Lifestyle hotel brands are starting to emerge in New Zealand, as operators look to tap into the next generation of travellers and draw millennials back to the hotel market.
The issue of lifestyle brands in an Australian context was discussed in CBRE Hotels’ annual Check IN report which examines Australia’s hotel sector, emerging trends and the market outlook.
CBRE’s report defines a lifestyle hotel as one that has many of the characteristics of a boutique hotel, with a heavy focus on being both creative and innovative, as well as having the potential to be replicated and rolled out across the globe.
CBRE Director of Hotels Peter Hamilton noted that while the uptake of lifestyle brands hasn’t been as strong in New Zealand as other regions, owners are recognising the threat of Airbnb and the changing accommodation preferences of millennials and Generation Z.
“The latest generations are becoming key drivers of the lifestyle and leisure segment, with preferences for experiences, highly social spaces, constant connectivity and availability of food and beverage services,” Mr Hamilton said.
However, it is not just millennials driving a new breed of hotels. One subcategory of lifestyle hotels is the wellness brand – which appeals to a broad range of travellers including the corporate sector.
IHG is a key example of hoteliers branching into the wellness space with its EVEN Hotels chain. EVEN Hotels are equipped with fitness facilities, healthy eating options and an environment that promotes the feeling of wellbeing – as the brand recognises the growing appeal of being health focused while travelling.
“Auckland is seeing a range of new lifestyle hotel with the MSocial Auckland and Naumi Auckland Airport hotels both opening recently. Additionally, the So Auckland will open in October and an EVEN and Indigo, both IHG brands have been announced to be built by 2021 showing the lifestyle trend is well and truly reaching New Zealand shores,” Mr Hamilton said. “This follows the introduction of the QT brand to Wellington and Queenstown over recent years.
“This is very exciting as New Zealand has historically attracted the more mainstream brands of international operators which typically offer a more ‘homogenous’ hotel experience.”
However, Mr Hamilton said that while lifestyle brands were emerging on owners’ radars in New Zealand, the uptake of the concept could be slow.
“Established brands have proven track records of success, therefore, presenting a more appealing investment proposition. By choosing a brand that is already established in the market place, there are more opportunities to leverage off previous experience and supply chains already in place,” Mr Hamilton said.
“In Australia, we have found that while operators are keen to get a foothold into this sector, it is difficult to find an owner who is willing to branch into the lifestyle space. However, as millennials become an increasingly important customer group, brands will need to be well placed to capture this next generation of corporate travellers.”
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