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When Hospitality Becomes an Art, It Loses Its Very Soul

The title is credited to Max Beerbohm, English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist best known today for his 1911 novel Zuleika Dobson. Taken from his 1918 work, Hosts and Guests, I interpret his work for a new era of hospitality. We live in a connected society now and as such, guests and the experiences they have and share, form the foundation of marketing and service. If we try to scale experiences for the sake of doing so, we miss the essence of true engagement. Instead, we connect with guests, customers, at an emotional level.

Although way overdue, I’m finally sharing highlights from my tour in Paris and London for the release of What’s the Future of Business. It was all pretty exciting and to be honest, I miss it now that I’m not running from plane to plane and country to country. It was quite beautiful and the new friends I met should know that I already miss them and look forward to doing this again for my next book!

While in Paris, I was invited by WIHP and Pamil Visions to talk about the future of travel, hospitality and hotel marketing. The WIHP and Pamil team arranged for a floating event aboard the VIP Paris Yacht Hotel on the Seine. It was pretty epic and I was  surprised and delighted at the number of French marketing leaders who joined.

Shortly after the networking and brief presentation, I joined my friend (and event host) Martin Soler on camera to address the state and future of hospitality experiences. The result was a series of four short videos that regardless of your industry, can help you rethink everything from products to marketing to sales and service to loyalty.


Part One

Martin and I tackle the question, “If you can give 3 things hotels need to do to adapt, what would they be?”

I’d share, but then you might not watch the video. 🙂

Part Two

Here, we discuss why hotels need to integrate new technology into their DNA, not as a reactive approach but designing their hotel using the advances in technology.

Part Three

Here, Martin and I talk about the future of technology and the need for digital anthropology in business.

Part Four

We’re aboard a yacht on the Seine right? Instead of enjoying the views, we continued the conversation. In this final installment, Martin and I set out to answer key questions for hotel marketers looking to understand and engage the digital customer.

How does Generation-C (Connected) affect the hotel industry?

If reviews aren’t everything for Generation-C, then what is?

How do hotels and hoteliers accept or not Generation-C?

How can they predict and improve their marketing and hotel experience in the future?

See some of pictures from the event on flickr.

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12 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “When Hospitality Becomes an Art, It Loses Its Very Soul”

  1. Alan Young says:

    These are some great insights. Using the term “joy and wonder” when in concert with the hotel industry has been lost. The same is true within the airline sector. Hotels need to get back to basics. Delivering the best service to people, yes people. Not customers and not even guests. We must remember that everyone who books, stays, and departs is a unique person and should be treated as such. Hotels must also engage people using different technologies during different times. Make sure that you have a plan to really “connect” with everyone on what ever device they so chose.

  2. Are Morch says:

    Great to see my friend Martin Soler here together with Brian Solis.

    I agree with your Title Brian: “When Hospitality Becomes an Art, It Loses It’s Very Soul”.

    To me Hospitality is Art. It is like the painter that uses a combinaton of colors to create a picture. And we all will have a different perspective of how we view the finished product. The key is to bring out the communalities that tells us that this is an experience we want to share with others.

    The Hospitality Experience is no longer just about the Hotel Experience and Reviews. Though both is important components of the Total Experience. Today it is about how your Social Community interpret your experience, and how much this will impact their decision.

    Martin is correct the Hotel Industry is not first in line to adapt to change. No doubt we have some Hotels that is doing an awesome job in todays real time consumer driven market. But we still have to many that is sitting on the sideline and belives all this Social Media is a lot of hype that eventually will die out.

    In Hotel Industry we have very long traditions, and this is not a bad thing. It provides us Connected Hoteliers with new challenges and opportunties to make a difference.

    One of the changes I see now is that I experience more request from Hotels that are in planning and development stages want to implement Social Media from a early stage before the Hotel is up and running. It is getting to a process where customers is allowed to take ownership of How the future of the Hotels will look like. Love it.

    Thanks for sharing.


    Are Morch
    Hotel Blogger & Social Media Coach

  3. Joachim Wernersson says:

    I love the observation of how generation C is searching for information not even through Google but through their networks. For me it all boils down to hitrate.

    Where do I have the highest hitrate of finding what I am looking for. Google will be more accurate than a brochure since I can individualize the search for me. However going to my own networks will make the data even more accurate since the network will take into consideration who I am and for that reason the hitrate will be even highger.

    Great observation and great post/video

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