Sincerely, BLLA

An Interview with Richard Valtr

The BLLA Events Team sits down with Richard Valtr, Founder of Mews, and one of our facilitators from the 2023 Boutique Hotel Investment Conference on...

The BLLA Events Team sits down with Richard Valtr, Founder of Mews, and one of our facilitators from the 2023 Boutique Hotel Investment Conference on June 7-8.

BLLA: What are you hoping to get out of your participation in the Boutique Hotel Investment Conference?

RV: We have always loved being a part of the BLLA’s community. The team brings together the best hotel minds who are looking to demonstrably disrupt the industry we all love. The BLLA community is truly at ‘the tip of the spear’ when it comes to innovation in hospitality.  

Hospitality is a people business, and so building connections is important, not only with guests but within teams and with our peers. Great ideas and meaningful change rarely happen in silos: by gathering together with peers, we can share ideas, get inspired by what others are doing, and then perfect and adopt these practices.  

While independent hoteliers don’t have the safety net of a big chain to rally behind, events like this by the BLLA ensure there is still power in this innovative collective. 

BLLA: How did you come to enter the hospitality industry?

RV: Mews was born in a boutique hotel. We began our first iteration of what is now Mews in my family’s boutique hotel located in the center of Prague, Czech Republic. That was back in 2012, and it’s part of Mews’ DNA. 

BLLA: What does boutique mean to you?

RV: Boutique is the ability to offer something unique to guests. Something they won’t be able to find with more traditional lodging. 

That could be special room design, it could be tailored guest experiences, or it could be extraordinary hosting that goes above and beyond. What’s so special about boutique hotels is that there is such a broad range of aesthetic styles and visions, yet all are connected through an unquenchable desire to provide remarkable hospitality. 

BLLA: What are the top three trends that you see in the boutique hotel investment space?

RV: The embracing of hybrid hospitality is the first one I’d mention. The days when hotels only offer a room to sleep in and a table to eat breakfast at are coming to an end. As the world becomes more connected and more agile, there’s every reason to diversify your offering and maximize every space you have.  

On a simple level, this means fully integrating existing services like F&B, but it’s also more sophisticated, like providing day use hotel rooms, bookable parking spaces and flexible co-working areas. Do it right and you’ll have positive impacts on your revenue, guest loyalty and reputation. 

This obviously goes hand-in-hand with technology. We’re seeing more hoteliers realizing that technology – when used well – is a solution to guest pain points and operational pain points. For instance, the staffing shortage continues to be an industry-wide problem, but the savviest hoteliers are able to automate many of the more manual tasks and rehome team members elsewhere or reduce the overall staffing hours required. 

Another big shift is with the idea of community. Guests want to travel more responsibly and that includes where they stay. More boutique hotels are becoming more actively involved in their neighborhoods to help local businesses and artisans. It’s a win-win because guests get a more authentic, unique stay, while hotels can bring in extra revenue and increase their reach. 

BLLA: What is the mission statement of your company?

RV: Our mission is to develop transformational solutions for brands and remarkable experiences for their guests. It’s a simple enough sentence, but ‘transformational’ and ‘remarkable’ are bold ambitions – ones that we’re already realizing for thousands of hoteliers and countless more guests. 

BLLA: Why do you believe boutique hotels are a good investment?

RV: Guest expectations have shifted significantly over the past few years. The movement towards sustainable and more mindful travel naturally lends itself to boutique hotels; properties that have the local knowledge and expertise to immerse guests in the local community and provide a more holistic hospitality. 

Boutique hotels are also typically able to move much faster than bigger hotel groups. Innovation comes from smaller brands that can work with agility and deep knowledge of their customers, and so this is where our industry will see the most exciting changes happen first. 

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