Ibis wants to transform from economy hotel to lifestyle destination

Checking in will be done at hotel bar or lobby; Great Bar at an ibis hotel (credit: Abaca Corporate Margaret Stepien)

A brand shake up is expected to see Ibis hotels take on a stronger lifestyle focus and create social settings for guests and non-guests alike, including through the introduction of new entertainment, design and dining concepts.

The strategy is in response to new customer expectations highlighted by an Ipsos study conducted across six countries on behalf of ibis: 80 per cent of respondents would like this new type of hotel to be a social venue, where everyone, including “non-staying” guests, feels welcome.

This marks a repositioning of the ibis brand to one that represents “living spaces for everyone, that are flexible, welcoming and on-trend”.

To support the transformation, Ibis intends to welcome visitors to a “life hub”, where anyone can come to sleep, dine, meet people or enjoy live music. Results from the survey showed that a majority of respondents (67 per cent) has a liking for having a whole range of lifestyle possibilities within a single location.

Ibis has decided to make music an integral part of the customer experience to encourage social interaction between all the people passing through its hotels. In 2019, more than 100 live performances will be hosted in ibis hotels with emerging artists, supported by headline artists, to perform in six key countries.

The brand is positioning itself as a promoter of new talents and is planning to take the best of them to the Sziget Festival.

The ibis model is also evolving from a uniform and standardised approach into a more flexible one, made possible by three new design concepts. Selected designers in Europe, Latin America and Asia have based their concepts on connecting with the outside, giving the bar pride of place and making the hotels equally appealing to travellers and locals.

Travellers will have the option to choose from rooms that can accommodate one to six pax, depending on their requirements, or they can opt for the Smart Room.

The brand is introducing a new range of dining options. The bar, which ibis says serves as the hub in hotels, will offer a tailored menu and a signature visual identity. Ibis hoteliers can opt for the concept most suited to the specific characteristics of their clientele and tailor it according to their neighborhood in order to offer a menu that showcases local dishes and fresh produce.

A pilot hotel for this new offering, ibis Zurich Messe Airport has within its lobby created Charlie’s Corner, a bar devoted to beer where the menu changes depending on the time of day. In the morning, customers can enjoy a coffee, while in the evening they can discover the Beer Wall and its wide selection of Swiss beers. They can also enjoy regional dishes, such as “rösties”, in a pop-rock ambience.

Other new features of ibis include the replacement of the reception desk with mobile check-in. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by a member of the “ibis Smile Team” and complete check-in formalities at the bar or at the lobby. Although this new welcome format requires the use of tablets and a proprietary mobile solution (PSM FOLS Mobile), it makes employees less static and increases their interaction with guests, ibis said in a statement.

The brand aims to roll out mobile check-in to the entire international ibis network by 2022.

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