A big draw for this year’s Independent Hotel Show will once again be the exhibition’s exciting seminar programme. In an exclusive preview, we speak to PJ Kenny, general manager at The Hoxton Holborn, ahead of his panel session on attracting the locals, to discover his secrets to success at one of the most talked about boutique brands of the decade.
How has The Hoxton really struck a chord with locals?
The Hoxton comes to each neighbourhood with open doors and an open mind. It’s this mind-set of welcoming one and all that makes the hotel spaces appeal to locals as well as guests – that and our free Wifi, decent coffee and reasonably priced food. We also run Hoxtown, a series of events which showcase the good and great from each location which encourages locals to visit our hotels. The events range from immersive theatre to book clubs, masterclasses and everything in between, ensuring they appeal to a varied audience, and locals who might not usually hang out in hotels.
Did the hotel work to get locals on side prior to its launch?
The Hoxton works with locals in every city prior to each launch to ensure we get to know the neighbourhood and character of an area. We then use our insights to create a hotel which helps to make the neighbourhood a better place to be. Whether that’s the interior design, the food offering, service levels and events we put on. We want each other to be inspired by the scenes and streets that surround them which makes it essential to get to know locals before we launch.
What are the key ingredients that any hotel needs in order to make their property appeal to a local market?
Connect with your neighbourhood, offer locals as much as guests. We’ve never just been about offering a bed for the night, we always wanted to be more than that. An experience if you will. Be open minded when it comes to your guests, whilst there’s definitely a certain set of Hoxton characteristics, we approach each hotel and market in an individual way. We go in with an open mind and we’re willing to change and evolve with our guests and their demands.
What marketing techniques do you find work best?
As a brand we’ve never advertised, in fact we’ve even turned down free advertisements as we like to do things a little differently. Instead we put our focus on Hoxtown events, which not only help bring the hotel to life but also give us content for social media, our blog and interesting PR stories.
How does The Hoxton get the balance right between making hotel residents feel special and welcoming locals? We’re inclusive, we welcome one and all which means our lobbies are filled with, what we like to call “The Hoxton Hustle”. It’s that buzz that makes our residents feel special as they feel like they really are immersed in the local culture and stay somewhere which has the local seal of approval.
PJ Kenny will be taking part in a panel session at this year’s Independent Hotel Show.
Hotels for locals – creating a thriving lobby, restaurant and bar culture by becoming the go-to hot spot in your neighbourhood. Chaired by Tom Bell – Sawdays. You could interview PJ Kenny from Hoxton or Justin Salisbury from Artist Residence or David Timmis from Aubrey Park hotel.