Thursday, April 10, 2008

The hotel industry raises the stakes

I haven’t stayed at ANdAZ in London, but my son Ben sent me some intriguing info. This type of hotel is a new initiative by Hyatt and they have certainly learnt some new tricks. The hotel business today is a great example of how competition can transform an industry by raising what are table stakes. When I talk table stakes today, I mean absolute comfort, brilliant service, great food you actually want to eat and stunning decor. Ten years ago? Not so much.

ANdAZ has dispensed with the my-one’s-bigger-than-your's type lobby. Maybe you need somewhere to assemble the odd tour group, but most of us would prefer the lobby as a living room than a cattle yard. ANdAZ also understands that most of their guests will not be asking room service for a band-aid or another clean glass (if they’re not already there, you’re dead in the water anyway) but for things that are going to make their visit more fun, more interesting or more surprising. This is where ANdAZ gets adventurous.

During the London Book Fair, ANdAZ has a reader-in-residence. That’s right. Someone who is available to come to your room and read aloud to you. And if that’s not for you, how about their hiring Times journalist, Damian Barr, to talk with guests about the kind of books they like and make some hot recommendations. You can also book him for an entertaining lunch or dinner. In the Attraction Economy, people are going to drift away from anything that just offers up the same-old-same-old no matter how brilliantly it is done. If I were a hotel manager and I looked across my dining room and saw the inevitable single diners flicking through magazines as they ate their meals, I’d be deafened by warning bells. Sure, some of them might be very happy to be left alone, but we’re gregarious creatures, and as ANdAZ has figured, some of them might prefer being with friends.

1 comment:

CHRIS said...

I love London! Whenever I’m in town, I always catch up with my nephew who is quite a well known member of The Royal Ballet. This hotel in your blog reminded me a little of a brilliant place he often takes me and my girlfriend, (although the hotels are entirely different!). Based on the site of an 18th Century Hospital in Covent Garden and set over 7 floors, including bars, TV and music studios, ‘The Hospital’ is a private social professional network club for those working in the media and creative industries. Just one of the bars come restaurants that we visited had incredible ambience of an old ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ gentleman’s club meeting hip hop dance culture, with beautiful food, cocktails and service! You can just really feel the vibe that has been built as a dedicated club space for creative entrepreneurs…I’m not even sure if it was a hotel as well, but I certainly could have lived there!