- The mid-scale market is promising, and could put pressure on luxury brands.
“You see local products with lower quality, but you rarely see internationally-managed, affordable luxury products,” said Michael. “I think the ‘affordable luxury’ concept is going to put pressure on 5-star hotels – it will change the market.” The big players will try to create similar brands, he said, or try to buy local brands to fulfil the affordable niche. “Local operators will also change, as you can start to see at Silverland and Liberty.”
- Tech will play a role, but not a crucial one. Vietnam has some catching up to do in the tech sphere – will this be a problem in an industry increasingly turning to technology to individualise services?
“I don’t believe that much in the interruption of the artificial intelligence that people are talking about,” said Olivier. “In a country like Vietnam, small or boutique hotels are defined by culture and service. Travellers want human contact, so artificial intelligence will not be a threat. Regarding advances like mobile apps – now that OTAs dominate the market, I’m not sure if mobile applications for checking or planning the whole stay are right for small hotels.”
Michael, whose new project Wink Hotels will embrace technology, explains the millennial attachment to tech. “Today’s travellers want almost everything on their phone. Everyone now has their own Netflix, Apple music, Apple TV, Apple whatever and are now travelling with their own personal content. Everything is being streamlined to automatic devices.” For this reason, Wink will make it possible for guests to easily stream content from their phone to the in-room TV.
On the operations front: “Most hotel experiences that used to be handled by people can now be taken care of by technology,” he said. “There will be greater initial investment in hotels, but lower operating costs over time, because what you used to need 100 people to do, now you can do with 20.”