As retail evolves, retailers are discovering new ways to expand their brand’s outreach and loyalty. The newest trend in customer service features concierge and room service. Since customers trust a brand by their value and lifestyle, retailers are extending that trust by creating large scale hospitality programs and boutique hotel experiences to promote their lifestyle.
Retail Hotels Coming Soon
The most recent retail-branded hotel that caught my attention was Shinola, a leather accessories retailer, which plans to open a hotel in Detroit. The hotel combines Shinola’s American craftsmanship with Bedrock’s urban development expertise, set to open Fall 2018.
Furniture retailer Restoration Hardware has a location selected in NYC’s Meatpacking District for a 14-room boutique hotel as an extension of their flagship store located around the corner.
West Elm plans to have hotels in five US cities by late 2018. The hotels will highlight the customer service, vibrant design, and engaged community that define West Elm’s brand. They describe their accommodations as a blend of contemporary design with handcrafted, locally sourced furnishings to create a comfortable and chic experience. After spending time in West Elm stores, I’ve realized how much they promote locally made products and engage their communities. These hotels promise to connect travelers with the local flavor of their destination in a welcoming and relatable environment.
Brand Spotlight: Equinox Hotels
Equinox gyms have blossomed, now occupying 80 locations in nine US cities. Their next endeavor includes a hotel encompassing the wellness minded lifestyle promoted by the brand. The first hotel, to be built in Hudson Yards, will be open to all, but provides exclusive privileges to members. Equinox believes it’s important to maintain a healthy routine, and travelers should not have to compromise their commitment to wellness when traveling. The hotel will feature the largest gym they have ever built (60,000 sq. ft.), indoor and outdoor lounge areas, pools, spa, office space, and luxury condos above the hotel. They intend to bring in healthy culinary experiences, and the fitness centers will help guests plan how to move, nourish, and regenerate their bodies.
Brand Spotlight: Armani Hotels
Luxury brands such as Armani, Bulgari, Versace, and Baccarat have already branched out internationally. The Armani Hotels are a collaboration between Armani and Emaar, a global property developer. With hotels in Milan and Dubai the Giorgio Armani fashion, style and design sensibilities are transformed into an immersive brand experience of the Armani lifestyle. The hotel’s customer service welcomes guests as Giorgio welcomes his family and friends; and the interior’s design embodies the immaculate sensibilities and incomparable luxury of the Armani brand. Promotional videos are filmed and elegant events are hosted for newly released Armani collections.
So what comes first: Would you be more inclined to purchase a West Elm bed or an Armani fragrance after staying in their accommodations? Or would you be more inclined to stay in their brand hotels after already owning their products?
Catherine Keywan is an Interior Designer at Bergmeyer and writes for the firm’s #NextNow team. As part of a firm-wide educational initiative, #NextNow is a pulse on the ideas and events that are moving the design industry forward. It is a curated place that covers innovative ideas, reports and articles shared with insight and analysis from the team.