Standard International CEO says Lifestyle Hotels growth plan is not a ‘drag and drop’

Skift grip

Standard’s general manager, Amber Asher, is one of the smartest people in hotels. But The Standard International has so much going on that we wonder if the company can handle it all.

Sean O’Neill

International standardthe hotel company behind Standard hotels and Le Peri Hotel — and majority shareholder of group of dormitoriestakes a lot these days to meet the CEO Amber Asherthe aggressive expansion plans of.

In 2019, the company had 14 hotels with approximately 1,500 keys. By the end of 2023, it aims to have 25 hotels and around 2,500 keys across three brands. That’s about two-thirds growth.

  • The business started 23 years ago when impresario Andre Balazs launched The Standard near the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles’ West Hollywood with the help of stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz.
  • The brand, with an upside-down logo, helped popularize the trend of branded boutique hotelsand has since spread to several locations.
  • Balazs retired from the business in 2017.
  • Since 2019, the company is majority owned by Sansiria luxury real estate company based in Bangkok.

I spoke with Asher for an update. The standard has a growth pipeline internationally and in the Americas.

  • Currently open are: Standard Hua Hin de Thiland and Standard Bangkok. Mahanakhon; Standard Ibiza of Spain; and the two US properties in New York and one property in Miami Beach; one in London; one in the Maldives.
  • The pipeline includes The Standard which will open next year in Singapore opposite the Shangri La. Properties are under development in Austin, Brooklyn, Mexico, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon and Dubai. There is a new project in Pattaya, Thailand. A team works on business development in Latin America.

Branded residential hospitality has been a hot topic for everyone from Marriott to Montage.

  • Standard Residences as a stand-alone property without a hotel are underway in Downtown Miami.
  • In Lisbon, new residences will be connected to the hotel there, and more than 60% have already been sold.

The company’s Bunkhouse brand, where motels and hotels range from about 20 to 90 rooms, is also growing.

  • Nine Bunkhouses open are primarily in Texas, but also in California and Mexico.
  • Next year, one will debut in Louisville, Kentucky, in May, and one in Mexico City by the end of the year. In early 2024, a Bunkhouse will open in Houston. Others are expected to arrive in Fort Worth, Texas, and Fredericksburg, Maryland.
  • The parent company would like to bring Bunkhouse to cities like London, Brooklyn, and Bangkok.
  • “We were able to convert quickly and create a tactile lifestyle feel with higher margins based on our model which works well in these places,” Asher said.
  • “We’re going to bring all the dorms together under one website,” Asher said. “This will give us the opportunity to grow our customer base and more easily introduce Standard loyalists to the brand.”
  • “Bunkhouse has grown a lot during the pandemic because many of our existing owners have seen how nimble and nimble the model is and what great operators and team members we have in our headquarters,” Asher said. “We have obtained several additional properties. It’s a testament to the quality of our teams and how quickly we can convert. »

The Peri Hotel debuted in 2020 with two properties in Hua Hin and Khao Yai in Thailand and another set to appear in Bangkok in 2024.

Standard International is particularly interested in finding partners for new projects in the United States and Latin America., especially a Standard in Mexico.

  • “We really want to make our owners, developers, and funding partners proud beyond just profitability, even though that’s crucial,” Asher said. “Our four US properties, for example, are doing better than ever from a revenue and profitability perspective thanks to the streamlined processes we’ve improved. But we’ve made several overtures, and we’ve seen our partners’ faces light up when they see what they’ve helped create.

The company is also working on a technology project.

  • The Standard had been trying to create a HotelTonight-style independent hotel aggregator mobile app called A nightbut the project fell victim to a pandemic.
  • A soon-to-be-announced “technology project” is in the works.

Thailand has been a big growth hub for the company, thanks to its majority owner being Sansiri.

  • It has a team of around 40 people in a Bangkok headquarters working to advance the company’s three brands regionally.
  • They explored new destinations like Shanghai, Bali and the Maldives.

It’s daring for Standard International to take on so many challenges at once. Perhaps the most daunting goal is its effort to expand the lifestyle boutique hotel concept to half a dozen countries very quickly.

  • Operationalizing the process to ensure quality holds true requires staying tuned to local needs and the latest trends. It could all go wrong.
  • “It’s not drag-and-drop,” Asher said. “Guests who know us in New York will wholeheartedly recognize us from our properties in Ibiza and Bangkok, but they’ll see a different design, different nighttime programming and the food may be different.”
  • “We talk to communities of creatives before we go to a destination to find out what they need and how to bring relevant new offerings,” Asher said. “We did some research to connect the threads between our audiences and our collaborators there. For example, we have installed a Mexican-inspired restaurant at the top of Standard London and Standard Bangkok.

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