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