V. What’s up for the concierges ?

For sure, always in the lobby, sometimes at its forefront, they’ve been embodying the kind of special service a luxury hotel has to offer. In-house referent of a destination, they deliver its secrets, as well as pairing whatever extra needs on-demand. Sometimes have to share some privacy with the butlers, but they are the guys on the picture, holding the umbrella, you can cross the street.

But. We had the premium credit card marketing programs, with dedicated services available by phone. Then there were the Online Travel Agents (BOOKING, EXPEDIA, …), on the basis of one click-one trip. In their wake, online specialists, dedicated to provide solutions for local activities :KlookMonument trackerGet your Guide. As GOOGLE is stepping in and some OTAs willing to extend the booking to lifestyle products (restaurants, retail, etc.), concierges’ future does not look so bright… (Not to mention the ongoing restructuration leveraged by the experiential marketing programs !)

But. Forget this thing , and just wondering why, as online reviews are along with prices the main drivers for a booking, as platforms are infested by fake and unqualified reviewers, no platforms have ever been promoting the sound advices of their hotels’ concierges for sorting out destinations, rejunevating their booking chatbot features, and find an extra resource for enlightening what the selection will deliver at this particular booking date. Enough for avoiding an augmented version of Alexa ?

As GOOGLE is phasing out its buzzy Touring Bird Tours and activities search feature (probably because comparing prices and product features among varying foodie tours, Vatican visits and cooking classes is really difficult), Concierges’ inputs are the best basis for a quality metasearch.


Yan Vacher



IV. Hotels… Let the music play ?

My urban flat produces some extra-euros, as if it were an hotel room where clients may as well work, co-work, conduct business meetings. As do hotels. Aren’t we spending most of our working time in our flat, co-working spaces, hotels ?

At the feet of my urban office stands a co-living place where people gather and have a drink, work, co-work, share, use the services of a conciergerie, etc. Sometimes, a market place in the grand lobby, with food events.

Where experience primes, surface has a monetizable use, new money from volumes that used to stand unprofitable. This modularity challenges the urbanistic affectation, but not only. Looming sensors, facial recognition tools, pull and carry some social model disruptions (scoring and social credit), and stir some collective push for more data protection (RGPD in Europe).

So, the point is to wonder whether we are not entering into :

1. Interacting service plaforms, collecting and addressing datas, where brands cross-sell through enhanced partnerships,

2. Clusters (clients hyper segmentation),

Met in spaces falling obviously standardized, as real estate prices in the megacities call upon modularity.


1. the old days corporate hotel (with its lot of dark meeting rooms, bland functional 200 square feet rooms above),

2. could well be converted into some new office-services building (and reciprocally), with modularity, adequate spared & vacant volumes, heavy 3D use, and convenient on site array of services,

3. So that be on-demand converted into what-you-need (ex: this morning a 5 offices + an adjacent meeting room, tonight an extended Suite), and occur a real enhanced experience (anticipated by adequate predictive modelling based on your past reservations and your social cluster’s preferences).

This new “social places where people can meet and dine and have a local experience” is the most astute marketing recreation of what a restaurant or a bar used to be for generations, but was lost with those good-old days corporate hotels where the deserted canteen/cafeteria-like outlets hosted the very few, reluctant at asking for uninspiring room-service (when any). Welcome back to the augmented saloon !!

But Boutique and high-end luxury hotels shall go on separately, and should prosper and form a growing niche, as long as service, deco and unique locations, prevail on what tech has best to offer. Not that they be the only ones which really attend their clients’ needs. If datas mean knowledge, very few can really pretend : their acquisitions have not been, for years, qualifying.

But they will at least always charm faithful worshippers for their exceptional business model, that requires engagement, and passion. The kind of lovingkindness that flies away from mobility, modularity, and hates hasty minutes and passing theories.

Yan Vacher

III. Hotels, modular spaces & poor yield management (yet)

The recent acquisition of Dynamic Yield by Mc Do is clearly disruptive, with looming impacts on the overall hospitality industry. If predictability scales up emotion, size will matter, as the build-up of two data encyclopedias (recipes & dishes, clients), of an algorithm for resolving seasonal raw materials sourcing problems, logistics, pricing … imply to invest deeply  in research, data learning, etc.

Most of the hotels could well use on-time outsourced production, as new co-procurement solutions could emerge in the megacities (x workshops – X restaurants), transforming F&B outlets in pure experiential platforms where flexible atmospheres-inspirations-cuisines intertwine.

Use of sensors (as does WeWork) to measure attendance, qualitative analysis of what the client expectancies are (they don’t tend to hang out in their rooms anyway), could both contribute to leverage the profitability of unoccupied meeting rooms, costly lobbies.

Implicitly, how poor appears their yield management nowadays.

Owners have been spending from 10% up to 30%+ of their overall investment in deco, furniture, etc. (that need to be replaced, sometimes radically if there’s a new lease or managing contract).

But spaces were designed one day to last for long, and very few sqm have been spared for storage, as the priority was, whenever possible, to give grandeur, larger volumes for the picture. (Other looming business : x furniture depots – X hotels ; IKEA is said to be considering office-furniture rental).

The kind of modularity, the AIRBNB, WeWork and co have introduced, is a repurposing based on profitability, driven by a philosophy (ubiquity, sharing) endorsed by technology.

Where experience primes (wherever flexibility is allowed), space conversion is an add-on that stirs up yield.

Hotels are becoming standard assets computerizing value per sqm. REVPAR, ADR, and their routine variations give a somewhat warped measure of a performance.

Yan Vacher


I. Bland is the experience

With BELMONT Hotels’ acquisition by LVMH, it’s as listening to a musical theme and its variations : Brands intertwine in a multi-sensorial universe. Immersion arouses emotion and invites the client to build up his understanding of what luxury means, how it should be lived, fostering some worship of self, ego projection, that strengthen brands engagement. Where better to live such an experience if not in a Palace ?

With his plain colours, rid of the object, where looking overlaps understanding, where sensation supervenes upon rationality at first, ROTHKO wanted to free unconscious energies. He said that “without monsters and gods, art can’t enact a drama » and he considered himself a “Mythmaker”.

As machines and I.A are feeding some social anxiety, as the blossoming of megacities is draining people in search of co-ing (work, live), out of the countryside, where we’re from but left to endangered species, there is some human tragic, some mythology where sustains the experiential marketing.

Alterity partly explains the strategical repositioning of IBIS HOTELS by ACCOR.

For extending its customer base (notably the youngsters), IBIS is now betting on sharing, and fun (partnership with the streaming music platform DEEZER, SPOTIFY, SONY MUSIC), in re-designed colorful volumes. The goal is to engage clients in liberating some appropriation work that shall free up some unconscious desire for its repeatability.

This repositioning will undoubtely boost F&B revenues of its affiliates, notably those located in mid-sized French cities enduring some process of desertification.

IBIS is moving from Price-driven computerizing to some value-added pleasure/emotion thing, a worthy upscale by itself. The ongoing development of the FOOD SOCIETY at the feet of the PULLMAN MONTPARNASSE in PARIS by ACCOR (biggest european food court with events, and culinary & gourmet happenings) was an early sign.

In a word, variations of the bland-ing so far, this trend that leads Brands to streamline their identity, for better liberating and addressing the product-sensation associations built up by their clients in response. But not only, those mutations tell us much more, notably how modular spaces for living and working are turning.

Yan Vacher

II. Hotels and their rare earth

Then, AIRBNB innovated with its genious experiences platform.

With their recent partnership, MANDARIN ORIENTAL and ABERCROMBIE & KENT are truly disruptive ; it witnesses how deep hospitality is sustaining its reshaping.

Hotel chains are selling their expertise to independent hotels (suppliers contracting for instance.). Tomorrow, challenging the OTAs (BOOKING, EXPEDIA,…), they will bookmark their inventory and prices, as does AMAZON which carries competing offers from small retailers online. The production of experiential marketing programs, which implies to acquire know-how in data learning, travel logistics, event programming, design, etc., should bridge together hotel sales & marketing departments and travel agents, delivering further partnerships, and buy-outs. See the lead investment in LYRICS (apartment design for travelers) just performed by AIRBNB.

What’s next for the independents (46% of the existing 18 million hotels) ? Under the claws of the BOOKINGs, those thousands of often badly bookmarked Hotels rush to be part of thematic platforms. But, as those hotels never divested their (rough) datas first, most of those platforms lack of the key common social ingredient delivering the right organic scale.

At this point, let me commend GRAND LUXURY HOTELS, and WINE PATHS. Their datas are ‘genetically’ qualified, and they drive a tremendous potential events program, as they interfere with third industries playing around the same social segments. So far, their social model matches with what SPRING PLACE, or ASSEMBLAGE are delivering, co-working & living clubs hosting upscale social events, in modular places where members network – AIRBNB has just participated in a $75m Series C funding round  in the female-focused co-working startup THE WING.

There are thousands of extraordinary beaches, but online, will outshine those bridging together people of a same given social cluster ; tomorrow a garage in KREUZBERG (GE), elsewhere afterwards, provided they be experiential, i.e where had been gathering influencers who exhibited their feed ; hashtags drive billions of datas sprinkling clouds foreboding displays of unfilled alterity, ubiquity, as well as business tips.

As gene therapy treats thousands of computerized variations of a single pathology with individualised solutions (the patient’s genitical code)(once addressed by a mass-treatment fixing most of the deseases), datas feed an hyper-segmented social matrix as tech is speeding up the production of plugs and sensors (household appliances, eyeglasses, smartphones, cars, etc.).

Computing power gives birth to a Brand proliferation, the Bland-ing (vs Brand-ing) referring as well as :

1. they be visible if only relevant (one brand/ one social cluster)

2. to their relative withdrawal, as the focus is on getting the client engaged emotionally first. Will mankind be the ultimate connector of all, subduing alterity for consumerism ? ( China, with their social credit program)

Tomorrow morning, datas could well feed the production of experiences 2.0. Virtuality, places once for gaming, should become territories of choice for the Brands, as our avatar (superego ?) will supersede. On the planet of my social cluster, I will buy real books, experiment what the promised travel experience should eventually deliver.

Yan Vacher