Boutique hotels outshine big chains with storytelling, personalisation, hospitableness, and collaboration: BMIHMS researchers and consultants unveil the key strategies for the New Luxury accommodation experience.

Luxury hoteliers, take note! The buzz from AHICE 2023 tells us one thing loud and clear: regional boutique hotels are stealing the spotlight, and recent data reveals that these establishments are outperforming their traditional big hotel counterparts.

So, what’s the secret behind this luxurious revolution? Indeed, it has been years in the making, driven by changing consumer preferences and the impact of the pandemic. Today’s discerning guests, especially Millennials and Gen Z, prioritise authentic experiences, intimacy, and sustainability over crystal chandeliers and silver service.

BMIHMS researchers and consultants have been hard at work unravelling the enigma of this luxury hospitality shift, focusing on the epitome of luxury lodging: the stunning luxury lodges dotting the Australian landscape with their imperfect, understated, and homely luxury. And what have we learned from them? Our research has identified four key strategies to assist luxury hotel managers in crafting the NEW luxury hotel experience:

  1. Storytelling: A well-tailored story that connects your hotel with unique places, genuine people, and your brand becomes the binding force that unifies the entire guest experience. And don’t just craft a good story. Get yourself some good storytellers to tell it.
  2. Personalisation: It’s time to kick personalised service up a notch! We are talking beyond a mere name card or a “happy birthday” on a dessert plate. Get intimate, get creative, and get to know your guests’ quirks and desires. This calls for a new breed of employees—empathetic, sociable, and bursting with personality. 
  3. Hospitableness: Forget about pomp and grandeur. Today’s guests crave comfort, a sense of home, and genuine care. Sure, killer aesthetics are essential, but let’s not forget the most vital ingredient: hospitableness! Your hotel isn’t just a pretty face; it’s a vibrant sanctuary where hearts are warmed, and souls are pampered. Make those walls breathe with life!
  4. Collaboration: Wave goodbye to the days of lone wolves! In this interconnected world, people crave connections, and guess what? So do you! Collaboration isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the key to sustainability, efficiency, and spicing up your hotel’s offerings. Join forces with producers, suppliers, local communities, and local tourism wizards to add that extra character to your guest experiences. Plus, you’ll champion social sustainability and boost the local economy.

Anita Manfreda

About the author: Anita is a researcher, trainer, and consultant at BMIHMS @Torrens University Australia. She works with practitioners in the luxury sector to redefine the contemporary definition and characteristics of luxury accommodation experiences toward authenticity and sustainability.