Brian Williams on “Transforming Luxury Hospitality” at Skift Forum Asia 2019
Brian Williams, Deputy Chairman of Swire Hotels, was invited to speak at Skift Forum Asia 2019: Our Promise to share his insights on “Transforming Luxury Hospitality.” The inaugural Skift Forum is a creative business gathering in the global travel industry, known as the “TED of travel.”
The transformational story of The House Collective can be traced back to 15 years ago when Swire Hotels challenged the conventional hotel structure in Asia with an innovative business model. Brian’s interest piqued from a rising trend of luxury hotels in Europe and North America becoming smaller, more intimate and more personal. He then seized the opportunity to develop Swire Hotels’ own brand and introduced the niche concept to the Asian market. He executed the same differentiation strategy to all restaurants and bars under The House Collective, each with its own distinctive characteristics but sharing the same DNA.
The people of Swire Hotels also shape our brand culture as they are the heart and soul of our hotels. Brian truly believes in recruiting people based on their character and personalities, particularly the ones who are passionate about the hotel industry. He looks for people whose eyes sparkle when they meet new people, work in the hospitality environment, or simply have a particular attitude about them that can only be expressed as being “on brand.” Brian suggests that “if we peel away the surface of our people, there are great characters and wonderful personalities, so why should we suppress that?” Williams also does not believe in following a formulated manual, and he strongly encourages our people to take initiative and be themselves in their own individual way.
We celebrate our people’s differences and aspire to be uniquely different. “We don’t use a cookie-cutter approach, we forge our own path and believe in it.” – Brian Williams
“Travellers these days are looking for a particular luxury, they want the real experiences,” Brian said during the interview. He envisions that more hoteliers will embrace the rapidly changing preferences of today’s luxury world travellers. Swire Hotels will continue to focus on curating more exclusive and highly personalised guest experiences while engaging with local communities.
Watch the full interview below!
Anywhere in the luxury business if you have to overly explain who you are, I think you’re already being disingenuous to your customers, so if you have to say, ‘the ultimate experience’ or ‘luxury reinvented’ or anything like that, I mean really, you haven’t even thought about who your customers are. Give them a bit more respect.
Brian Williams, Deputy Chairman, Swire Hotels