No Vacancy: Ron Swidler
Glenn Haussman takes a deep dive into the history and formation of the boutique hotel business with The Gettys Group principal and vp of branding & design.
The Gettys Group consistently ranks amongst the top hospitality design firms in the world. In this edition of the Hotel Design Podcast, we are joined by Ron Swidler, principal and vp of branding & design.
Our discussion takes a deep dive into the history and formation of the boutique hotel business, Ron gives a tip of the hat to boutique founding father Bill Kimpton and fast forwards to today’s segment which sees The Gettys Group designing boutique properties in tertiary cities. Ron cites an Autograph Collection hotel in Green Bay, WI which will become “the living room of the community.”
During a candid reveal of process, Ron talks about the diligence of research as a precursor to design. The strategy of differentiation form a property’s competitive set - in this case, an in depth study of 27 hotels within the same operating radius. He distills it down to three principles:
- Designing the built environment.
- Creating the brand touch points.
- Focus on service and operations.
In another great example Ron talks about the need to bring a story to life. Amongst the many projects on the boards is a former speakeasy in Madison, Wisconsin, and a historical hotel once owned by Buffalo Bill Cody!
Technology forms a surprising part of the conversation as Ron discusses the advent of virtual reality, which allows the firm to fully “build out” a property for a client to see in VR.
Ron concludes this fascinating interview by emphasizing the discipline of trend watching and discusses the profound principles associated with the pillar of betterment.
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