Give guests the complete ‘boutique’ experience, say experts


The whole ‘boutique’ mentality is based on wooing and wowing guests with a one-of-a-kind experience, but does this mentality filter down to their preferences when it comes to choosing brands? Can they be tempted by that local cocktail in the bar, or encouraged to try the toiletries that were made just down the road, or will they prefer to stick with what they know?

Kathryn Haskins, owner, the Alexandra, Lyme Regis says:
Yes – we are certainly finding that our guests are looking for something new to try. But it seems not just anything new but something specific to the area, keen to know what it has to offer on the food and drink front. We use many local suppliers from cottage industries, micro breweries to larger local operations. We arrange tours of local businesses we support including farms and vineyards. Even the products we use in our treatment room are natural and homemade only two miles away. Guests enjoy taking something special home too which is original and different so locally made products are great for that too.

Luca Beghin, general manager, York & Albany, Camden says:
Being a boutique hotel, we often find our guests are after a truly unique experience and are therefore willing to try both new brands and new products. With this in mind, we are constantly on the lookout for new ways to enhance our guests’ experience. From in-room amenities and customer service, to their drinking and dining experiences, we like to offer a mix of exciting new experiences throughout their stay – as well as an enhanced version of what they are used to, in order to ensure the ultimate guest experience.

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Jason Adams, general manager Foxhills Club & Resort says:
Whether sporting gear, spa products or bar beverages, we find the best way to meet our guests’ expectations is to offer them brands they trust alongside others that may be new to them. At our healthspa, for example, we use Elemis but also offer Neom and La Sultane de Saba, quality brands not as widely recognised. We find staff recommendations often result in customers trying something new, we’ve always got their favourite brands to fall back on after all. People are ultimately creatures of habit but appreciate the expertise of our team; we won’t recommend or stock something that doesn’t meet our standards and fit with our clientele.

Matt Stanaway, general manager, Waterhead Boutique Hotel & Dining, Ambleside says:
Our guests are happy to try, and indeed actively pursue, the best local products and brands we have on offer. Waterhead now provides complimentary Bedrock Gin in our luxury rooms as it has a link to the locality. Another highly popular local luxury supplier is Farrers Coffee. His and Hers White Company toiletries in the bathrooms are also very well received. The feedback we’re getting, notably from industry accolades as well as customer reviews, suggests that our guests are enjoying the point of difference with the brands we offer, and are willing to pay a little more for higher quality products.

Andrew Oxley, general manager, Down Hall says:
Personally, I believe the key to this is to ensure that you supply a quality product whether that be a ‘name’ or not. I believe it is true to say that people will always be happy as long as the product that they are using either matches or exceeds their expectation so a ‘name’ is not crucial.