Young African businessman in formalwear bending over reception counter in hotel lounge while talking to receptionist

Stay overnight once, or stay connected forever?

A hotel isn’t just a place to hang your hat – it’s a flexible space with massive potential and endless possibilities.
When spoilt for choice, what makes a person handpick a hotel? Sometimes it’s for proximity to a momentous event or activity. Sometimes the escapism of a clean and comfortable hotel room is the activity. Whatever function the hotel serves, it has to combine the pleasure of something new with the comfort of a home. People will always remember why they stayed in a hotel, but they’ll leave the best hotels remembering how they felt. This is why hotels lend themselves to the repeat business model – consumers return to repeat the moment, feeling or memory. The industry succeeds when it builds equity into the ‘where’ and understands the physical place as integral to the experience.  And here, hospitality spaces have a leg up – by definition, they are services that consumers engage with physically,

“Following in the model of retail, hotels can be so much more than a bolt on for passing trade. They can become a hub of their local community; a place for people to congregate to enjoy shared interests or conduct business.”  

Key to achieving this synergy is understanding what a brand really means to people; how it reflects the consumer’s personal values and intersects with their personal life and experiences. By creating such a space, the consumer feels both comfortable and spoiled. And it works both ways - delivering brand identity through investing in physical space resonates from employer to client. Sharing a space becomes sharing an experience.

In a post-Covid-19 world, the hospitality industry has learned one key lesson; diversifying is king. Businesses that broaden their offers and widen their appeal to focus on enriching their deep connection with visitors are better inoculated against whatever tomorrow may bring. There are lessons to be learnt from the corporate world – in our first Power of Place report we asked employers what really mattered from their workplace. We found that while the pandemic and subsequent rise in hybrid and remote working may have changed the world of work exponentially, the physical workplace still has a crucial role to play in encapsulating brand identity, creating a sense of belonging among talent, and inspiring creativity and productivity among employees. Employers we canvassed in our latest research ‘The power of place: The true cost of inaction’  have confirmed the commercial benefits of investing in place to boost bottom lines. 

 
Infographic with pie charts demonstrating positive effects of investment in remote working

Let’s look at the high street model of engaging with customers in physical spaces. Shifting back from clicks to bricks might seem contrary to today’s marketplace, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s key for forward thinking brands who recognise the benefits of physical interaction and touchpoints. Who understand that a consumer standing in a location engages in more than a transaction – when the experience encapsulates brand values as well as services, emotional connections are made. These connections boost sales. In retail, sales are consistently higher in areas with physical stores. Brand awareness drives retention. 

When securing growth by attracting new customers, from near and afar, perhaps amenity rich spaces hold the key to stimulating demand within communities and helping them thrive. Perhaps hospitality has a vital role to play in the levelling up agenda and providing gateways to pockets of nature and culture across all regions of the UK. Due to soaring inflation and the lingering threat of the pandemic, we are in the era of the ‘staycation’ – and tourism bosses believe the trend is likely here to stay. This alters the fundamental principle of what a hotel is and presents an opportunity to attract investment. Following in the model of retail, hotels can be so much more than a bolt on for passing trade. They can become a hub of their local community; a place for people to congregate to enjoy shared interests or conduct business.  For this to succeed, however, the community must first understand and identify with the brand. Is the brand looking to inspire careers, become a learning centre, a home for romantic getaways, a local cultural hub, a family friendly respite?  

“Landlords and investors in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors cite the most precedence on net zero accreditations
perhaps owing to the demand from occupying brands whose reputations are sensitive to consumer perceptions.”

The line between a brand and its reputation has never been blurrier – consumers are better informed than ever and want to know how brands they use are plugging into systemic issues. This desire for transparency from consumers cannot be underestimated and is further reason to invest in a place that communicates brand values. For example, landlords and investors in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors cite the most precedence on net zero accreditations – likely owing to the demand from occupying brands whose reputations are sensitive to consumer perceptions. This isn’t just good ethics, its good business sense. Investors are well-alerted to preferences of consumers in creating sustainable places. Whether working with developers, operators, or local authorities, we at ISG share the ambition to respond to increasingly discerning customers by creating memorable experiences that build loyalty and enrich lives. A hotel isn’t just a place for someone to hang their hat – it’s a flexible space with massive potential and endless possibilities. 
Graph demonstrating quote above
  • Share this article