we own our real estate, providing us with unmatched control over the home and the ability to build an experience and deliver memorable hospitality tailored to groups".

How do you ensure your standards align with that of a top hotel brand? And how will you seek to improve the overall quality of hospitality experience?

"We deploy brand standard architecture across D. Alexander from top-to-bottom and throughout the entire guest experience. We use tech, operations and data to execute and uphold these high standards. This starts with detailed guidelines on the types of homes we purchase, the updates and improvements made, and all details relevant to how a guest experiences our homes, from the high-quality of the care products (Malin+Goetz), to linens (Italian), and entertainment (Polycade ultimate gaming console)".

"D. Alexander's group hospitality philosophy centres on consistency. That's a consistent look and feel, consistent quality of the home, sleep experience and care products, consistent quality of service and accessibility. In our world, it shouldn't change unless it's getting better".

What are the challenges of providing a service across various accommodation sectors?

"Owning, operating and delivering service across vacation homes vs. urban homes, short-term rentals vs. long term rentals, single-family vs. multi-family, boutique vs. large scale, is very different, similar to the differentiated needs of group destination seekers and business travellers. The single-family vacation home sector is highly fragmented which presents an array of challenges, but also a unique opportunity for D. Alexander. We see a dislocation in the market today, presenting a new real asset class and hospitality category".

For more information on D. Alexander, visit the website here

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