Brand Extension: The New Hospitality Lifestyle

Brand Extension: The New Hospitality Lifestyle

Brand Extension: The New Hospitality Lifestyle 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

With consumer travel up, and a desire for localized experiences (hello Airbnb), the boutique hotel business is booming. Last year we watched as large chains evolved their portfolios with niche concepts catering to key trends around health and wellness, and gender and generational demands. Now a new breed of retail brands are transferring their customer loyalty to the hospitality industry in hopes of profitable business extension.


Late last year American lifestyle brand Shinola announced plans to develop a boutique hotel in downtown Detroit. In partnership with Bedrock Real Estate the 130-room establishment will be taking over an abandoned space that once served as a department store dating back to 1915. Early reports suggest the eight-story 62,000-square-foot building structure will remain intact in its original form but restored to remove some of the damage from the last couple decades.

The retailer has tapped the highly accredited New York based restaurant group Noho Hospitalty to manage the food and beverage. With Michelin star and James Beard recognition it sounds promising that food will be a focus. On the first floor guests will also enjoy a hybrid of retail and restaurant amenities, and a living room space to relax.

“We are excited about this venture because it presents a challenging creative exercise to create a boutique hotel concept that Detroit will be proud of. We’ve assembled best-in-class talent that will result in an experience which reflects the philosophy of the Shinola brand,” founder Tom Kartsotis shared with the Detroit Free Press.

West Elm

Just a block away, Brooklyn based furniture retailer West Elm is planning to open one of its first properties in Midtown Detroit, with additional locations are planned to open in late 2018 in Minneapolis, Savannah, Charlotte, and Indianapolis. Each location will be uniquely designed with influences from the regions they represent and incorporate local artwork.

“By adapting the framework design of each hotel to reflect the mood and identity of its host city, we will continue to engage the adventurous spirit of our customers as they follow us to our next level of hospitality,” said Jim Brett, president of West Elm in a press release.

This new venture into the hospitality industry is intended to provide brand growth without the continued development of additional storefronts in the market. If guests fall in love with the room furniture and décor they can purchase it all online. Talk about a creative way to let customers try before they buy.


Known for upscale gyms and premium memberships, Equinox Holdings is slated to launch an Equinox hotel concept catering to the health conscious consumer next year. For many consumers with active lifestyles hotel amenities like the gym can be a critical deciding factor in where they choose to say, which supports the brands ventures and billion-dollar investment in the industry. With years in the making, the brand extension came about after polling gym members to only discover that 95% would be interested in staying at an Equinox hotel.

Visitors in the Manhattan area will have access to 60,000 square feet of gym space, indoor and outdoor pools, and healthy focused restaurant concept with organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Carlo Becil, EVP/CMO of Equinox, recently shared at the International Hospitality Industry Conference why this was a point of differentiation for the brand. “We really saw an opportunity for people who want to reset their body and reset their mind and really enable them to be at peak performance. We see massive consumer trends going toward that, and we don’t see other brands that have the authenticity and credibility that Equinox does to really be able to deliver on it.”

This movement signifies a trend for brands as they look for new avenues of growth outside of traditional store or space development. Giving your customers a chance to live out the brand can be an extremely powerful way to earn loyalty and engage, but authentic representation will be critical to establish brand trust. By utilizing existing customer data though, you can better align with customer’s lifestyles and anticipate their needs.

Photo Credit: The New Yorker | West Elm | WSJ | Conde Nast Traveler

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