Boutique Hotel. Only the words get the imagination going. Just before I dog eared the pages of Herbert Ypma’s first Hip Hotels book I was fascinated by the industry of boutique hotel properties. “How cool will it be to be the general manager of the cool boutique hotel?” I often found asking myself as I flipped through the pages of his magnificent photos. Working hard to make a career out of the hotel industry, I was convinced that I just had to be involved with a boutique hotel someday.
That someday came true, when in 2004 I was invited to get the typical manager of the items was yet still is among Palm Springs most hip boutique hotels. I left another huge opportunity simply to take part in this excellent world. The art, the style, the vibe. I had never really worked anywhere with a “vibe”. Annually later and I knew, I knew what many in the hotel business tend not to…what it is really enjoy being the gm of the hip, cool boutique hotel. It’s not for everybody and amazing for a lot of.
There exists a mini storm brewing within the boutique hotel world, one I don’t think most involved in this industry are aware of. With more and more boutique hotel operators entering the playground, more and more bad hiring decisions are now being made. The best General Mangers will work in the wrong hotels. Just like a square peg along with a round hole, several things just do not work. Who may be to blame and what can be done?
The Boutique Hotel: First permit me to first tell you that I have got a narrow look at what really constitutes a boutique hotel. I do believe that the term “Boutique” when employed to describe a hotel is frequently misapplied. A prnewswire.com is not based on simply a hot design, as much would argue.
A boutique hotel must be a completely independent operation. The resort should not be part of a collection that is certainly greater than say, 10 properties. Beyond this you get into having a corporate hierarchical management style that is required in managing a large company and looking after brand consistency. Take W Hotels as an example. In my opinion these are not boutique hotels. They look like a boutique hotel, even think that one. Many boutique hotels would strive to be as great as a W. But a W Hotel is run and managed by a rzaufu corporation. The property level management makes not many decisions in regards to what services are offered and just how the house is run. A boutique hotel should be operated as close to the actual physical operation as you can. W’s and so forth are amazing, but for me don’t fit the concept of a boutique hotel. Boutique hotels will also be constantly re-inventing themselves, ensuring that their fickle guest never lose interest and search to remain on the latest new, hip and funky property.
Travelers made a decision to remain at a boutique hotel as a result of story, or perhaps the experience. The event is vital and must be unique and somewhat innovative. The general demographics are individuals 20 to 50 years of age, function in more creative fields like advertising or entertainment and appreciate a higher amount of service. When Ian Schrager entered the current market in what many consider to be the very first boutique hotel, this demographic learned that they might use their travel budget have them an area in a cool, hip hotel instead of a generic mid-level branded property. As well as the boom started.
Boutique hotel guests enjoy experiences, unique architecture, innovative home design and perhaps an urban location. The market is expanding and also the demographic model explained earlier is starting to bleed into others. You might adequately locate a Fortune 500 CEO staying at a boutique hotel. It is actually difficult to overlook the hype.
Luxury hotel operators are scrambling to avoid losing market share to the boutique world. Some hotels are actually using the “brand” off their marketing and streamlining their operations in order that their properties are authentically boutique. Consider the Kahala Mandarin Oriental for example. This famous luxury property recently took Mandarin Oriental away to make sure they could operate and compete inside the new marketplace more independent hotels. They are now simply “The Kahala” and they are spending so much time to get authentically local and independent of the major brand identification. I believe others follows.
For the sake of this publication, I will use the luxury hotel since the comparison towards the boutique as most closely associate a boutique hotel with luxury travel. So what is so different about as being a general manager with a luxury hotel versus a boutique hotel? Can it actually be that different? The fundamentals are identical. The typical manager accounts for the complete everyday operation, hiring decisions, marketing, budgets, forecasting, rate strategy, facility maintenance etc… The real key both for types of properties is guest service and guest interaction. The guest at a top end luxury hotel expects so that you can connect with the resort general manager, as carry out the guests in a boutique property. It is actually all high touch.
The difference is that a boutique hotel general manager wears just a couple more hats compared to the luxury general manager. A boutique general manager might be preparing complex budget forecasting spreadsheets at 10am and also at 10:30 am be clearing the pool towels from around the hotel’s salt water plunge. When was the very last time you saw the general manager of the Peninsula Beverly Hills having an arm full of towels? Don’t get me wrong, I know the general manager of the Peninsula would do this in a second, if they were required to. The typical manager of any boutique hotel Must, as there is nobody else. The main one server working the restaurant is additionally probably in charge of taking care of the pool, taking room service orders, delivering the orders and so on…. The overall manager of any boutique hotel may also be even the HR director and breaks the front side desk agents. When the gm is at California then this gm may find themselves breaking pretty much every position just to avoid getting sued and fined!
Take this example; you are the GM of a hot boutique property in the desert. The temperature is pushing 118 degrees. Since occupancy throughout the summer season is really low, you encourage lots of your team to consider their vacations to get that vacation accrual off your books. One of those who takes you high on this is your chief engineer, one of two engineers to your entire five acre property. He goes the place to find the motherland, Germany for a week. Now simply because it’s hot does not always mean that you simply don’t have customers. Some tourists manage to love the warmth, so it was using this steamy day in August. As the sun begins to set, your guests make their way through the pool with their bungalows. Dusk and 100 degrees, everyone switches on their aged ac units full blast so they can cool down. Your only other engineer went home for the entire day. It really is at concerning this time that this calls start coming in. The ac units are freezing up. The old units freeze up if they are switched on full blast. Many blow the circuit breakers. So there you are, within your office doing the forecast for the weekly corporate status report call if the front desk calls you in a panic, “the guests are flipping out” cries your new front desk agent. You look into the calls and find out that you require your engineer back on property, but his pre-paid mobile phone (you cant afford to cover a cellular phone for him) is out of time -you cant reach him! So where do you turn? You visit the rooms to see if you can fix them. Room by room you tackle the challenge of explaining in your sweaty and angry guests why they cant turn their ac on full and that it will take at the very least two hours for the ice developed across the coils to melt. Then you certainly start looking for your circuit breakers, which can be scattered all around the 60 years old property. By the time you get to the last room the guest who answers the doorway almost screams on the sight from the sweaty, dirty general manager holding an instrument box having a dazed look on his face. “Wasn’t this the identical guy who had been pouring us Mimosas at the pool this morning honey?” asks the guest as you begin your repairs. Once the craziness is over you have a ask your cell phone. Yes, it really is your engineer returning your call. “You attempting to reach me boss?”. The next day, while on your conference contact you pay attention to a speech regarding how general managers have to spend more time with their guests rather than in their offices. Duh, you imagine when you try to scrub the grit out from beneath your fingernails.
The financial realities of any boutique hotel are unique. The look of 3 to 5 star service with a two star funds are the standard, as well as the gm’s get caught at the center. The boutique hotel just lacks your budget to staff just like a true luxury property and everybody needs to pull their weight. The gm who does not will not be there long and hate every second with their lives.
Together with the additional sweat and frustration for being a boutique hotel gm would be the rewards. For the ideal individual, they will find that the entrepreneurial management style required of them is extremely empowering. The gm can create a lot of decisions on their own, decisions that in a larger corporate hotel would require an approval or worse….committee discussion! The truth that some towels need to be acquired and maybe a drink or two be mixed and served is actually fun for them. The rewards of always being before your friends and family are what most gm’s want anyway, but many are certainly not really ready for it while they are tasked to create which happen every single day.