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Brief Published: 1 May 2012

Boutique Hotel Summit Preview 2012


A concept first developed back in the1980s and driven by innovative hoteliers such as Ian Schrager, boutique hotels continue to enjoy strong growth worldwide. The sector is the subject of the Boutique Hotel Summit 2012, to be held at Altitude on London’s Millbank on May 21-22. 

Boutique hotels were initially favoured by affluent young travellers seeking an experience, although the customer base has widened with every passing year – and the sector has become harder to define in recent years. 

The international hotel chains are offering competition with their own lifestyle brands that overlap with the boutique segment in many aspects. Lifestyle taps into the same aspirational, design- and experience-driven ideas. 

Boutique hotels range hugely in price terms, from budget to luxury. The flexibility of boutique hotels gives them great allure to developers, whether conceived as new builds or conversions. Pricing levels can border luxury, although with running costs significantly below their luxury counterparts.

The sector is booming, according to HVS, the London-based hospitality research company, summing up in its 2011 Boutique Hotels Segment report. A sign of the times: this week Coral Hotels & Resorts announced its plans to open the Coral Boutique Hotel Baghdad in Iraq. In London alone, the number of design-led hotel rooms is set to double by 2013.

Key players in the hospitality industry will be debating the boutique phenomenon at the Boutique Hotel Summit. Delegates from the industry will hear from Gordon Campbell Gray, founder of Campbell Gray Hotels; Susan Harmsworth, founder of ESPA International; Matt Turner, editor of Sleeper Magazine; and key members of the HVÍ team.

Among the specific topics under discussion:

• The challenges general managers face and how their role is evolving.

• The increasing importance of hotels’ wellness offerings.

• The benefits of hiring a ‘big name’ chef.

• Mobile technology and the always-connected traveller.

• The benefits of collaborating with artists and designers.

• How the sector is addressing the issue of sustainability.

• If the boutique concept is an ‘exclusive’ idea.

• How to compete with lifestyle brands introduced by international hotel chains.

• What’s next for the travel agent.

• The boutique hotels of the future.

The event is sponsored by Luxmere, the luxury amenities supplier, and Quintessentially Driven, part of the Quintessentially global concierge group. Delegates are likely to include designers, architects, hotel owners, property developers, hotel industry suppliers and concierge companies.

Boutique Hotel Summit