Hoteliers are constantly searching for ways to differentiate their offerings and especially to appeal to the new generation of millennial guests, as well as to millennial-minded travellers of all ages.
Two entrepreneurs, Jean-Pierre Bandeira and Julien Veyron, have set out to "change the face of hotels", with their new 'Light Human Hotels' (LHH) concept.
As explained by Bandeira, founder & CEO of Light Human Hotel, the idea is to focus on the 'people aspect' of the hotel, including both the guests and the staff.
According to him, it isn't enough "just to build just a cool place", but the idea is to innovate from an operational point of view. To this end, technology is used to the maximum, so as to free up staff, leaving them more time to take care of customers.
Bandeira notes that "We use a lot of technology to replace tasks, but never people".
A multigenerational concept
The Light brand is described as being “inspired by the millennial spirit,” but also as “the first multigenerational hotel”.
Light Human Hotel, which translates as "a vision of things to come," claims to be entirely focused on the customer approach.
It is launching a new hotel brand that is part of the search for the trans-generational concept, designed for millennials, but which is also aimed at a wider audience seeking a proposal where service is given priority over constraints of hotel management.
Since families are the link between generations, the concept calls for building a special place for families and children creating activities for them.
Sustainability is a must
The new brand's affiliates will also adhere strictly to environmentally friendly practices throughout all aspects of it conceptualisation.
The restaurants and bars, which will be open 24 hours, will have to provide a healthy food offering in a vibrant atmosphere using 'farm-to-table' ingredients.
The hotels will typically occupy recycled existing buildings in the heart of cities, but new-builds are also possible. The properties will be well-connected to public transport and equipped with shared bicycles.
Other amenities will include the obligatory Wi-Fi, as well as keyless room entry (via mobile phone), recharging stations for electric vehicles, a bar, and play area for children.
Furthermore, in tune with the current trend, each property will seek to embed itself in its local community, hosting musicians, concerts and special events.
Branding is flexible
LHH does not seek to operate hotels, but rather to act as a partner, not a competitor.
According to Jean-Pierre Bandeira," LHH is a mind-set." The concept is flexible and is suitable for 3-to- 5- star hotels and can be applied to either new or old buildings.
In a stark departure from the 'cookie-cutter' conformity required by big chains, brand standards are also quite flexible too.
For example, the new affiliation could agree to co-brand creating a Light Human Hotel “by your brand” or the Light Human Hotel connection could be even more discrete.
The culture or essence of the concept can be summed up by the acronym "DNA", meaning "Develop New Attitudes"; also, "sustainability is our LAW—or everything involving Land, Air and Water", according to Bandeira, who also remarks that, "for the first time, the architect, the hotelier and the seller speak the same language".
A flat fee includes brand license and architecture and design, operational model and brand mix. The brand can be adapted for independent hotels, for operators, as well as for the big brands and can be used as a brand by the operator, or as a concept for another hotel brand.
The question could be posed, however, as to how well-protected the concept is from competition from peer-to-peer players, or other operators who may want to duplicate the brand's format.
Light Human Hotel does not depend on any venture capitalists, private equity funds or bankers for financing. Indeed, the new enterprise is 100% funded by its owner-founders, which allows the start-up "peerless freedom and agility".
Pipeline on the way….
LHH doesn't make growth projections, which they claim, "are not our first concern".
Since the brand was launched, eight hotels all over the world have signed up for the concept. Five of Light Human's upcoming hotels are retrofits, while three are new-builds.
A 60-room property is opening this November in Venaco, a commune on the island of Corsica, while a 160-room property will open in Paris in June 2018. Two properties are slated for Brazil – one in São Paulo (99 rooms in November 2017) and one in Rio de Janiero (100 rooms by the end of 2018). A 200-room hotel will open in London by the end of 2017. In the US, an 80-room hotel will open in Miami at the end of the year, while 110- and 120-guestroom hotels will open in New York City and San Antonio, respectively, in 2018.