Hybrid Concepts - Le Bijou - The Hotel Reinvented
27. September 2017

Hybrid Concepts for City and Countryside

With new business models such as Airbnb and rapidly changing needs of the guests, the established hotel universe is increasingly out of tune. Traditional hotels come to their limits, and for new developments “more of the same” rarely is an alternative. At this point, interesting niches between a hotel and Serviced Living are still unoccupied over here.

Hybrid Concepts

The interesting field of hybrid accommodation lies between the hotel industry and the parahotellery. Hybrid means that typical hotel elements are merged with those of (holiday) apartments. This makes rigid management and infrastructure models more flexible, and it opens a hybrid supply corridor that allows much of individuality. Guests decide for themselves what services such as catering, room cleaning or wellness they choose. With some offers, even the combination of different housing units is possible. Depending on the type of accommodation required, several guest segments can be operated.

Interesting Extension Options

Good examples exist in the holiday areas, such as the Privà Alpine Lodge Lenzerheide, as well as in the urban environment, with the rental of individually managed luxury apartments via Airbnb, for example, Le Bijou in Zurich. With the growing number of job nomads, hybrid concepts also offer interesting extension options for existing hotels. As an attractive additional business, they could, for example, manage long-stay apartments or business flat shares.

Especially in big cities, it is difficult for budget-minded guests to find affordable and modern accommodations. In the low-budget segment, many companies instead of giving priority to their guests they foreground the squeeze-out of the property. That there is also a different way demonstrate newly developed micro-hotels in the hostel style, which succeed in achieving a downsizing of the rooms without significant loss of comfort by intelligent interior design and a well-made selection of materials. Interesting concepts are provided by Yotel, Arlo, Jo & Joe from Accor or The Pod Hotels. Small rooms, combined with great social interaction in public spaces and food outlets: That´s the mixture, which appeals to the guests. And in order to keep the costs low, the system is set to modular design.

Public Spaces in Response to Airbnb

Personal care, socializing and contact with locals are in addition to reasonable prices the demand drivers for Airbnb & Co. But not everyone who avoids anonymous sleeping place hotels wants to be monopolized by the other extreme – a bustling caring by hobby-hosts and their private furnishing taste. For this clientele, hotels step into the breach, that is able to integrate besides reasonable prices and a stylish ambiance as well the public space into their concept. The opening of the hotel as a kind of living room of the district is increasingly gaining center stage in the hotel development. Ian Schrager’s new public hotels are a good example for this development.

Use Networks with Community Hotels

Specializing in narrowly defined target groups is nowadays a key success factor. As a result, hotels are trying to adapt their offer to the generation Y. However, this form of market segmentation is too short-sighted, because even though belonging to the same generation there are not necessarily the same interests, lifestyles, or holiday wishes. For this reason, it is recommended to focus on Affinity Groups, meaning groups of people who share a common passion, interchange in scene-based networks and thus are specifically accessible for marketing. Various examples such as dog hotels, hotels for oldtimer fans or veggie hotels have existed for quite some time, but concepts for very new meta-environments are also emerging. For example, the Blockchain-Hotel in Essen, named after a web-based technology, which is to become a meeting point of the blockchain scene.

Market Absorption by Pop-up Hotels

In the alpine regions, the emphasis permanently is on the seasonality. While the rooms can be sold several times during high season weeks such as Christmas or the ski holiday, the majority of the capacity is empty during the rest of the year. If a hotel still commands land reserves, the high demand can be absorbed with profit through mobile chalets. Promising innovative concepts for pop-up extensions are offered for example by WW-Wohnwagons in Vienna or Uffer AG in Savognin. However, in Switzerland, professional providers of temporary hotel capacities in the leasing model are still scarce.

Conclusion

With the creation of new accommodation forms or a clever redesign, structures emerge which adapt to individual needs of the guests. This requires the willingness to go along unconventional paths and to critically question what services and facilities the guest desires. Thanks to digitalization, services can be outsourced to a high degree and the joint-use of infrastructures is easier to organize. However, the attractive guest accommodation remains the centerpiece. With the fusion of high-tech and high-touch, new possibilities and success potentials are arising.

Source: hotelier.ch and Norbert Hörburger

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