As more consumers are increasingly looking for a sense of community, the future of hotels should reflect that, said Rosewood CEO Sonia Cheng at the Skift Forum Asia yesterday.
“If you’re able to build a hotel and serve your travelers as well as the community, become part of their ecosystem, being part of their lives, meet their wellness needs, you can really transform the business model,” she said. “Hotels shouldn’t be how we define them today. Independent or boutique are more susceptible to creating that. It’s harder for larger hotels, to create a community.”
This shift is indicated by the rise of social clubs and co-working spaces that show consumers want communal spaces that allow them to be a part of a bigger community. “There’s a gap in the market about combining these experiences—business, social clubs, lifetsyle. If you look at a hotel space, it’s usually very compartmentalised such as here’s the lobby or restaurant,” she said.
Her comments are in relation to Rosewood sub-brand Khos, which aims to ‘redefine’ traditional hotels and services, specifically for business tourists. A launch date has not been identified for Khos.
“We are not creating a brand just to plant flags," she said. "We’re doing it because we see the opportunity and we want to get it right. We’re focusing on pushing the boundaries, pushing it as the next gen of hotels."
Cheng also touched on a ‘sense of place’ being the DNA of the Rosewood brand. She cited the new Rosewood Hong Kong as an example. The property holds a special place in the brand portfolio as a flagship hotel and represents a homecoming for the brand given that its HQ is Hong Kong.
“In the past, a sense of place used to mean that the design has to reflect the locale. To us, it’s very different, it’s a much more holistic experience. For example, in Rosewood Hong Kong, we want to celebrate the talent of Hong Kong,” she said.
“It’s the most complete expression [of Rosewood] because it encompasses all the signatures of the brand—Asaya [a new wellness concept], working with different artists, and our F&B concepts being a gathering space for the city.
“On a personal front, it’s a very significant project for us and the family. It sits on the site of the New World Centre. In the 80s, it was a very significant location for residents in Hong Kong, and 10 years later, we developed the site.”
Rosewood will continue to push its two other sub-brands: Penta (a new range of affordable ‘lifestyle’ hotels) and New World Hotels & Resorts, which has a strong presence in China and Southeast Asia.