Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Whether you're Hot or Not depends not on the idea itself but the part of the cycle you're in. We've seen this before...mass consumerization of high end products/services. Apparently this is choice again. That's ok...it does work. But not across the board.

NO-FRILLS CHIC | An emerging consumer trend and related new business ideas: ", owner of the Holiday Inn brand, is launching the Hotel Indigo chain. In true NO-FRILLS CHIC style, Indigo will offer low room prices AND hardwood floors, area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting and glassed-in showers -- no bathtubs. The first Hotel Indigo is scheduled to open later this year in Atlanta, with room prices in the USD 95-100 range.

Designer Todd Oldham is apparently also planning a mid-priced boutique hotel chain in the US, the first of which is hoped to open this year. Oldham has teamed up with architect David Rockwell, known for designing high-end restaurants like Nobu in New York -- as well as designing Starwood's W hotels -- in an effort to launch a boutique chain. (Source: WSJ).

And, last but not least, Choice Hotels, the parent company of Econo Lodge, Comfort Inn, and Quality Inn, plans to introduce the same mass luxury with up to 500 boutique hotels (tentatively titled 'The Diplomat') in the US, with rooms featuring details like flat-screen TVs and stylish shelving units instead of walls.

NO-FRILLS CHIC is of course a typical (and great!) example of Creative Destruction: 'established' chains like Hilton and Marriott are still experimenting with offering boutique services to new-luxury and design-savvy guests, while aggressive up-and-coming competitors like W Hotels have already proved that GRAND BOUTIQUE is here to stay. Then NO-FRILLS CHIC comes along, raising the bar once more, forcing both incumbents and rising stars to adjust to ever-shorter innovation cycles, and ever-faster changing customer expectations. It's going to be sleepless nights for the laggards, but hey, that's what a MASS CLASS world is all about! Is your industry next?"


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