Andaz Liverpool Street’s newly appointed GM Tim Flodin explains how the ‘Andaz Salon’ community-engagement initiative is raising brand awareness and guest loyalty at Hyatt’s East London lifestyle hotel
Andaz Liverpool Street was the first hotel to open under Hyatt’s lifestyle brand, Andaz, back in 2008 and has since made its mark on the East London neighbourhood through various initiatives.
For newly appointed general manager Tim Flodin, keeping the hotel at the heart of the local community will be a key objective this year, which he hopes to achieve through the Andaz Salon — a series of events aimed at connecting people, interests and cultures.
“The focus is to tap into the interests of the local community and infuse ourselves into that community. The key thing is to immerse yourself into the hotel and listen,” says Flodin.
“Look at the experience from the guest perspective based on the feedback they’re providing, and look at it from the employee perspective,” he adds.
Recent examples of Andaz Salon initiatives include Andaz Goes Ape — a collaboration between the hotel, renowned Old Spitalfields Market, Ravensbourne College and local artist Bobby Patmore.
Patmore from Inspitalfields, on behalf of Old Spitalfields Market, designed quirky festive window displays for the Andaz Liverpool Street hotel, centred on a golden ‘Santa’ gorilla 3D-printed design.
“Andaz Liverpool Street, for its old-meets-new charm, is the ultimate host for a project by Old Spitalfields Market, which has its own rich heritage and cutting-edge creative feel,” said Patmore at the time of the launch.
“It has been such a pleasure to bring a sense of mischief and fun to a Christmas display,” Patmore added.
Flodin says: “Andaz Salon is the core of what we’re doing. It’s tapping into the culture and interests of the guests to find out about their passions, aspirations and allowing them to mingle and engage while we spearhead those projects or relevant topics”.
Other Salon initiatives have included a trip to local London markets to show guests how to choose sustainable fish, followed by a seafood-cooking lesson in the Andaz Studio. Flodin says that “the Studio is just a room in the hotel where many of the Salon activities can take place, but don’t necessarily have to”.
Every Andaz-branded hotel has one,” he explains.
The business benefits of such a community-led initiative are obvious, according to Flodin.
“The Salon enhances the business by increasing brand awareness, showing what the Andaz brand stands for, what we’re about.
“That’s key in the community as it helps create brand loyalty, not just from our guests coming from overseas but from the locals coming to this particular location to take advantage of one of our five restaurants for example,” he explains.
These community values are reinforced at various touch points during the guest stay.
“This creates unique experiences that are important and really make our brand distinctive,” says Flodin.
The Salon events are usually funded by the hotel and its local partners and don’t have to cost a “million quid”, according to Flodin, who is also quick to point out that a community-led initiative should not be embarked upon as a simple ‘get-rich-quick’ strategy for boutique hoteliers.
“When we’re doing an event, we’re not looking for a direct return on investment. If that’s your intention you might be a bit misguided.
“In doing these kind of things there’s incremental revenue and incremental brand awareness that you create that will grow revenue.
“It’s more about the idea of making it inspirational and meaningful as opposed to spending and making a lot of money. Each event you do has to be well thought out and unscripted to a certain degree so that the guest and person you’re partnering with can really engage,” he continues.
“Andaz Salon is what makes Andaz different from the other brands; it enables people to come into the city as a tourist and leave as a local, inspired by the environment they’ve been in,” Flodin concludes.