Lifestyle brands and bespoke experiences on trend, says expert

The lifestyle segment is the fastest growing in the hospitality sector, said IHG chief development officer - Asia, Middle East, Africa Rajit Sukumaran

Rajit Sukumaran
Rajit Sukumaran

The lifestyle segment is the fastest growing in the hospitality sector, said IHG chief development officer - Asia, Middle East, Africa Rajit Sukumaran.

Sukumaran said IHG's 10 brands could be broken down into three verticals - core brands, extended stay products and lifestyle.

He explained: "We launched Hotel Indigo in 2004; it was meant to be the lifestyle brand in the upscale space and now we have 70 hotels operating and another 70 in the pipeline. It’s become a huge part of our portfolio."

"The lifestyle segment is the fastest growing segment in the industry; it was trending at 10% growth every year for the industry as a whole. That made us think that we needed more representation in the lifestyle space," Sukumaran added.

After that, IHG acquired Kimpton Hotels & Resorts as part of its lifestyle segment of brands. The operator recently revealed it is in talks to bring the Kimpton brand to the Middle East.

The move towards lifestyle, Sukumaran said, is all about trends in consumer preferences. "In the luxury accommodation space, travellers want to have bespoke experiences that matter to them. When you look at what InterContinental is doing with its curated experiences initiative, 'Insider Experiences', it’s to cater to demand from customers who are telling us that they don’t want to just come in and just be another guest anymore. They don’t want to be one in a million. That’s what is pushing people towards lifestyle. It’s no longer a case of a product or a brand, it’s the experience they get when they walk into a hotel."

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