How the traditional hotel can survive Airbnb

This Saturday I joined a tour in Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam. One of the initiators and artistic director Suzanne Oxenaar herself did the tour. A very joyful and interesting experience. Suzanne was passionate both on the hotel as the artistic collection she managed to curate in the hotel. I have been earlier on a tour and visited a few rooms of the hotel. The nice thing of the concept of the hotel is that every room is different, from 1 to 5 stars. And different artists have designed the rooms. Some of them are for special purposes as the room for a band, with one huge bed that can transform in a stage.

The tour was part of the 24HOost program, 24 hours of activities in the east of Amsterdam. The second edition of this event to let inhabitants of Amsterdam and other experience the city. Noord, West, and Zuid will follow.

The whole philosophy of the Lloyd hotel is to provide guests with experiences. Unexpected ones. And to create serendipity, by mixing the different types of rooms and providing places to discover, by taking away classes, on the outside of the rooms can not be seen if it one or five star room.

Functions of rooms can change, from meeting place to sleeping room. It demands a flexible workforce that is able to self organise. All staff gets cross training in the beginning, experience all roles in the hotel. A true example of self organising teams so it seems.

Suzanne is an open but strong character. So much is clear from the way she lead the group. The group was too big for the tour if you look objectively, but she managed to keep everyone together, and trust all people to be responsible for themselves. This worked well, and you can feel that this is the same for the hotel as a whole.

Her passion lies mainly in the artistic quality of the hotel, in the art pieces or high quality design that is ubiquitous, but also mingled with less predictable vintage. With this approach the hotel gets its very own signature and are all rooms a experience on its own. In that sense this hotel offers the same excitement as an Airbnb-apartment can have, with the personal touch.

So this experience of the tour showed a couple of things. The recipe of a strong vision combined with a very open execution can create beautiful things. Making a personal experience in a hotel is the only way to deal with the growing popularity of services like Airbnb.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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