[en] Talking about the diversification of hospitality at MIPIM 19

Source: MIPIM

Last Thursday, at #MIPIM, Europe’s prominent real estate conference, I took part in an insightful panel titled Hospitality Diversifying to Mixed-use.

The conference was the perfect opportunity to meet with David Heijligers, Managing Director for Hilton France & Benelux, Roger Allen, Group CEO of leading hospitality consulting firm Resources for Leisure Assets and entrepreneur Charlie Rosier, Founder & Director of Cuckooz. Similarly to the American Zeus, UK-based Cuckooz manages beautifully-furnished homes for business travelers. It’s worth checking out! Their concept not only eliminates any friction in the process of relocating or finding a home for a long consulting mission, but also connects you, the resident, with your new neighborhood, invites you to cultural events, sends you tips about dry cleaning, food, other residents, etc. to make you feel at home from day one.

Our conversation started with the now well-known observation that consumers want more than a bed in a standardized environment. In fact, IEIF recently showed that less than 30% of travelers want to stay in a hotel chain and that over 50% of business travelers would rather stay in a local, boutique place than a chain.

Open and fully integrated into their local communities, hotels offer top-notch co-working spaces, partner with trendy gyms, and connect with the co-living sector in order to embrace a larger audience and diversify their revenue streams.
Mama Shelter Restaurant (Source: Mama Shelter)

Today’s travelers expect to buy into experiences. They value the authenticity of an encounter or the discovery of a new world, more than the high-quality yet familiar design of Hilton and Marriott hotels. Moreover, mixed-use has become the norm for new lodging concepts. Much more than a bed, I want to meet locals and eat, shop and entertain as a local when I travel. Therefore hotels now encompass trendy restaurants, like Mama Shelter’s, well-designed entertaining areas like at Jo&Joe, as well as the right combination of daily services – from dry cleaning to babysitting – that make one’s stay complete. Open and fully integrated into their local communities, hotels offer top-notch co-working spaces, partner with trendy gyms, and connect with the co-living sector in order to embrace a larger audience and diversify their revenue streams.

Jo&Joe Hossegor (Source: Accor Hotels)

We concluded that gyms and spas don’t necessarily have to live within the hotels and that a brand is better off partnering with a great local wellness center than running a mediocre one. We also talked about the ‘blurrification’ of the boundary between traditional uses from hotel to co-working and co-living. It speaks to the need for project stakeholders to invest in the vibrancy of neighborhoods: by committing to act responsibly for locals, a business not only attracts the new value-driven generations of consumers but also nurtures its own returns in the long-term.

In the end, there is no silver bullet. Each project requires development partners to be hands-on in the design process and properly staffed with multidisciplinary teams that can anticipate the needs of every segment of those multi-faceted lifestyle hotels.