Those who are exploring the world today are doing so for the unique experiences that each city offers. While large hotels used to be the go-to stop when traveling, these chains cannot fully capture the individualistic characteristics of cities. The inability to do so has left visitors searching for another answer and based on the rising popularity of boutique hotels, it seems like they have found what they were looking for.
The Beginning Of Boutique Hotels
Boutique hotels were actually the first form of hotels to come into existence. The first hotel chain formed in the early 1920s; every hotel before that was a boutique hotel. The principles behind hotel chains gained in popularity and controlled the hotel industry for years to come and this only began to change recently.
The idea of eliminating the inability to know what to expect with hotels was a great one in theory, but after its implementation, visitors found that chains often took away from the experience. The hotel industry was faced with a dire situation that left two options: evolve or lose customers. Marketers in the industry realized consumers wanted their hotel stays to fit in with the cities they were visiting, which started the transition back to boutique hotels.
What Makes Them Unique?
While several of these large hotel chains claim the title of a boutique hotel, they do not fit the actual definition. A boutique hotel is characterized as a hotel that is:
These characteristics combine to make a hotel visit that is quite different than the average stay at a large hotel chain. Some would say that boutique hotels even provide the better experience.
Are They Decreasing In Popularity?
While there was an extended period of time where boutique hotels were put on the back burner of the hotel industry, this trend has reversed. As of 2014, the boutique hotel growth rate has doubled up the growth rate for branded hotels. Boutique hotels are increasing in popularity so much that even the large international hotel industries are attempting to create their own versions through unique branding.
What Sets Them Apart For A Better Stay?
Small: Less Is More
One of the defining characteristics of a boutique hotel is its size. Boutique hotels tend to have fewer than 100 rooms. The smaller size of these hotels allows for a more personal feeling and more of a community atmosphere.
Large hotels can be overwhelming in size. While some travelers enjoy the buzzing atmosphere of a large hotel, others prefer feeling relaxed, which is where boutique hotels hold an advantage.
A boutique hotel doesn’t necessarily have to be independent; it just has to feel as if it is independent. Any hotel room that doesn’t give off the vibes of a corporate hotel can lay claim to independence. The majority of hotels that feel unconventional are independently owned, but some luxury hotels manage to pull off the correct atmosphere.
Sometimes the large luxury hotels that offer boutique options do so under different names. A conventional hotel’s branding hurts a traveler’s view of a boutique hotel, so they often try to institute a different branding name to prevent this.
A boutique hotel’s biggest claim to fame is that it’s an entirely different experience regardless of the number of hotels a person has visited before. The whole purpose of a boutique hotel is to create a contemporary vibe and to market that vibe at the interested clientele. A standard run-of-the-mill hotel chain cannot accomplish this.
Boutique hotels obtain the one-of-a-kind feeling through their quirky decor among other things. Hotel chains have to stick to their usual branding and design; boutique hotels have a lot more flexibility in designing their structures. This flexibility is used to create an entirely different atmosphere than what is available elsewhere.
Due to their lack of branding, visitors often are not clamoring to stay in boutique hotels largely because they are unaware of their existence. Because of this, boutique hotels need a great location in order to survive and thrive.
Boutique hotels tend to be located in the heart of their respective city for this reason and this greatly benefits their visitors. Knowing their location, boutique hotels build their personality around the surrounding entertainment options. This results in a visit that is not only designed to fit in with your interests but is also in close proximity to those interests.
These hotels are also designed to fit in with the looks of their city. Whereas a luxury hotel chain may seem out of place in older cities such as Philadelphia, boutique hotels retain the charm of the old-fashion designs.
The smaller size of a boutique hotel allows for the staff to provide better service. Due to having fewer rooms and visitors, the staff can focus on providing their visitors with a better experience instead of having to run around to satisfy hundreds of guests. Because of undersized staff, it is almost impossible for a larger hotel to replicate the service provided by boutique hotels.
While many travelers are under the impression that boutique hotels are expensive, this is completely false. In fact, a recent study has found that boutique hotels are, on average, 20% cheaper than their branded hotel counterparts. Not only do boutique hotels offer a more customer friendly experience, they do so at a lower rate.
Boutique hotels are usually independently owned, so the owners tend to live in the surrounding area. Instead of the hotel’s profits adding to the bank account of someone that doesn’t even live in the state, a boutique hotel’s profits go towards someone who is likely to spend their money in the community.
By enhancing tourism and keeping the money in the area, the community sees great benefit. These same owners can be active in the community as well by showing support for charities and other helpful activities. By choosing to stay at a boutique hotel, you not only help yourself but the surrounding community as well.
Are There Any Negatives To Staying At These Hotels?
The only negative characteristic of a boutique hotel is that there is often less information available about the hotels you will be staying at. Large hotel chains have more money to throw at online development, where as smaller hotels don’t. This leads to some boutique hotels not having an online presence, which makes obtaining information difficult.
Other than requiring more research, boutique hotels have the same risks as branded hotels, but they offer many more benefits.
Customer Centric Stay Changes Everything
Boutique hotels offer an experience that cannot be matched by large hotel chains. By having a customer centric approach, boutique hotels offer unmatchable customer service at a cheaper price. These hotels are also more localized, which will increase your chances of having a visit that is focused on your interests.
If you are a traveler who is not interested in the expensive price tag and overcrowded atmosphere that hotel chains provide but you still want to travel, start looking into boutique hotels at your destination.