"I’m building a hotel" is a phrase that we hear more and more often lately, which raises a reasonable question about the future of all these new hotel properties that are expected to enter the Greek market in the near future. Which and how many of these businesses will be truly successful after the impact of COVID-19, and how many of them have been specified in response to the new market data reality?
Modern hotels have changed their development methodology. It is no longer enough for the hotelier to inform the architect about the building blocks, budget, conditions of development, or relevant funding programs. What is needed now is something more: a thorough Study and a Concept that will make the hotel business stand out from the competition and help it detect its audience easier, despite the diversity that characterizes the hotel industry.
We will try to answer the question of what can make a hotel successful through an interview with Zenios Zeniou, Co-Partner and Hotel Concept Maker at Destsetters, the first company in Greece that specializes in developing original and successful hotel concepts.
First of all, how easy is it to specify what it takes to develop a successful hotel?
The truth is, it’s not that easy, as the prerequisites are too many and they refer to various factors, such as the location of the property, the connectivity of the destination, and, mainly, the owners' vision. However, the most decisive factor is the thorough research that needs to be carried out before the hotel is specified in order to decide on the right direction of its development. A common strategy is to simply follow what a funding plan sets out, or what the architect or entrepreneur may have in mind - but this is not enough. There must be serious and thorough research on what the traveler is looking for in each area, what is missing from the competition, and what the future tourism trends are. These are the basis on which a hotel business should build its future strategy.
So what is ultimately needed is to develop a more detailed business plan and better in-depth research, or are there other steps that are not immediately noticeable?
I wouldn’t say that it is that simple. Initially, a business plan cannot be conducted without first doing what we call a "Typology Study." This study evaluates the conclusions and data that have been drawn from the initial Research and then provides alternative scenarios regarding the distribution of the square meters of each plot or property, forming a series of possible types of hotels, with different types of rooms and facilities. These alternative scenarios will help the professional business plan developers access the right parameters and conduct research for each scenario, allowing us to decide the best possible direction more easily.
Which exactly is the professional field in charge of performing the Typology Study? The discussion, so far, shows that there is a profession between an architect and a financial consultant.
Indeed, the reality is not far from what you describe. Basically, a new hotel needs a professional with excellent knowledge of how a hotel is sold in the various channels and how its competition is analyzed, combined with a good understanding of architecture and construction. At Destsetters we do exactly that. We do not replace the architect, nor any other partner that has to do with the future of the operation of the hotel after its creation. We gather our know-how in all the above matters, and we try to fill the gap between the investor and the architect, conduct detailed research, and create a proper brief that will lead to the correct design of the hotel. And when we say "proper design," we don’t mean the architectural/technical part but the commercial and operational side of the project. This is why the building determines a large part of the hotel strategy and, once it is constructed, it is not easy to make changes – or, at least, changes at a low cost.
So does Concept Making end when the architect completes the design, or is there more?
The process until the creation of the preliminary Master Plan by the architect is what we call a Typology Study, as I mentioned earlier. Hotel Concept Making begins after the completion of the Master Plan by the architectural office. After having the layout of the several spaces and facilities in our hands, we are called to specify in detail the overall experience that will be offered in the hotel, coming up with a unique narrative and operating system that will respond to both the financial management and the functionality of the hotel. Commonly, we do not leave a single space, public or private, without having fully described it in terms of function, aesthetic direction, and potential profitability.
So, what Hotel Concept Making does as a process is to capture on paper and fully describe a new hotel business before its development begins.
Exactly! Among other things, the Hotel Concept defines the final name of the hotel, the color palette, and the logo, while also providing full descriptions that can be used for the hotel’s promotion in the market. And all this occurs prior to the interior design process so that the design teams (Interior, Lighting, Landscape) have all the necessary information in their hands to act accordingly. For example, by knowing in advance the direction of the kitchen and the operational character of the restaurants, the design teams can attribute even more successfully the functions and flows of each one, while at the same time defining a specific aesthetic line so that it is aligned with the Branding and predefined Concept.
In summary, what are the necessary steps to creating a successful hotel? Can we compile a list of them?
Conduct thorough research at all levels, which will examine the owners’ desires and travelers' searches, and will record in detail the competition – existing and upcoming.
Record the prevailing alternative scenarios regarding the building distribution of the property, the types of rooms, and the facilities.
Elaborate on a basic business plan on the alternative scenarios, which will facilitate the final decision process regarding the hotel type.
Specify the complete Hotel Concept in terms of experience and storytelling, as well as in terms of operation.
Collaborate closely with the Hotel Concept Making team, the architects, and all the design teams, up to the stage of shaping the final photorealistic.
Promptly update the online sales channels and set up a typical online branding to sell the hotel even before its construction is completed.
ARE YOU A NEW INVESTOR, HOTELIER, OR ARCHITECT?
Meet the Destsetters and create a unique Hotel Concept that will help your property stand out from the competition.
Hotel Concept Development is the most upgraded service of Destsetters that aims to create unique hotels, with high-profit opportunities and proper operation, but also with recognizable features that will help them stand out from the competition.
Considering the location of the property, the owners' desires, the competition as well as the relevant demand, we undertake the specification of the characteristics and the strategy of the project, in order to create a signature hotel that meets the needs of travelers and has real profit prospects.
Our team partners with new investors, hoteliers, consulting companies, and architectural teams, providing them with a whole hotel specification that will offer all the necessary research and hotel know-how, identifying the commercial characteristics of the new accommodation and defining the elements of its strategy, which should be reflected in the designing and concept of the property, striving to create a successful business.