One of the main trends in tourist and hotel business is the idea of unique and inspiring holiday experience that largely depends on the hotel and its location. More and more tourists choose small luxury hotels with sophisticated history, original design, exceptional room decoration and unmatched service. These are known as boutique hotels.
Boutique hotels, along with the concept of unique, personal travel experience, are gaining popularity, and representatives of notable hotel chains and large companies display a keen interest in them.
Autograph Collection by Marriott, MGallery by Sofitel: Accor Hotels, Curio by Hilton — all these brands are the perfect examples of boutique hotels managed by the largest hotel operators — true cherry on top of world famous hotel giants.
Chain Hotels vs. Boutique Hotels
The difference between traditional chain hotels and boutiques is quite simple. In chain hotels, everything is made according to the same standards, each room is similar to the other. Hoteliers spare no effort to make their place distinctive. Uniform chain design and service dominate here.
In contrast, the main feature of boutique hotels is individuality and all its manifestations: unique design, non-standard positioning, high-class service, and exceptional approach to each guest. Boutique hotels are designed to create sensations. The emphasis is put on comfort, furnishing, decoration. Hoteliers are trying to create a special atmosphere by making dreams come true for their guests.
Nowadays, unique hotel concepts are in high demand in developed markets: not only well-known representatives of hotel business, but also large investors are interested in boutique hotels.
Hermes-Sojitz international investment foundation has launched its project of boutique hotels chain, Hermes Heritage Hotels. At the initial stage, the collection will include 12 unique hotels with 540 rooms located in the North of Italy. We are planning to enter the IPO and expand the chain to 50 boutique hotels.
The project involves renovation of historic Italian palazzos using the latest engineering technologies and modern design concepts of the best architectural and design bureaus of Europe. The chain will be managed by one of the top 5 world hotel operators.
Both foreign and Russian investors are interested in participation in Hermes Heritage Hotels project, since our business model is aimed at creating more than one boutique hotel, and thus represents a promising and intriguing option in terms of return. According to Oleg Yantovsky, Head of Hermes-Sojitz Representative Office in Russia, the foundation is to look into the possibility of creating a boutique hotels network in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the view of the increasing popularity of Russia as a tourist destination.
The results of 2016 demonstrated strengthening of the hotel business positions in Russia. This is due to the growing domestic and foreign tourist flow that spurs the development of the hospitality industry. Moscow and St. Petersburg have always been the main tourist destinations in Russia, and these two cities are of greatest interest to investors today.
However, growing demand meets limited supply. The shortage of international standard rooms is particularly acute in St. Petersburg and its historical part; certainly, this influences the tourist attractiveness of the city.
Architectural features of St. Petersburg and vast number of monument houses in the center make it impossible to implement standard hotel development projects. Still, this is no obstacle to boutique hotel concept, because it takes all advantages of the existing historic mansions. Introduction of high quality standards in implementation of boutique hotels is one of their key elements that, as a rule, is possible only under the management of an international hotel operator.
It is worth adding that the concept of boutique hotels can be adapted to various architectural features and construction solutions with no significant changes in the layout. This fact contributes to the preservation of the historical heritage, and minimizes potential difficulties in communication with city construction authorities.