|FORT ATKINSON, Wis. (May
2010) -- It typically takes a few decades for a company to come by the
honestly that it has “seen it all.” But
the way the economy has behaved, it’s no stretch that Inn Development
Management (IDM Group, LLC), headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wis. and
specializing in the development and management of boutique hotels, says
“seen it all” in the ten years it’s been in business. Things like
boutique hotels firmly establishing
themselves as their own category of lodging, chains wanting to behave
independent hotels, the escalation of amenities, 9/11 and the recent
downturn forcing a precipitous drop in U.S. business travel, and the
normal of value pricing. So, to mark
its 10th anniversary, the management team at IDM Group decided to
put out its own list of predictions for the independent boutique hotel
“Despite the tsunami that was the
recession in 2009, we’ve been able to stick with our business model of
specializing in boutique hotels, but it’s meant being part successful
part traveler psychologist and part economic strategist,” said Craig
co-founder and president of IDM Group.
“As the country pulls out of this downturn, we’re predicting a mix of
risk and reward for the independent hotel segment.”
Here, then, are IDM Group’s 2010 Top 10
predictions for independent boutique hotel travel:
will be more to the scoreboard than (loyalty) points.
While everything seems to be point-driven
these days, travelers will back away from making hotel decisions on
lean toward places that deliver the services that are important to
whether that’s on-premise dining, creative meeting space, a fitness
or complimentary shuttle service.
hotel will be as much the
destination, maybe even more so, than the city itself.
This will be particularly
true for historic properties, where the culture and history of the area
made readily available to guests right at the property, or at least
very nearby. Examples include hotels with boutique
retailers within a few steps of the front door that offer merchandise
distinct local flair and entertainment and attractions that help anchor
downtown district. The sum of these will
help to create a singular experience.
- Travelers will pay for
comfort. While conspicuous
consumption will remain out, travelers still want comfort and they’ll
willing to pay for it. Conversely, smart
independent hotels will see the wisdom in not overcharging for
amenities, like the
soda and snacks in the mini-bar and valet parking.
- A warm sense of style will
decorating style that creates a feeling of trust will be appealing in
topsy-turvy time. Little homey touches,
like a small library corner, fresh flowers and charming pieces of art
travelers the comfort they crave. However,
hoteliers must consider a balanced approach by not scrimping on the
touches travelers still expect, like wi-fi and guest-controlled
- Business at boutique
rebound more quickly than at other lodging segments thanks to the
Internet. Independent hotels will no longer be lost in
the big media budgets of the branded chains, with the Internet being
equalizer as empowered consumers look to get the most for their
hotels will corner the pet-friendly
says pet owners must be relegated to economy hotels? These are
travelers who are willing to spend
more to bring along their beloved pet, and higher-end boutique hotels
adding pet amenities to appeal to this segment.
will know your name thanks to
a culture of service. A
cheerful and stable front desk staff will be more important than an
speedy check-in kiosk. Staff who make it
a habit to learn the names of their frequent guests will be rewarded
hotels will band together
to become regional “brands.” While
chains have tried to behave like the independent hotels, it’s the
hotels’ turn to take a cue from the franchises by forming informal
networks where one independent hotel is happy to recommend another
hotel it admires in a different city as a way to keep travelers in the
hotel fold. This might even allow for a
formalized way to offer upgrades and loyalty perks along the way.
These will be peer-recommended groupings, not
pay to play, so as not to force any property to give up its
will search out insider advice. Travelers see right
through a concierge who is being slipped a little something to
restaurant or show, and they don’t like being played. Travelers
will search out places where staff are
trained to know and embrace the area - maybe through regular in-market
trips” for employees - so they can get honest insider advice on what
National research firm Smith Travel Research
reported the boutique
hotel segment saw a positive percentage change for the first
2010 over 2009, with occupancy up more than 8% but revenue per
available room (RevPAR)
still trending down 4.4%.
IDM Group’s properties are currently outperforming the boutique
category in the U.S.
will trump gimmicky every
time. Whether it’s a new
hotel or a renovated landmark, guests will gravitate toward genuine,
gimmicky. That means making a connection
to the community by sourcing locally produced products, enlisting local
incorporating products indigenous to the history of the area, even
hotel to blend seamlessly with the community landscape. After
all, what works in one market usually
doesn’t work in the next.
About IDM Group
Group is the leading purveyor of boutique hotel development and
services in the Midwest. It offers clients expertise in
development, repositioning and management.
In every community in which it has a presence, theirs is the leading
portfolio includes historic downtown properties like the Hotel Julien
in Dubuque, Iowa;
lake vacation inns such as the Edgewater Resort on Wisconsin’s
peninsula; and newly developed hotels including the Jefferson Street
Inn in Wausau, Wis. Properties most recently coming under IDM
Group’s management include The Clarke Hotel in Waukesha,
Wis. and The Delafield Hotel in Delafield, Wis.
Group may be found online at www.inndevmgmt.com.