Hotels need to rival AirBnB, not be in denial, says Ian Schrager

by | Jul 4, 2017 | General News, News

Hotels need to think bigger if the industry is going to compete with AirBnB.

Ian Schrager says that hotels need to think bigger if the industry is going to compete with AirBnB. The famed New York hotelier made his comments as he launched a new concept hotel, Public, in New York. Designed by Swiss starchitects Herzog & de Meuron, the idea behind public is that of a luxury hotel but without traditional hotel services and a focus on customer experience and social interaction, more in the style of an AirBnB. Schrager, who made his name by founding the legendary Studio 54, said “For some reason the hotel industry in general is in denial about Airbnb. I think the only way is to come back with a stronger idea than Airbnb.” Schrager argues that a new concept hotel is the solution to the competition that AirBnB poses, and that this is where hotels need to be positioning themselves in order to remain relevant, especially to younger customers.

Public markets itself as luxury for all, a universal space that is both elegant, glamorous and minimal all at once. It has 367 rooms and suites, some of which are even designed by John Pawson, an architect known for his minimal, pared back style. Three restaurants and two rooftop bars offer social spaces that will encourage shared user experiences, and cultural facilities such as a performance and multimedia space for film screenings, exhibitions and shows. Schrager has many years of experience in the hospitality industry and was also responsible for starting Marriott’s successful Edition brand. He says that this is a new era in the world of hospitality and that hoteliers need to meet the challenge head-on, and that the rise of shared accommodation has necessitated a revolution from within the hotel industry, and refers to the advent of boutique hotels over 20 years ago as precedent for a big shift. He says, “I do believe that Public is the first new idea since Steven and I introduced the boutique hotel 25 years ago. I do think that this is another disruption within the industry, providing really, really great luxury service at an affordable price. Just think about it, it’s a paradigm, it’s a new idea.”


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