At its core, a hotel is a hospitality establishment where visitors can stay overnight. However, the modern accommodation industry is way beyond simply providing bed-and-breakfast. From all-inclusive complexes to intimate boutique hotels, having a solid, recognisable concept is a reliable method to stand out. But what does it mean – a hotel concept, and how to create and implement it? The answer lies in the deep understanding of strategies, approaches, and creative integration of ideas.
What Is a Concept And Why It Matters
By definition, a concept is an abstract idea, a general theory – or an image, if you prefer – about a thing in matter. It determines a general idea, set of ideas, plan or intention to create or develop. Think of it as an outline that needs to be developed piece by piece.
Conceptual frameworks allow you to understand, visualise, and analyse all aspects of your ideas and goals. When you use them as roadmaps, you can gradually build a complex ecosystem without straining, losing focus, or making too many unpredictable mistakes.
Let’s say you have a vague idea of something that you could create. Here are some of the first questions you should ask in order to begin developing the idea into a concept.
- What do you wish to create? Try to have your vision as clear as possible.
- What are the essential elements it’s composed of? Break the vision into logical segments.
- What do you want to achieve? Set your goals.
- What are the basic thresholds to get you there? Divide the plan further into actionable steps to speed up the progress.
- What are the capacities you need to get there? Define all needs.
- What you DO possess?
- Identify your advantages.
- What do you NOT possess? Identify your disadvantages.
…and so on. Once you have these questions answered, you will already have created a conceptual framework that can be turned into a working plan.
What Is a Hotel Concept
Concept design is a method of developing a space with a specific focus on certain aspects. Its goal is to challenge new ideas in order to open up new possibilities. It also makes one of the critical stages in the hotel development process, defining most visual and sensorial assets that affect the hotel guests’ experience.
However, the hotel concept is much more than a design alone. It’s about the integration of all elements – up to every single detail – into a working, cohesive whole. What you have to decide is what services you wish to offer, how to present them, what kind of visitors you want to attract, what theming to choose, how to advertise, and much more.
The development planning and feasibility studies need to be carried out first. At that stage, the target market, F&B, total hotel size, meeting spaces, and similar aspects should all be defined.
A typical hotel concept takes into great consideration services and amenities, from classics such as concierge and room services or swimming pools, to event organisation, conference centres, spa & wellness, or nightclubs. The location also matters, as well as the proximity of landmarks or shopping and transportation hubs.
To put more light on every segment, we’ll be expanding more about the hotel planning decision streamline in our next articles.
Only after the framework is completed, design takes a major significant role. It will interpret the ideas, translate the storytelling, and reinvent it all in a physical shape.
Advantages of a Proficiently Executed Hotel Concept
Running a hotel is a costly venture that requires excellent organisation and multi-managing skills to make all processes run smoothly. A concept hotel offers advantages in both development and operation:
- A shared, clear vision is easier to maintain and operate through different channels
- You can charge a premium price within your chosen category, regardless of whether you run a small family hotel or a chain of resorts
- Well-rounded guest experience which returns in stellar reviews
- Concept-led hotels are straightforward to market and pitch the investors
- The concept itself communicates with your targets, eliminating a part of necessary PR and advertising costs in advance.
Seven Essential Elements of a Successful Hotel Concept
Seven interconnected elements can create a unique, rounded system by working together as a whole.
- Story: Where it all begins
- Space: The flawless flow
- Identity: Making it memorable
- People & management: Human connection
- Service: Predicting your guests’ needs
- Hotel content: Memorable details
- Communication channels: Stay tuned
The Story: What’s Yours?
Developing a good central story is a crucial step to ensure differentiation from others. Not only it will help you to connect with the target customer, but also connect all elements and merge them into a whole. It will provide a context to your offer, and communicate it through visuals and functional spatial design. An authentic story will also help you establish a recognisable brand and stand out from the competition. Once you identify your audience, you will also recognise their triggers and shortcuts, in order to connect them to your offer through the right storytelling.
Make sure to correctly identify all advantages and flaws – it’s possible to use both to your advantage by building a story around them. Think of your hotel and your brand as a living brand persona with strong character, in need of a stellar Public Relations – and build their story in the same line. Tell your audience why the hotel needs to exist and why they want to visit it. Turn features into sources of benefits. Once you translate the functional elements into metaphors, you will also have a base for theming – in other words, the most logical options to proceed will become pretty clear.
Space: Not Just the Beauty
Guests will make their first strong impression at the entrance of the hotel. It will connect with them on an emotional level first, and then develop in accordance with both space appeal and logic. A smooth, intuitive flow will greatly contribute to their satisfaction and the success of the concept.
Clever spatial design with clear zoning, efficient traffic flow, and attractive decor are all fundamental elements of a good interior design. They should match your theming and story, fulfil specific purposes and support the function of dedicated areas. Guests and staff should be able to circulate smoothly without frustration, while tactical arrangements of shops and amenities will help you generate more revenue.
Identity: What Makes Your Hotel One-of-a-Kind
When developing a hotel concept, you need to pay attention to its visual, verbal and sensorial aspects. Layout, decor, sound & vision are some of the components that build a unique identity of the place. While it may be hard or even virtually impossible to offer something that your guests haven’t individually experienced before, achieving uniqueness through an authentic blend of elements is a different story.
Visual identity affects your guests’ perception of the hotel’s overall value. It doesn’t start at the entrance but rather from the moment, a guest opens your website. Consistent appeal throughout all channels, social networks, and the hotel itself, will connect your story with the minds of your customers on a deeper level. Use the scents and sounds to round up the experience, and wrap it all up in mindful details.
People & Management: It’s What Makes the Connections
Hiring hotel staff is more than just finding some labour. The first step would be to find the operator that can provide you with the desired services matching the company values. In addition, they will provide a significant amount of knowledge and tips to ensure the hotel will run smoothly. In a successful hotel concept, the staff should share some similarities with your hotel guests, which would help them identify with the place faster. For instance, an average luxury hotel visitor will hardly relate with the young hipster-looking, tattooed bartender – but in a youth-oriented urban hostel, such an employee would probably be considered an asset.
Your staff is the core of all interactions. Ideally, they should feel connected to your story organically. Depending on the targets and theming, you can also connect to various professionals that would strengthen the concept further.
Service: Make It a Top-Notch
No matter how gorgeous your establishment may look, it has to be accompanied with the equal hospitality levels in every segment. That means predicting and exceeding the expectations, not just meeting them. Unsatisfied – or worse, disappointed – customers are hardly likely to visit again.
Guests are always looking for something they will not get elsewhere – or, at least, something that will provide more value for the same investment. For that reason, offering additional perks can repay with even more positive marketing value. Think innovative applications, complimentary breakfast, free guarded parking, early check-in and/or late check-outs, and similar.
Cleanliness is a must, as well as an abundance of fresh small amenities. In addition, interactions make for a large portion of guests’ experience, from invisible services such as housekeeping to direct functional supporters like concierges or personal assistants. However, that’s not all.
Technology is essential nowadays, from fast, stable, and reliable Wi-Fi connection in every room to Netflix and similar leisure time conveniences. Also consider chatbot concierges, a custom-made app to interact with guests, and additional signature offers. A range of tailored services will strengthen your hotel concept while greatly enhancing word-to-mouth PR levels.
Hotel Content: Offer More
There are many forms that you can use to communicate with your clients, keeping them continually engaged. Social networks, website blog posts, influencer marketing, even podcasts will help you strengthen your identity and continue storytelling beyond the visit. Another stylish way to connect is designed goods and freebies, from luggage tags to souvenirs and fashion accessories. If you own a boutique hotel, connect with local artists and crafters for mutual support. Just make sure to follow the narration and stay consistent with the established identity.
The Channels: Communication Is the Key
Apart from the digital presence and virtual activities, you can also use real-world streams as communication channels. Think themed parties, presentations, pop-up events, and similar gatherings that coils relate to your story and make your hotel a place of permanent interest for your guests.
Depending on your concept, identity, and story, some channels can also drive more direct bookings to your hotel. Collaborations with matching partners bring forward the benefits, communicating more friendly and less commercially with potential visitors.
Compose a Hotel Concept and Implement It
In order to avoid issues that come with concept implementation, it’s best to engage professionals and experts. Engaging with a design firm at an early stage will help you define your ideas and give a physical shape to all specific visions. With the support of a facility planning expert, the team will also establish the ideal layouts, efficient flow, and ensure visual attractiveness.
Once you have everything up and running, all that’s left to do is to utilise the true value of the concept and turn the investment into profit. If you did everything right, expert engagement should start to pay off soon. Support the established concept with a great Public Reslations (PR), ensure guest satisfaction, and turn it to a source of continual success over time.