From Moxy to 25 Hours, Canopy to Cosi, Voco to Vib, major hotel chains have moved to add at least one lifestyle hotel into their marketing mix. Their mission? To attract travellers whose common interests are extraordinary experiences. Often these are linked to music, art, fashion, local culture, social networking and food and beverage. Today these new brands are aiming to become social centres, not just for hotel guests but also for locals who can drop by for a drink and a chat, or listen to live music.

Getting social: How hotels brands are reaching out to new customers

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25hours 190311
25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier.

It is a question that has some of the best minds in the hotel business scratching their heads. What, exactly, is a lifestyle hotel? How does it differ from, say, a regular international-brand hotel whose diverse clientele ranges from milllennials to silver travellers to almost everything in between? 

According to Marriott International, guests of lifestyle hotel prize “non-conformity, open-mindedness, and originality above all”. 

Best Western says a lifestyle brand like Vib has to be in tune with a guest’s everyday habits and needs. “Vīb is an experience, rather than just a place to stay,” Best Western says. 

Sean Hunt, area vice president, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Marriott International, adds, “The next generation of travellers is seeking more than a comfortable bed and room-service burger. They want to stay in hotels with an approachable price point that offer bold, contemporary design and hyper social experiences that tap into the local culture.” 

Ovolo, one of Hong Kong’s largest independent owner-operator hospitality firms, says it has a broad target market for its hotels, which is “more psychographic rather than demographic based”. 
“All hotels are working towards creating experiences these days but we have been going deeper than most,” says Dave Baswal, CFO and COO, Ovolo Hotels. 

Ovolo’s new brand, Mojo Nomad, launched with properties in Aberdeen Harbour and Central in Hong Kong, and will soon enter Australia. Mojo Nomad is a cohabitation concept for global nomads that combines travel, lifestyle and community at its core. 

IHG, meanwhile, sees lifestyle hotels as a “high opportunity segment where hotels are about stimulating a diverse and innovative environment, enhanced by a sense of belonging and style”.  

With AccorHotels, it is giving its ibis brand a stronger lifestyle focus by embracing new entertainment, design and dining concepts, as part of a life hub initiative designed to encourage social interaction between customers, travellers and locals. 

In 2019, more than 100 live performances will be hosted in ibis hotels with emerging artists supported by the hottest headline artists. On the fashion front, selected designers in Europe, Latin America and Asia have come up with new concepts for ibis hotels to connect with the outside by giving the bar pride of place.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of the HOTTEST 10 NEW LIFESTYLE HOTELS that have recently emerged on the scene:

25hours 190311
25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier.

Accorhotels and 25hours: 25hours


WHAT’S IN A NAME?  
25 hours is never enough. Motto: Know one, know none.

WHERE IN THE WORLD? 
Cologne, Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg, Munich, Dusseldorf, Paris.

WHAT’S UP NEXT? 
Dubai (2020), Florence (2020).

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: 
Whilst some hotel brands focus on generic conformity, 25hours Hotels says it is a celebration of individuality, with each hotel tailor-made for urban, cosmopolitan and culturally aware guests. The emphasis is on social dining concepts, adventure and cutting-edge design shaped into a vibrant community hub.  

GETTING SOCIAL:
In Hamburg, 25hours offers a concierge service for both guests and local residents. Services for residents can include bread delivery, a recommended handyman, window cleaning or laundry service. 

25hours Hotels’ co-founder and CEO Christoph Hoffmann says, “We often talk about being the heart and the living room of a district. This isn’t just marketing jargon. We are inspired by Lulu dans ma rue, a non-profit neighbourhood concierge service in Paris.”

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Anyone who likes to be challenged by art and design. From the pop-up Trump suite in Hamburg (complete with golden hair dryer), to Robi the robot greeting guests in Cologne, to the wall art and ‘Neighbourhood Heroes’ art collection at the Paris Gare du Nord property.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Sébastien Bazin, chairman & CEO of AccorHotels says, “This alliance came about because we were attracted by these individual, design-oriented boutique hotels that are a great workplace for urban nomads and an ideal starting point for outings into key cities.”

Vib 190311
Vīb Best Western Sanam Pao.

Best Western International: Vib


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Vīb is pronounced “vibe” and Best Western says this “reflects the feeling guests enjoy when staying at these hotels”.

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Antalya (Turkey) and Springfield, Missouri (USA).

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
The brand made its Asia Pacific debut in February with the launch of Vīb Best Western Sanam Pao in Bangkok. This concept has been created specifically for new-build hotels in urban locations, and Best Western plans to introduce Vīb hotels to several key Asian cities in the future.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
Vīb offers free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, Smart TVs with Lynk Sinc and eConcierge technology, connected social spaces and LED mood lighting. 

GETTING SOCIAL:
Midscale Vīb is designed for millennial-minded guests, with a focus on social engagement. 

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Guests who expect complete convenience and connectivity at all times, as well as those who don’t want to sit down for formal dinners or return to the hotel by a certain time. 

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Best Western says a lifestyle brand has to be in tune with a guest’s everyday habits and needs. “Vīb is an experience, rather than just a place to stay. This is the new face of midscale hospitality, evolved for the modern era,” BW says.

Voco 190311
Social House bar, voco Gold Coast.

InterContinental Hotels Group: Voco


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Inspired by the meaning ‘to invite’ or to ‘come together’ in Latin.

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
voco Gold Coast Australia (first in the world).

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 (2021, first in South-east Asia). Yarra Valley and Melbourne (both Victoria, Australia), Dubai, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and several in the UK. 

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
Onsite beehives, producing honey for various uses throughout the hotel. The strong sustainability focus also promises refillable dispensers for products such as soap, along with a high-end Aveda amenity and an initiative with Gold Coast City Council to ensure all kitchen waste is recycled.

GETTING SOCIAL:
The public spaces of voco Gold Coast include Social House Café, which collectively houses a bar and lounge within the venue, offering a space for everyone. The hotel also offers a calendar of social events held within their street facing public spaces, from a daily high tea experience to weekly trivia nights. 

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Social butterflies, who will also appreciate the bees on site.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Kenneth Macpherson, CEO EMEAA, IHG, says voco delivers a guest experience “that stands out, with touches of charm and memorable, distinctive and dependable hallmarks”.

Cosi 190311
The WYSIWYG CAFÉ at COSI Samui Chaweng Beach.

Centara Hotels and Resorts: COSI


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Centara says COSI hotels are comfortable as well as modestly sized through intelligent and intuitive design. The spelling with the “I” reflects the target demographic who are worldly, tech-savvy and generally of the smartphone generation. 

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Samui Chaweng Beach, Thailand.

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Pattaya Naklua Beach (Q3 2019); Krabi Ao Nang Beach (Q2 2020); Vientiane Nam Phu (Q4 2020); Chiang Mai Ta Pae Gate (Q2 2021); Phuket Central Floresta (2022).

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
Centara says living the COSI life is akin to a stay “at the stylish home of a friend”. Fully smartphone-integrated with USB charging points at every turn, the hotels are all about being “simple, social and connected” and focuses on “fun and freedom”, connections and shared experiences. 

GETTING SOCIAL:
Centara says COSI is “as different from a traditional hotel as a new smartphone is from the mobile phones of the 90s.” Centara re-thought what a hotel should be for the new generation of connected, freedom loving, frills-hating travellers. The result is an affordable lifestyle hub set in the middle of the shopping, eating, social and entertainment centres.

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Independent and tech-savvy travellers; the smart phone generation.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
“We designed COSI so you’ll get everything you need to bring your lifestyle to your destination. And we’ll be showing up in the destinations you want to visit,” says Thirayuth Chirathivat, Centara’s chief executive. 

Moxy 190311
Noodle Bar, Moxy Bandung.

Marriott Hotels: Moxy


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Moxy is spirited – always buzzing with high energy, interesting people and an energetic crew.

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Moxy Tokyo Kinshicho, Moxy Osaka Honamachi and Moxy Bandung.

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Moxy Melbourne South Yarra (2021); Moxy Osaka Shin Umeda (2020); Moxy Bangkok Ratchaprasong (2022).

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
Test your skills on the dance floor or with foosball in the lounge, learn about origami and calligraphy in the library, hit the gym or pedal around town on a bike.

GETTING SOCIAL:
Lobby Bar & Lounge is part bar, part lounge and part office space. There is a communal seating area for a working lunch, and space to wind down with light fare and cocktails. 

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Moxy was created for ‘fun hunters’ – millennial travellers who want to play while they stay and appreciate modern design, communal spaces and a central bar.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Marriott says its lifestyle portfolio is positioned to capture the loyalties of Generations X and Y, which are expected to account for 90% of the working population within a decade and more than 60% of Marriott International’s business within the next four years. 

Marriott adds, “As we have learned, today’s creative class is a supple, diverse, and ever-evolving group, prizing non-conformity, open-mindedness, and originality above all. 

“With that in mind, we’re deeply committed to learning and understanding cultural, creative and consumer shifts that will best serve this next generation of travellers.”

Canopy 190311
The Café at Canopy.

Hilton: Canopy by Hilton


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
We’ve got you covered.

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Chengdu, Reykjavik, Washington DC.  

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Canopy by Hilton Hangzhou Jinsha Lake, and Canopy by Hilton Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
The Chengdu property offers digital check-in, heated bathroom floors and a 24-hour fitness centre with a boxing ring. TC Café offers dishes such as Chengdu’s Long Chaoshou wonton soup.

The Transfer Lounge offers early-arriving or late-departing guests facilities such as luggage lockers, a private changing cabin and showers. 

Hotel team members (called Enthusiasts) help define the local vibe, sharing their knowledge and experiences with guests. 

GETTING SOCIAL:
There are nightly tastings of locally sourced brews, wine and spirits. “Surprising Extras” include daily artisanal breakfast as well as a mahjong set in each room.

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Canopy by Hilton is an east-meets-west neighbourhood concept. Guests, especially millennials, are encouraged to explore beyond the guidebooks.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
“We offer social spaces and services that support the everyday lifestyle of guests, and pick up the pulse of a destination and its residents,” said Daniel Welk, vice president, Luxury and Lifestyle, Asia Pacific, Hilton.


Worldwide Hotels: Venue


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Venue is all about the experience. Always something to discover. 

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
All three Venue Hotels are located in the heart of Joo Chiat, Singapore.    

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
We are exploring other locations in Singapore with an amalgamation of both heritage and culture such as Tiong Bahru and Chinatown.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
Current Venue Hotels are located in Joo Chiat, an area rich in Peranakan culture located in the eastern part of Singapore which has been designated as a national conservation area by the Singapore Government for its rich history, culture and architecture. 

GETTING SOCIAL:
The parlours of Venue Hotels are not just tastefully designed and furnished but they are also engaging. With iMac computers and a lounge area, space can be used for short meetings or simply to unwind and relax after a long day. 

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Venue Hotel was introduced to attract the niche market that appreciates the diversity of cultures, architecture and history. Surrounded by traditional shop houses with a reputation as a haven for local cuisine, it makes the perfect getaway for those who want to experience the local culture while also offering the accessibility to a range of amenities. 

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
“Venue Hotels are intended for guests who are return visitors, looking for a different setting, perhaps at a slower pace to soak in what our neighbourhoods can uniquely offer. 

“We are packaging comfort, style and a touch of class, within a cosy hotel setting, where conversations are lengthy and intimate. Each Venue carries its own identity and blends in to enrich the neighbourhood’s total offering. 

“We see potential with Venue Hotel and we look forward to the next Venue,” says managing director of Worldwide Hotels, Carolyn Choo.


Next Story Group: Kafnu


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Kafnu takes its name from the hamlet in Himachal where adventurers pause to reflect before their ascent up the Himalayas. 

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Colombo, Hong Kong, Taipei, Bengaluru, Saigon.

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Sydney (Q1 2019), Ho Chi Minh City (2019), Colombo (2019), Melbourne (2020).

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
In Hong Kong, custom designed aquascapes offer great views and an outdoor garden. A “Music Concierge” curates music in the space that varies daily.

GETTING SOCIAL:
Kafnu is envisioned as an urban village that brings together diverse groups.

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Creative types in the digital age. 

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
“Kafnu’s infrastructure is a seamless blend of a private members club, shared workspace and boutique hotel,” says Anand Nadathur, group chief executive, Next Story Group. 

Hyatt Centric 190311
Hyatt Centric fitness centre.

Hyatt Hotels: Hyatt Centric


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The Hyatt Centric name speaks to two things: it is both “in the middle of the action” and “in the know”. It’s about shopping and dining with locals, being in the heart of the action, having the inside-scoop on the best places to go and always feeling like a welcome visitor, not a tourist.

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
There are currently 25 Hyatt Centric hotels across 10 countries, including the United States, France, Japan, Spain, India and Peru. The newest addition is Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa, while Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo marked the brand’s debut in Asia Pacific.

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
There are over 20 Hyatt Centric hotels in the pipeline, including in Los Angeles, New York, Portland and more in the U.S.; Kanazawa, Japan; Melbourne, Australia; Sanya, China; Bodrum, Turkey; Dublin, Ireland; Dubai, UAE and Dakar, Senegal.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
Hyatt Centric is geared toward a demographic that values immersive experiences and authentic, destination-specific travel. The brand provides guests with the opportunity to do just that, both inside and outside the walls of the hotel.

GETTING SOCIAL:
The lobby lounge is a launch pad providing guests with information about the most sought-after food, nightlife and activities the destination has to offer. The bar and restaurant are local hot spots where great conversations, locally inspired food and signature cocktails can be enjoyed.

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Millennial-minded savvy explorers who are curious, hungry for authentic experiences and want to be in the middle of the action.

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
Carina Chorengel, senior vice president, commercial – Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, says,  “We know that, based on insights, more than one third of consumers are willing to pay more for experiences versus purchasing products.”


Ovolo Hotels: Ovolo/Mojo Nomad


WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Ovolo derives from the Italian word, Ovo. Ovolo is a derivative of a ‘small egg’ - the concept of new beginnings and a new life.

WHERE IN THE WORLD?
Ovolo owns and runs four hotels in Hong Kong, and six hotels across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Canberra, including both Ovolo Hotels and Mojo Nomad brands. 

WHAT’S UP NEXT?
South Melbourne (2020).

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE:
In Hong Kong, Ovolo Central offers happy hour drinks and an in-room Amazon Alexa. Its co-living brand, Mojo Nomad, offers tiny but efficient ensuite rooms, as well as shared accommodation.

WHO WOULD THIS APPEAL TO?
Open-minded creatives, early adopters and “excitable entrepreneurs”. 

VIEW FROM THE TOP:
“Right here… Right now! That’s what Ovolo Central is about,” says Girish Jhunjhnuwala, founder & CEO, Ovolo Hotels Group.


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