The past five years has seen a rise in ‘boutique’ hotel brands. The once slightly alternative sub-sector has experienced considerable growth, bringing several big hotel operators to launch or purchase their own high-end hotel brand. As this format begins to eat up a larger share of the hotel universe, CBRE are asking “Are Boutique Hotels Becoming Mainstream?”.
In a recent ViewPoint research report, the real estate service company have delved into the life of the Luxury Hotel and its hopeful future.
“It is evident that boutique hotels are becoming more mainstream as they contribute to a larger share of stock,” CBRE Senior Research Manager, Danny Lee, commented.
Mr Lee said that Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra accounted for the largest share of boutique hotel developments, with boutique offerings representing up to 20% of the pipeline and 12% being the national average of CBD hotel developments.
It is suggested that an explosion of digital content and social media had given rise to the idea of “authenticity” and “experiential travel”. Pursuing this style of travel accommodation has been promoted as a competitive tactic.
“Experience-based travel is becoming prevalent across all demographics, but highly preferred by younger cohorts, giving boutique and lifestyle hotels the upper hand in the battle for customers,” Mr Lee said.
In an increasingly competitive market, with a range of new sharing platforms, independents and hotel chains, innovation is said to be the key to success. Personality-based offerings offer a point of differentiation.
One method that hotels have sought to achieve this distinction is by outsourcing food-and-beverage operations to celebrated chefs. Another tactic is to go ‘green’, with many pursuing sustainable developments to meet the demands of eco-friendly visitors. The West Hotel in the Sydney CBD presents an open-air garden style atrium, with surrounding greeneries, bringing a sense of the outdoors in.
CBRE Hotels National Director, Wayne Bunz, noted that while Australia was yet to see a large influx of major international brands target the boutique market, several acquisitions and launches had highlighted interest from the bigger players in this segment of the market.
“These include Accor’s recent purchase of Tribe, an Australian lifestyle brand focused on high-quality hotel experience at an affordable price, as part of its foray into boutique brands in Australia,” Mr Bunz said.
“Another Accor product, Art series, is a new brand gaining momentum in the Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide markets – featuring boutique hotels inspired by and dedicated to Australian contemporary artists. Marriott Hotels is also poised to debut Moxy, a millennial focused boutique brand, in Melbourne in 2021.”
Independent lifestyle hotels could still be successful without a major global brand attached, Mr Bunz added, but it would rely on the owner offering a unique and tailored experience.
“The success of independent local boutique brands over the past decade has supported the case for both international groups and smaller players to undertake boutique hotel developments, such as Ovolo The Valley, Brisbane; The Old Clare Hotel, Sydney; Veriu, Sydney; Little National Hotel, Canberra; Emporium, Brisbane; The Calile Hotel, Brisbane and the Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula.”