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Boutique Hotels - Essay Example

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Boutique Hotels – A New Choice for the Consumer The term ‘boutique hotel’ refers to a style of accommodation which focuses on individuality, intimacy and style (Wilson, 2004). Boutique hotels are often associated with independent owners or small hotel chains, although this is changing in recent years (Aggett, 2007)…
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Download file to see previous pages It will also explore how the notion of the boutique hotel has evolved over time but still remains an important mainstay within the market. In particular, it will consider the factors that have influenced the growth in the boutique hotel sector. Swig (2000) examined the boutique hotel in more detail, suggesting that, whilst the major hotel chains are not suffering in any meaningful way, the boutique hotel never-the-less presents the consumer with a new and interesting option within the accommodation market. Swig (2000) suggests that an important characteristic of a boutique hotel is that the theme of the accommodation is somehow linked to the destination or neighbourhood in which it is situated, as well as taking into account the personality of the intended consumer. The article also uncovers the characteristics of this consumer, quoting Chip Conley (of Joie de Vivre Hotels); “sophisticated, artistic, literary and conscious” (Swig, 2000, p2). The boutique hotel may be hard to define in any definite terms, but essentially this is the purpose of the boutique hotel – it represents the personality of the individual consumer, in opposition to the chain hotels (Mcintosh & Siggs, 2005). Wilson (2004) covered in more detail what she termed ‘the boutique mystique’, stating that ‘not every distinctive property is a “boutique hotel” (p54). The emphasis on properly defining a boutique hotel suggests that it must be “trendy” (p55) in a similar way to the 1960s fashion boutiques. This means that the boutique hotel is not limited to traditional standards of beautiful architecture; indeed, many boutique hotels are located within urban areas and utilise refurbished “ex-factories and warehouses” (McNiell, 2008, p383). Thompson & Thompson (1995) suggest that this variety is a contrast to the anonymous larger chains, which is part of the reason why boutique appeals hold such an appeal. McNiell goes onto suggest that the boutique hotel may not be a separate concept from the traditional B&B (McNiell, 2008, p384). In this case, we can see that some scholars believe that the boutique hotel may not be different to previous choices within the accommodation market. The difficulty in defining a boutique hotel is part of the reason that they appeal to such a wide variety of consumers. McManus (2001) suggests that the hotel consumer is now “turning to boutique hotels to give them the same services, but with greater intimacy” (p103), and the only applicable term for the boutique hotel user is “sophisticated” (p104). Fanning (2006) uses the term “cultural” to describe the consumer. These are both umbrella terms, with the precise demographic and tastes of the boutique user being hard to ascertain precisely because different hotels appeal to different consumers (Lim & Endean, 2009). Iwata (2006) proposed that the boutique hotel appeals more to the homosexual male than the heterosexual. This literature seems to be in agreement that the boutique hotel offers something different, which contrasts with the opinion of McNiell (2008) above. More evidence that the boutique hotel can be considered different to the standard offerings is the literature exploring the global chains like Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (Chang & Teo, 2009). There are even chains which ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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