Retail and hospitality have always been related - from the compulsory curio shops on modern cruise ships to the bazaars and flea markets that spring up wherever and whenever there are tourists to trap.
In this month’s trend digest, we take a look at some articles that explore how this relationship is becoming more formalised, and better capitalised upon, by those in both the retail and hospitality sectors.
With brands consistently looking for ways to set themselves apart, many are becoming the vehicle through which guests discover a distinct decor, style or way of life. As Ashley Garner of Sabre Hospitality explains, this is hardly limited to the hospitality sector, but is certainly an opportunity that properties have available to them.
“Take a company like Disney. Most people don’t label Disney as a retailer. But ask anyone and they’ll tell you how easy it is to spend money on a Disney vacation. They’ve made the entire process of purchasing goods part of the brand experience. And hoteliers have the same opportunity.” — Ashley Garner, Sabre Hospitality
Elspeth Velten of The New York Times agrees that properties are perfectly positioned to provide guests with a “test drive” of everything from lotions to lamps and beyond during their stays, encouraging them to experience the products for themselves rather than simply seeing them on display in a store.
“Shoppable” hotel rooms offer items from cosmetics and toiletries to art and furniture that guests can buy, essentially turning a piece of your vacation into everyday reality… At the extreme, an entire accommodation can be turned into an entirely shoppable showroom, offering guests an intimate test drive that most traditional buying experiences lack.” — Elspeth Velten, The New York Times
Colin Nagy of Skift takes Elspeth’s idea one step further, asserting that it’s not simply a product that properties have the opportunity to promote, but a lifestyle that their guests will be more inclined to invest in, having had first-hand experience of it.
“A luxury hotel delights in the details, and the best ones aren’t selling a bed and a room, but rather a complete world view. Hospitality brands are well-placed to introduce the right products in an inspirational context, where an audience is much more likely to be open to receiving them.” — Colin Nagy, Skift
It’s not only properties that are adopting retail methodologies, but retailers who are embracing properties as an opportunity as well. As Jennifer Luo of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) explains, the idea of potential buyers experiencing the products as they are able to by having properties endorse them, is gaining traction in the retail sector.
“A growing group of mid-tier retailers are eager to capitalize on the experiential retail trend. Top retailers with strong brand identities and marketing capabilities are pushing the boundaries of their core business by venturing more and more into the world of hospitality and personalized service.” — Jennifer Luo, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne
The concept of flagship-store-as-hotel has gained so much traction that it has seen companies like Taco Bell investing in the hospitality sector by opening their own properties and resorts. And as Hannah Sampson of The Washington Post points out, The Bell Hotel in Palm Springs may be taking the concept of embracing hospitality to the extreme, but it’s hardly the only brand to be making in-roads in the industry.
“The coming “tacoasis” in Palm Springs, Calif., may just be a short-term publicity stunt, but retail, fashion and even fitness brands are crossing over into the hotel world in big ways, giving travelers choices beyond the everyday Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt. The question now is: Will travelers choose to stay at names associated with something other than hospitality?” — Hannah Sampson, The Washington Post
If the idea of incorporating a fast-food chain into your property is a cringe-worthy one, that’s perfectly normal. But you don’t have to go as far as endorsing McDonalds, especially if it isn’t part of the lifestyle your property wants to put forward to the world. What is important if you want to embrace a retail methodology in your property is to find the brands that reflect your style and ethos, and begin to help your guests embrace them as well.
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