At the second day of IHIF 2017 in Berlin, Questex Hospitality Editor-in-Chief David Eisen spoke with Jean-Pierre Bandeira, CEO and co-founder of Light Human Hotel, a new “flexible concept” of environmentally friendly hotels that launched less than two years ago. The company's growth is one more sign of the increasing strength of “alternative accommodations” that are rising in the industry.
1. Alternative brands are alternative
Light Human is working to change the way partnerships work in the industry by avoiding standard franchising deals. Seeking “a new way of building a relationship with the clients,” the company’s development model is simple. Light Human works with a flat fee that includes design and architecture for a project, brand mix and brand license.
2. Every hotel is unique
A property in New York City cannot come together the same way that a hotel in Miami does, Bandeira said, and hoteliers should not try to operate the same way in different regions. “It does not make sense because the climate is different,” he said.
With no brand standards in place, he added, Light Human can help each hotel be whatever it needs to be, whether it has 45 rooms or 200.
3. Don’t discount the name brands
The company’s core business is not managing hotels, Bandeira said. “When you [work with] a big brand doing the job they know, we can start talking about new concepts and new designs, and like that, we can do different products every time,” he said.
4. Light Human is growing quickly.
The company’s pipeline looks promising, with five retrofits and three new-builds slated to open by the end of next year. A 60-room property is opening this November in Venaco, a commune on the island of Corsica, while a 160-room property will open in Paris in June 2018. Two properties are slated for Brazil—one in São Paulo (99 rooms in November 2017) and one in Rio de Janiero (100 guestrooms by the end of 2018). A 200-room hotel will open in London by the end of 2017. In the U.S., an 80-room hotel will open in Miami at the end of the year, while 110- and 120-guestroom hotels will open in New York City and San Antonio, respectively, in 2018.
Light Human's growth, Bandeira said, proves that the owners are looking for something different from what has been available in the past. "They don’t want the the big fees that come with franchising," he said.
5. You can complement instead of compete.
Ultimately, Bandeira said, he wants Light Human to be recognized as a company with a “disruptive innovation” that builds new products for the industry. As such, he said, the team does not have a competitive mindset. “We are here to complete them on something that perhaps they cannot do…We are a small company with a startup mentality.”