Avi Brosh, founder of Paligroup Hotels, spoke yesterday at the Skift Global Forum.

Brosh is the founder, leader and creative force behind the Paligroup brands and properties and directly oversees the daily operations of all company ventures. Avi spearheads Paligroup’s concept innovation, design direction, development execution and operational strategies.

Brosh talked about the future of the boutique hospitality experience. Here are nine things we learned:

  • “The first age of the hotel you can trace back to the golden era of hotels, the big grand hotels. This is between 1850 and 1950 and as ocean liners and rail lines were connecting people, you found that there were these very grand hotels that were opulent, nationalist, and pillars of what those countries where they were located represented. That led way to the industrialization period that went from 1950 until now. As jet liners connected us throughout the world, you saw this proliferation of Western flag hotels now dominating the world. They essentially went on this incredible expansion of growth. It’s truly an economic marvel. It’s something that’s created an amazing infrastructure for tourism and hospitality, but, as a byproduct, most of the personality was taken out of the hospitality experience.”
  • “I think the boutique hotel can be traced back to the 1980s when Ian Schrager opened his first hotel Morgans, which launched what I call the age of variety. It showed that this process of creating a hotel where a restaurant or bar was packed with locals instead of lonely executives was very important. It really changed and turned everything on its head. I’m not the first person to say this or to talk about the virtues of Morgans. I think it’s essentially the test case zero, the number one thing that happened to change hotels.”
  • “I would argue to you that the boutique hotel world has become a victim of its own success. Even Ian Schrager, with his infinite success and creativity, the Morgans Hotel Group is now a publicly traded company.”
  • “Boutique hotels have become an asset class. Boutique hotels, at least in their earliest incarnation, were the ones creating the most unique experiences. I would suggest that boutique hotels, as they’re now known as an asset class, have become spiritually bankrupt. They’re being designed by a committee to create an economically viable solution to a building.”
  • “I think today boutique means independent.”
  • “It’s not about what we create. It’s about why we create. It’s not design by committee or focus group. It’s about germinating these ideas that are done with a truly independent mentality.”
  • “Design is and of itself is not a competitive position. It’s one leg of the stool. Its one of many points that go into making something great.”
  • “What is the future of the boutique hotel experience? I think it’s my responsibility to deliver on promise. What’s that promise? It’s being able to deliver a place where we can all be in on the joke, where we can be relied upon to provide an inspired experience. The best boutiques are the ones that do that. The future of boutique hotels is not about size or design or asset class. It’s about going back to the beginning, back to what Morgans did. That’s delving on this promise to create an authentic ad hoc community of like-minded people that for an evening or a few nights transcend nationality or who believe who they are. It’s a promise that a guest be whoever they want to be for that night.”
  • “The promise is about creating this authentic hotel experience where people can lodge in a place that makes them feel inspired and part of the cities they visit.”

Keep track of all the activity at today’s Global Forum by bookmarking our #skiftforum tag.

Tags: sgf2014, skift global forum

Photo credit: Avi Brosh, founder of Paligroup, at the Skift Global Forum in New York City on October 9, 2014. Skift

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