Southern Comfort

We’ve quite regularly written about brands from other spaces getting in to the boutique hotel market, leveraging their position and following to attract guests to their hospitality ventures, and creating additional revenue streams. These brands have predominantly come from the fashion industry – think Missoni, Armani, Versace – or from retail – such as West Elm, Shinola, Camper, and Laura Ashley.

Occasionally one comes from slightly left field, such as cosmetics guru Bobbi Brown, who opened a boutique hotel in New Jersey earlier this year. But this week’s news has highlighted an interesting concept – hotels flagged by powerful media brands.

Southern Living, for those not aware of it, is a lifestyle print and online magazine aimed at readers in the Southern United States featuring recipes, house plans, garden plans, and information about Southern culture and travel. It has an extremely loyal readership, predominantly affluent, female and in their 50s. Its website gets 44 million views page views per year and it has 1.2 million Instagram followers.

And it has hotels – this week it got the go ahead to open a boutique hotel in Auburn, Alabama, with others planned in Birmingham and Oxford, Mississippi. What a great synergy they have found – a receptive, almost captive audience to market their properties to, and an audience whose tastes the brand knows intimately. Will other media brands follow suit? It could be a great opportunity.

Be in the know.

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