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ibis opens the way to vibrant hospitality by putting the focus back on the human touch

Plaza room designed by FGMF at ibis London Blackfriars
Ibis, a trailblazer in economy hotels since 1974, is shaking up economy hotel standards by offering travellers and local residents a totally new customer experience that focuses on hospitality, opening out to the local community and increased social interaction.

This 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. It is a transformation for the brand, which aims to position its hotels as genuine living spaces for everyone, that are flexible, welcoming and on-trend, and which satisfy the various expectations of their clientele at any time of day.  

A new customer experience to support the brand’s transformation
Ibis intends to welcome visitors to a life hub, where anyone can come to sleep, dine, meet people or enjoy live music. A whole new range of possibilities within a single location that appeals to a majority of respondents (67 per cent), who gave ratings of between six and 10 out of 10 for this new venue concept. Ibis is offering new and flexible spaces that encourage social interaction and connections between customers, travellers and local residents.  

Mobile check-in for that “home away from home” feeling
The reception desk, until now a symbolic feature in a hotel, has been removed. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by a member of the “ibis Smile Team” and complete check-in formalities at the bar while enjoying a drink or from the comfort of 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. Despite the rise in technology solutions, human interaction remains the central element of a successful welcome, as confirmed by 61 per cent of respondents who prefer to deal with a real person rather than technology when checking in and out.

The brand aims to equip the entire international ibis network by 2022.

In addition, a digital campaign created in collaboration with the MRM agency will be launched internationally in February 2019. The aim of this campaign is to put the spotlight on members of the ibis Smile Team via a gallery of employee profiles combining anecdotes and testimonies. It will begin on January 31, 2019 in France, the UK, Germany and Switzerland.  

Flexible design solutions for all hotel areas
Far more than just a warm and personalised welcome, the ibis model is evolving from a uniform and standardised approach into a flexible and personalised one, made possible by three new design concepts. The selected designers from 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 to locals. Travellers will have the option to choose from rooms that can accommodate between one and six people, depending on their requirements, or they can opt for the Smart Room, the Group’s concept that is revolutionising accessibility standards. As a result of its large size and functional furniture, it provides accessibility, wellbeing, comfort and safety for everyone.  

A revamped range of congenial dining options
To ensure that all customers – locals and travellers alike – can enjoy a relaxing time at ibis hotels, the brand has developed a new range of dining options that will complement the customer experience. The bar will offer a tailored menu, a signature visual identity and various design elements to help create a unique atmosphere. Free to choose from several new ideas, ibis hoteliers can opt for the concept most suited to the specific characteristics of their clientele and tailor it according to their neighbourhood 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.  Charlie’s Corner is the ideal venue for friends and neighbours alike to get together and enjoy good beer and live music.  

Music to foster new encounters and social interaction
Ibis has decided to make music an integral part of the customer experience to encourage social interaction between all people passing through its hotels. As highlighted by 79 per cent of respondents as part of the Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of ibis, listening to music is a key part of their lives. In 2019, more than 100 live performances will be hosted in ibis hotels with emerging artists identified in the hottest up and coming local talents, supported by headline artists to perform in six key countries. This initiative fulfils the expectations of customers, as underlined by the Ipsos study, with 40 per cent of respondents saying they would like to attend live performances featuring emerging artists in hotels. Ibis is positioning itself as a promoter of new talents and is planning to take the best of them to the Sziget Festival, where a stage will be dedicated to them.

As part of the initiative roll out, two new room concepts - Agora, designed Innocad designer  and Plaza, desigend by FGMF - are currently being piloted at ibis London Blackfriars.

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