Boutique Hotel and Lifestyle Summit: Place-making
At the Boutique Hotel and Lifestyle summit in London's Montcalm Hotel, I joined an inspiring panel discussion about why hoteliers need to take place-making seriously, and where sustainability fits in.
"Ignore place-making at your peril" was the message that came through loud and clear at the panel discussion between Imran Hussain, editor-in-chief of The Hotel Culture, Camille Lorigo, co-founder at SexyBestFriend, Mark Davy, founder of FutureCity and Holly Tuppen, eco travel expert and co-founder of Bouteco.
Discussing what placemaking entails and how to do it, the panel pointed out that the boutique and independent hotel sector was ideally placed to take advantage of the increasing consumer demand for local, authentic experiences - as opposed to cookie cutter chains.
Sourcing food locally, building up relations with the local community through targeted events, charitable involvement and also through becoming a key employer were all ways cited by the panel to create community engagement.
Davy and Hussain's work with larger placemaking schemes led them to advise also considering artistic and other types of creative involvement. They also stressed the important role hotels are now playing within wider regeneration and development schemes.
Additionally, the panel warned that with Brexit looming, staffing issues are set to become increasingly difficult, so reaching out to the local community for loyal and dependable staff would become more critical.
Tuppen added that treating staff well will also become more important to consumers who increasingly are able to tell the difference between staff who are engaged and those just showing up for work.
And on engaging with social media, they recognised the difficulty experienced by many hoteliers trying to "do it all with limited resources" and Lorigo advised, "pick one thing and do it really well."